"Où est la photographie?"
Over the past few exhibitions, the Addict Galerie showcases a singular vision upon Photography. That is why it questions today the ambiguous links uniting photography and painting throughout the unconventional yet remarkable journey of an exceptional painter.
Jean Faucheur is a Parisian underground icon. Launched into the centre stage, he took part in all Indie movements in the early 80’s. With an attractive yet mysterious personality, he is adulated but remains marginalised. Respected by his peers, he is often wrongly underestimated by the market place. This prolific leader was the instigator of the famous Ripoulin Brothers. This group of jolly fellows stuck their paintings onto street advertising billboards. Their dazzling success led them to New York in 1984 to the Tony Shafrazi Gallerywhich happened to be the regular meeting point for some Warhol, Basquiat & Keith Haring. The group of Frenchies was managed like a rock band, their names were Faucheur, Claude Closky and PiroKao alias Pierre Huyghe. In 2013, the Centre Pompidou organised a retrospective exhibition on Pierre Huyghe, who was only 50 yo at the time.
Jean Faucheur, the exceptionally gifted young man, graduated first in his year, leaving The Art Decos School valedictorian. In 1990, he presented a Solo Show at the FIAC (Foire Internationale de l’Art Contemporain / International Contemporary Art Fair) at the Agnes B. gallery. The exhibition was a huge success, all artworks sold out in a couple of days and before the end of the fair! All had found a buyer! But Faucheur as the free spirited man that he was and still is, chose to lead a path of uncertain grounds rather than follow a ready made career plan.
Twenty years after leaving behind his first painting on the streets, like a bottle at sea, Faucheur is made guru by the 2000’s post-graffiti generation; a title he accepts as he became the “mirror of someone else”. He doesn’t hesitate to stir up that entire little world in order to follow his work against all odds.
Faucheur is as attracted to light as he is to darkness. Either way, he hides as much as he reveals, and that goes for his painting as well. He has always made the object of his offence disappeared. The Ripoulin abandoned their artwork in the streets but never gave up on their ambition. They believed in the theory ofthe perfect crime, where there is no body, there is no crime.
“Photography has always been the starting point of his work” as he likes to say. But as the maverick he is, he always strives to cover his tracks, even if it means quoting Alain Jacquet without naming him. Photographic images will be manipulated and minced, as he did at the beginning of the 1980’s when weaving Polaroïd prints in order to only leave the background of the film to appear. The contrast of the original image would have been maximised, the picture would have then been printed and from then on the painter goes into action and suggests his acrylic coloured patterns.
Since 2012, Jean Faucheur’s work became more and more pixelated, which enable him to question his obsession with faces and their disappearance in portraits. The paints-runs on his canvases masking the original picture. This then becomes the starting point of his experimentation.
Ou est la photographie? Where is the photography? is an exhibition that questions the relevant distance required in between the artwork and the spectator in order to appreciate the artwork entirely. The artist likes to spread confusion, and blur the lines of the confused spectator. Where is the darkroom hiding amongst these woven paintings? Where does the negative snuggle into these rolls of circled patterns? And finally, where does Jean Faucheur hide in the work he’s been carrying out over the last forty years?
Pierre-Evariste Douaire 2015
Solo Show at Addict Gallery15/10/2015 > 15/11/2015 Paris, France
Looking at Desire: On the work of Jean Faucheur
If, as Lacan says on the function of the look in relation to desire, the painting is the place of mediation by which the human subject finds his bearings to ward his desire, Jean Faucheur gives prominence to this dimension through his performative interventions in urban space.
Since his beginnings with the occupation of advertisement panels, graffiti, and the realization of large scale works on paper, he invites us to a place where in a sense we are the painting - we are looked at.
Using elements of real life and of the street - space, light, movement - he makes of them a Lacanian mirror which catches us up in a play of oscillation between being and its simularum, and questions us on our desiring position in the world.
His procedure appears as all the more Lacanian when one reflects that, starting from elements that constitute the urban chaos, he succeed in fabricating optical illusions, which ‘dominate the look,’ presenting themselves as some thing other than what they are. (1)
In this sense, these works operate not just as simulacra or illusions, or even representations, but as gestures aiming to speak that real which ‘never ceases to remain unwritten.’
Now if one might say that this is what is proper to artistic works and the artists’s quest, in the case of Jean Faucheur’s endeavour its singularity lies in the constant articulation between the intimate and the public.
By setting forth the disruptive relationship between the place of the look and of the ‘looked at’, a disruption that he constantly displaces between the studio and the city, he brings home to us that if desire is desire of the Other then it can let this movement become visible in movement, since it is always around us.
And if Jean Faucheur through his work registers the fact that the object, or objects, of desire are always around us, he introduces precisely by his intervention the effects of the break between on the one hand the omnipresence of these objects which are both desirable and troubling and on the other the subjective and singular demarcation in which anyone’s authentic desire can find its place.
Or as Lacan would say, through his works Faucheur ‘pacifies people, that gives them a boost, by showing them that there can be some of them who live from the exploitation of their desire', (2) while at the same time demonstrating that this desire is also always found in the street.
Thus what is put forward in Faucheur’s works is precisely what in Lacanian terms is profiled as an indication of that whereby the look fills the role of a support for desire, for its contingency and its oscillation between fascination and anxiety; but without forgetting the part played by the intervention and the extensions of the body, or rather bodies of the artist, the viewer, and the work itself.
Jean Faucheur creates the work to show forth the drive-dimension of the look, and the relation of the look to the object of desire that institutes it as lack. This he achieves in two gestures that one could link to the dynamics of a Moebius strip. Lacan’s utilization of this topological figure (3) permits us to imagine that there are two sides to Faucheur’s procedure:
- From inside the body of the work, given that it explores the issue of lack in making a hole in the illusory completeness of the image, making it appear/disappear through spots of painting, braids, collages, and pixelization.
- From outside, in the interactive bodily experience of the viewer, which in its movement or immobility disrupts the bidimensional structure of the work, thanks to the prolongation in space of the lines of perspective, and to the fabrication of labyrinths constituted by the disposition of the installation and a play with light.
In this sense we could situate the artist's quest in the lineage of what Velazquez was able to render in his celebrated painting Las Meninas, of which it is said that Théophile Gautier exclaimed on first seeing it: 'Where is the painting?’
For this question of the circulation of the look, creating the sense of an invisible presence that is concealing itself, and leading the viewer into the scene represented and at the time outside of the limits of the canvas, is present, in a ‘physical’ way, throughout Jean Faucheur’s productions.
Lacan invites us to see ‘Las Meninas’ as an act in which the look is inscribed, at once present and veiled, as a putting in question of our very existence. (4) We would add that, as regards the work of Jean Faucheur, that its purpose is to stage that dimension of our desire that can be ‘embodied’ in the ‘act of looking.’
Guido Reyna Paris, July-August 2015
1 J. Lacan, Le séminaire-Livre XI : Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse, Ed. Seuil, Paris, 1973, p. 102
3 ‘An insect walking on the surface of a Moebius strip, if he has the representations of what a surface is, may beleve at each instant that there is a face he has not explored, the one that is always on the other side of the one he’s walking on; he may believe in that other side, though there isn’t any, as you know. He, without knowing it, explores the only surface that there is, and nonetheless at each instant there is indeed another side.’ J. Lacan, Le séminaire-Livre X : L’angoisse. Ed. Seuil, Paris, 2004, p. 161.
4 J. Lacan, Le séminaire-Livre XV : L’acte psychanalytique, 20 mars 1968 (inédit).