Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier, Soldes, 2017, 58 x 48 cm.

À l’occasion du lancement de la nouvelle mouture de sa revue annuelle DITS, entièrement remaniée sur le plan graphique et rédactionnel, le MAC’s présente dans la salle de l’aile nord du Grand-Hornu un ensemble d’œuvres et d’archives documentant le contenu, tant artistique que culturel et critique, de ce dernier titre consacré au thème du musée et de sa critique par des artistes contemporains d’envergure internationale, aussi différents que Noah Purifoy, Tamar Guimarães, Yto Barrada, Fiona Tan, Dayanita Singh, Fred Wilson, Jacques Charlier, Christoph Büchel, Wesley Meuris ou encore Jompet Kuswidananto. Cette sélection de documents, allant de la carte postale à la coupure de presse en passant par le livre, la lithographie, le film ou encore la carte postale, sera montée en dialogue avec un choix d’œuvres issues de la collection du MAC’s et interrogeant plus indirectement le concept de musée dans le monde actuel ; avec des œuvres notamment de Joachim Koester, Hans-Peter Feldmann… Conçue par l’ensemble des historiens d’art du MAC’s ayant contribué à la rédaction de l’ouvrage, l’exposition se présente comme le prolongement dans l’espace de leur réflexion critique, sa version pop-up en quelque sorte. En liaison avec le centre de documentation du Grand-Hornu qui occupe également l’aile nord, le public aura accès à l’espace convivial d’une minibibliothèque contenant une sélection d’ouvrages en lien direct avec le contenu de la publication et de l’exposition.

Du 11 février au 08 avril 2018.

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Maen Florin

Installation view, ceramics on wooden construction

(…) En faisant fusionner avec virtuosité toutes ces réminiscences dans chacune de ses suites sculpturales, Maen Florin nous prend en otage au moyen d’un raffinement psychologique, d’une impression de lucidité coupable. Pourtant, son travail n’est jamais moralisateur : la morale entraîne toujours une simplification de la psyché. Maen Florin en revanche nous montre la complexité poétique de l’imagination aussi bien que de l’apparition troublante. C’est ce qui rend ses œuvres vulnérables et toutes-puissantes à la fois ; elles attirent notre regard, l’esquivent, provoquent une interaction déstabilisante entre notre attention et leur apparition inattendue. Leurs corps enfantins portent le poids de la conscience d’un monde adulte qui refuse de leur ressembler mais qui, en la personne du spectateur, sait parfaitement bien qu’il a devant les yeux l’image d’une profonde intériorité.
Nous n’avons donc pas d’autre choix que de nous soumettre au va-et-vient entre notre regard – oblique – et les regards baissés ou fuyants de ces icônes de la vie intérieure tourmentée, d’innombrables émotions et de sentiments insondables, tout ce domaine de la relation impossible que le sujet entretient avec lui-même. Et donc aussi : l’apparition de notre intériorité refoulée, des démons, fantômes et nains enfantins issus de notre propre arsenal d’images. Une intériorité qui nous apparaît comme une chose complètement « en-dehors » : comme extériorité.
Ce paradoxe nous met sans doute face à l’aspect le plus prégnant de cette œuvre : ce qui surgit de notre for intérieur, nous semble complètement étranger, obscène presque (dans le sens d’ob-scaenum : ce qui apparaît sur la scène mentale depuis un angle inattendu). Et qui, pourtant, est reconnaissable sous toutes ses différentes formes : celles-ci surgissent comme de vieux parents du petit bossu. Elles investissent le territoire crépusculaire en marge de la morale, là où règne une forme d’expression énigmatique, inexpliquée.
Priez pour moi, murmure le petit bonhomme bossu à la jeune femme dans la dernière strophe de la chanson populaire. Il ne dit pas pourquoi. Mais nous savons ce qu’il cache à la femme : qu’il n’est autre que le Soi incompris. Sa bosse est le bagage mental qui contient notre insaisissable conscience de nous-mêmes.
Tat tvam asi, dit l’ancienne incantation védantique en sanskrit – tu as toujours été cela : l’ultime étrange que tu es à toi-même, l’imagination du Soi. La conscience humaine souffrant de sa propre apparition – y compris sous la forme de toutes les choses étrangères auxquelles l’homme est confronté de nos jours : son prochain exotique, l’homme de couleur, l’étranger, le réfugié, le noble idiot, celui qui a des convictions politiques ou religieuses divergentes, la victime et le bourreau, l’immigrant et le SDF, le mendiant et le petit noyé rejeté sur une plage abandonnée, ou encore le visage des créatures intermédiaires maltraitées qui s’avancent dans la pénombre de la conscience refoulée. Ces associations contemporaines aussi se cachent dans l’encyclopédie d’expressions, de silhouettes et de postures auxquelles l’artiste nous confronte. C’est pour cette raison que l’œuvre de Maen Florin m’apparaît comme étant non seulement radicalement psychopoétique et iconographiquement intemporelle, mais aussi actuelle et pertinente socialement. Non pas parce qu’elle renvoie directement à notre actualité, mais parce qu’elle ouvre au fond de nous un espace imaginaire, où l’essence de ce qui nous est étranger se révèle appartenir à ce que nous avons de plus intime.

Stefan Hertmans, janvier 2017

Maen Florin

(…) Because Maen Florin is able to blend all these reminiscences in each of her series of sculptures, she ensnares us with her psychological sophistication, while at the same time creating an impression of guilt-ridden lucidity. And yet her work is at no time moralistic: morality always has to do with a simplification of the psyche. She on the other hand shows us the poetic complexity, both of the imagination and of the appearance that bewilders. It is this that makes her sculptures at once so vulnerable and enormously powerful; they attract our gaze, they reject our gaze, they set up an unsettling exchange between our interest in them and their sudden appearing. Their childlike bodies shoulder the conscience of an adult world that has no intention of resembling them, but which, in the person of the viewer, knows full well that an image of buried inwardness is standing there before our eyes.
There is nothing else we can do, but submit to the oscillatory movement between our gaze from the corner of our eye and the closed or downcast gazes of these icons of the tormented inner life. It is a matter of the countless, unfathomable emotions and feelings that make up that entire domain of the impossible relation of the subject with itself. This also explains the appearing of our repressed interiority: of the demons, ghosts and childlike dwarves of our own stock of imagery. It is an interiority that impresses us as something completely ‘outside’ – as exteriority.
With this paradox we come perhaps face to face with the most urgent aspect of this work: that which originates in our deepest inner selves seems completely alien, almost obscene (in the sense of the Latin term obscaenus – that which appears on the mental scene from an unexpected quarter). And nonetheless it is recognizable in all these forms: they emerge as former family members of the hunchback. They occupy the twilight realm of morality, one that is dominated by riddling expressions but where there are no moral landmarks.
Pray for me, the hunchback murmurs to the young woman in the final verse of the folk song. He does not say why. But we know what it is that he does not tell the woman – namely that he is none other than the Self that is not understood. His hunchback is the mental rucksack that contains our elusive self-awareness.
Tat Tvam asi – this is the formula of the ancient Vedantic Sanskrit hymn: this is what you have always been, the ultimate stranger that you are for yourself, the image of the Self. The human awareness that suffers from its own appearance – also in the form of everything strange that human beings in our time are confronted with: the exotic fellow human, the person of ‘colour’, the foreigner, the refugee, the noble fool, the one with different religious or political views, the victim and the executioner, the immigrant and the homeless person, the beggar and the child washed up ashore on a deserted beach, or the face of the abused ‘in-between people’ who emerge out of the twilight of the repressed consciousness. These contemporary associations also lie concealed in the encyclopedia of expressions, forms and attitudes that the artist confronts us with. It is for this reason that, quite apart from its radical psycho-poetic and iconographically timeless character, I also experience the work of Maen Florin as being of contemporary social relevance. Not because it refers directly to our reality, but also because it opens an imaginary space in our own fundamental self, where the essence of what we find strange turns out to belong to our own deepest inner being.

Stefan Hertmans, januari 2017

(…) Al conseguir Maen Florin que todas estas reminiscencias se superpongan virtuosamente en cada una de sus series escultóricas, nos secuestra con un refinamiento psicológico, con una impresión de lucidez culpable. Sin embargo, su obra no es en ningún momento moralista: la moral siempre tiene que ver con la simplificación de la psique. Maen Florin nos muestra, por el contrario, la complejidad poética tanto de la imaginación como de la aparición desconcertante, por eso sus esculturas son también tan indefensas y soberanas al mismo tiempo; atraen nuestra mirada, esquivan nuestra mirada, provocan una interacción perturbadora entre nuestra atención y su aparición inesperada. Sus cuerpos infantiles cargan con la conciencia de un mundo adulto que no quiere parecerse a ellos, pero que, en la persona del espectador, sabe muy bien que allí hay ante nuestros ojos una imagen de interioridad soterrada.
No queda más remedio, por tanto, que someternos al movimiento pendular entre nuestra mirada, de reojo, y las miradas abatidas o huidizas de estos iconos de la vida interior atormentada. Innumerables e insondables emociones y sentimientos, todo ese territorio de la relación imposible del sujeto consigo mismo. De ahí también, la aparición de nuestra interioridad reprimida, de los demonios, fantasmas y enanos infantiles de nuestro arsenal de imágenes particular. Una interioridad que nos resulta algo completamente «externo»: exterioridad.
Con esta paradoja nos encontramos tal vez ante el aspecto más urgente de esta obra: lo que surge de lo más profundo de lo interior parece completamente extraño, casi obsceno (en el sentido de obscaenus: lo que aparece desde un rincón inesperado en la escena mental). Y, a pesar de todo, es reconocible en todas estas figuras: surgen como viejos parientes del hombrecillo jorobado. Ocupan el territorio crepuscular de la moral, en el que impera la expresión enigmática, pero ninguna explicación moral.
«Reza por mí», murmura el hombrecillo jorobado a la muchacha en la última estrofa de la canción popular. No dice por qué. Pero nosotros ya sabemos lo que le oculta a la mujer: que él no es otro más que el propio Yo incomprendido. La joroba es la mochila mental en la que se esconde nuestra conciencia inaprensible.
Tat Tvam asi, dice el antiquísimo conjuro védico en sánscrito: tú siempre has sido eso como el definitivo extraño que eres para ti mismo, la imaginación del Yo. La conciencia humana que padece de la aparición de sí misma, también en la forma de todo lo extraño con lo que se ve confrontado el hombre de hoy en día: el prójimo exótico, el hombre de color, el extranjero, el refugiado, el noble idiota, el que tiene ideas religiosas o políticas distintas, la víctima y el verdugo, el inmigrante y la persona sin hogar, el mendigo y el niño ahogado en una playa abandonada de la mano de Dios, o el rostro de criaturas intermedias maltratadas que se nos presentan desde la conciencia reprimida. También estas asociaciones contemporáneas se ocultan en la enciclopedia de expresiones, figuras y posturas con las que nos enfrenta la artista. Es por esa razón que para mí la obra de Maen Florin, además de radicalmente psicopoética e iconográficamente atemporal, resulta actual y socialmente relevante. No porque se refiera directamente a nuestra actualidad, sino porque abre en el fondo de nosotros mismos un espacio imaginario donde la esencia de lo que nos es extraño termina por formar parte de nuestro interior más profundo.

© Stefan Hertmans, enero de 2017
© de la traducción Julio Grande, enero de 2018

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ARCO

La galerie Nadja Vilenne aura le plaisir de vous accueillir sur son stand 7B10

Galerie Nadja Vilenne is pleased to welcome you at booth 7B10

Maen Florin

MAEN FLORIN

ARCO MADRID – 36 INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR
21 – 25 February 2017

Only professionals:
Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22, from 12 to 8 p.m.
Open to the public:
Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25, from 12am to 8pm.
Official Inauguration: Thursday 22 at 10 am. By invitation of inauguration only.

Where:
FERIA DE MADRID
Halls 7 and 9

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Dans Flux News :

Marie Zolamian

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Lu dans le supplément Arts de La Libre :

La Libre

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Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
de gauche à droite : Chansons tristes, 1987 – Terril, 1978 et autres activités musicales – Desperados Music 1979

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier, H’Art Music, 1975. Collection privée.

Jacques Charlier

Canalisations souterraines, une caricature des dernières tendances paysagistes. 1969, Installation vidéo. Film performance de Jacques Charlier filmé en septembre 1969 sur le terril de Saint-Gilles à Liège. Caméra : Nicole Forsbach. Sonorisation : Jacques Charlier. Couleurs. 13.20 min. Suite de coupures de presse prélevées dans des revues de travaux publics parvenant au Service Technique Provincial de la Province de Liège, projetées en diapositives. Accompagnée d’un certificat signé et daté Jacques Charlier, 1968.

Jacques Charlier

Exhibition view. Ph. La Panacée.

Jacques Charlier

Exhibition view. Ph. La Panacée.

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier, Bas Reliefs, 2005

 

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Marie Zolamian

Exhibition view. Photo : Stevens Decroos.

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Interlope, 2017
Huile sur toile marouflée sur panneau, 43 x 31 cm

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Est-Ouest-Sud-Nord, 2017
Format : 31 x 43 cm
Technique : Huile sur toile marouflée sur panneau

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
The imaginary grandparents, 2015
Format : 200 x (10 x 15 cm)
Technique : Photographies numériques royal mat
Photo : Stevens Decrees.

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Les bustes anonymes, 2011.
Format : 6 x (30 x 20 cm)
Technique : Photographies numériques sur papier Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryte, 315 grm
Photo : Stevens Decroos.

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Before after, 2011.
Format : 20 x 27.5 cm Technique : Acrylique sur toile.
Photo : Stevens Decroos.

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Marie Zolamian

Exhibition view. Photo : Stevens Decroos.

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Croque mitaine, 2017
Huile sur papier entoilé, 14 x 29,5 cm

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Impavide, 2016
Huile sur papier, 24 x 32 cm

Marie Zolamian

Exhibition view. Photo : Stevens Decroos.

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Gigogne, 2016.
Huile sur papier, 24 x 17 cm.

Marie Zolamian

Exhibition view. Photo : Stevens Decroos.

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Palimpseste, 2016
Huile sur papier, 24 x 32 cm

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The Photographic I – Other Pictures is the first part of a diptych spread over two years. The exhibition comprises new and existing work by around 20 international artists and photographers ranging from the 1960s to the present. The selection demonstrates a lively interest in the power of the still image as a means of examining the world. It concentrates on indefinable images with an open view, whose multi-layering requires slow reading.

Aglaia Konrad

Aglaia Konrad

Aglaia Konrad

photographies Dirk Pauwels.

The films and photos of Aglaia Konrad (1960, Salzburg) take architecture and the urban space as their subject matter. Aerial shots, street views and angular cut-outs of the built environment in metropolitan cities emphasize the physical and psychological impact of mostly modernist façades, con- crete housing blocks, peripheral neighbourhoods, shipyards and generic non-spaces such as airports, roadways and other infrastructure. Her keen observations of the empty metropolis simultaneously expose the economic, historical and social layers of a globalized society. A major part of her oeuvre consists of in situ installations of large-scale photographic prints stuck directly onto glass or walls, thus creating tension between the spaces depicted in her photographic images and the physical space of the exhibition architecture – a strategy that lies at the heart of her artistic practice. The monumental geometry of her montages, grids and spatial interventions, moreover, amplifies the abstract nature of her photo stills. Every presentation, whether in an exhibition space or in one of her artists’ books, reinterprets selections from her prodigious archive, displaying a love of systematic lists and collections, particularly for the alphabet and atlases. Aglaia Konrad lives and works in Brussels.

Gent (B), The Photographic I – Other Pictures, SMAK, du 7 octobre au 07 janvier 2018

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Jacques Charlier
– Montpellier (F), Une rétrospective 1964-1985, La Panacée, du 14 octobre au 2017 au 14 janvier 2018.

Olivier Foulon
– Köln (D), Hard Return, Temporary Gallery, Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, 2 décembre 2017 – 4 mars 2018.

Aglaia Konrad
– Gent (B), The Photographic I – Other Pictures, SMAK, du 7 octobre au 07 janvier 2018
– Lisboa (P), Aglaia Konrad, Frauenzimmerstunde, Lumiar Cité, du 18 novembre 2017 au 14 janvier 2018.

Jacqueline Mesmaeker
– Liège (B), Ouest – sud – Ouest, galerie Nadja Vilenne, du 10 décembre au 28 janvier 2018.

Jacques Lizène
– Ostende (B), The Raft, Art is (not) Lonely (curator Jan Fabre), MuZee, du 18 octobre au 15 avril 2018.

Marie Zolamian
– Ostende (B), Marie Zolamian, Enter #7, MuZee, du 28 octobre au 28 janvier 2018.

Jacqueline Mesmaeker

JACQUELINE MESMAEKER

commissaire : Olivier Mignon

vernissage le dimanche 10 décembre à 15h
exposition du 10 décembre 2017 au 28 janvier 2018

je – sa, 14-18h. et sur rendez-vous
du 24 décembre au 4 janvier

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Ernest Marneff

Ernest Marneff, tête de femme, huile sur carton

Sophie Langohr, Jacques Lizène et Marie Zolamian participent à l’exposition « De Vous à Moi », exposition sur la thématique du portrait . Au travers des collections de la Province de Liège ou sur des invitations faites à des artistes résidant dans la dite province.

Galerie de Wégimont
Domaine provincial de Wégimont
Du 11 novembre au 17 décembre

Vernissage ce vendredi 10 novembre à 18h

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Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Les employés du STP vous remettent leur bonjour, 1971
photographie NB, 25 x 35 cm

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Sculpture horizontale, 1970
plans et photographies couleurs, 200 x 75 cm (x2) et 140 x 75 cm (x2)

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Paysages professionnels, 1970
photographies NB et texte imprimé, 70 clichés, 9 panneaux, (9) x 50 x 60 cm

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Papiers de protection de table, 1972
bandes de papier de protection utilisés pendant un an par les dessinateurs du STP, (4) x 30 x 40 cm

End of the sixties and beginning of the seventies, one of the fundamental practices of Jacques Charlier consists in pulling from their context a bunch of professional documents of the Provincial Technical Service (S.T.P.), where he is employed as an expeditionary drawer, and to distil them in the artistic field, to “present” them. Some of those documents said to be “essentially professional” are well known, this photographic documentation made by A. Bertrand, employed by the S.T.P., documents destined to the elaboration of road improvement projects, dewatering, waterways normalization, industrial zoning implantation, etc. But those are not the only documents Charlier extracts from their context. There are also the ones he names the “relational documents in relation with the professional universe”, documents bearing witness to, for example, a retirement, or a group trip to Antwerp offered by the solidarity fund of the Service.
We could store these with the “professional signatures”, a sequence of volumes regrouping the attendance sheets of the office staff (from 8h to 16h45) starting from February 68 and that Charlier presents in various artistic contexts, contexts in which the signature is precisely cultivated, although it’s the signature of the Artist, or even his famous pen dryers, these pieces of fabric of various sizes whose first function was to dry the graphos pens of the drawers of the Service. Jacques Charlier will hang these pen dryers in tight rows through various exhibitions, among others the Bruges’ triennial in 1974, in collaboration with Yves Gevaert or, a few months later, at the Oxford museum in collaboration with Nick Serota.
About these pen dryers, since then acquired by the museum of contemporary art in Gent, Gilbert Lascault, professor of art philosophy at la Sorbonne, wrote in 1983: “At about the same time, Jacques Charlier (who defines himself as a presenter of documents) presents rags in cultural centres: the pieces of fabric of various dimensions that were used to dry drawing pens. Those are canvas on which appear blotches. They can evoke non-figurative researches. They can remind the desire some artists have these days of collaborating with chance. They are presented without frames, not stretched, “pinned to the wall in a single point at the height of the drawing tables”: nothing keeps the specialists of art from seeing a thought (close to other artistic thoughts) in the frameless canvas… Jacques Charlier can’t forbid this way of reading them. However he always insists on the origin of these pieces of canvas: they are rags, used professionally, extracted from a very precise context, taken away from a technical service whose function is defined.
A conversation recorded between employees from the S.T.P. accompanies the exhibition of the rags. One of the employees asks: “Can we find this beautiful while knowing where it comes from?” It’s certain Jacques Charlier hopes the insistence on the origin of what he shows suppresses the seduction. Indicating the origin of the pictures and objects shown should, he thinks, “unexalt” them. But maybe he’s wrong on that score.
So Jacques Charlier extracts these rags from the S.T.P.; he does the same with their inevitable corollary, usual in this kind of professional environment: the blotter papers. Or instead, if we want to be more accurate as to the original function of these objects: “the protective papers of the drawing tables of the S.T.P.”, that he pulls away from their context in September 72. Charlier cuts them somewhat in A4 sizes and, to affirm their origin and their primary function, places on them a strip of text typed with a typewriter, a note identifying the object and the date of the excerpt. This identification is very important since, like the pen dryers, these papers are the backing of these same “non-figurative researches”, these blotches, strokes of pen, coffee stains, quickly written additions of measures, a few scribbled notes taken as reminders. All of this has the feel of tachism, of automatic writing, a lyrical abstraction contained, randomly, until exhaustion of the pattern, withdrawal of the figure, in short papers to be classified in a graphic department. Or this is all part of daily labours, hours and hours spent bent on the drawing table, the drawing that underlies road and piping maps. And in the fact of Charlier, a backward practice going against artistic appropriation, a query of the sociological neutrality of the object, a social perspective, the exact opposite of any illusionist’s trick. (JMB)

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Paysages professionnels, 1963-68
photographies NB et certificat, (4) x 50 x 60 cm

Those seventy black and white shots are documents born of a determined social-professional milieu embedded in an artistic context, accompanied by their certificate of origin by Jacques Charlier, expeditionary drawer at the Service Technique de la Province de Liège (S.T.P.; Provincial Technical Service of Liège) between 1957 and 1978. Jacques Charlier calls them “Paysages Professionnels”[1] (Professional Landscapes). Assembled nine by nine in eight panels, they are supported by a certificate written on the letterhead of the Provincial Administration. Charlier confirms that these photographies he pulls away from their context since 1964 have been part of the documentation of the project offices of the Provincial Technical Service and that they’ve been made by André Bertrand, chief data-processor of the Service. A photography of the building in which the Service and the transcript of an interview between Jacques Charlier and his colleagues, three pages of a tight typescript, complete the certificate. These photographs are absolutely not auratic and are in no way spectacular. They are only documents destined to the elaboration of projects of road improvement, waterways normalization or industrial zoning implantation, crude shots, a banal recording showing the reality of public works and other industrial wastelands. Even by their “presenter”’s words, they mean a complete expulsion of every traditional framing notion and even of a systematic “incomposition”[2]. In the beginning, this interview between Jacques, André, Joseph, Claude and the others who accompany these shots is published in November 1970 in MTL Magazine, at the moment when Charlier presents, for the first time in an exhibition, a large selection of these landscapes, invited to do so by Fernand Spillemaeckers, owner of the MTL gallery in Brussels. Jacques Charlier, already a fan of shock effects, titles it Les coins enchanteurs (The enchanting places). Enchantment, indeed, is absent. Already an ironic disenchantment transpires, characteristic of all the works of the artist from Liège, an activist who practices, as he says, “without exaltation”.

Jacques Charlier begins his collection of professional documents in 1964[3]. “I make friends with the office equipment operator and the photographer, whom I get to know since for whole days I made blueprints of roads, plans measuring six to seven meters long. I discover in the trash of the office equipment operating service some small pictures of a beet field. Those are perfectly banal pictures destined to illustrate the Service’s reports. What fascinates me is their brutal, unsightly aspect.”[4] Making a list of his activities at the S.T.P., Charlier will point out that André Bertrand’s photographs have been pulled away from their context as soon as July 64. Jacques Charlier considers this gesture to be the foundation of a research that will quickly become more precise, the one now called “of the S.T.P.”, to which we will associate his “Blocs” paintings, his works on the piping or of course the establishing of his Absolute Zone.

Self-educated, cannibalizing every information on art and its world, observer of the transatlantic flux — Pop Art is already well in place and soon the New York conceptual art will barge in Europe —, Charlier applied at the Provincial Technical Service in order to escape the factory. He becomes a drawer for public works projects while reading the works of Franz Kafka, by day working in an insurance company for work accidents in the kingdom of Bohemia and writer by night. Charlier, slightly romantic, identifies with this duality. He socializes with Marcel Broodthaers, with whom he made friends; both men share the same worries. “When Pop Art and New Realism barged home, he says, we were wondering how we could affirm our identity in relation to this American steamroller. How to do it also in relation with Pierre Restany and his French New Realists. Where could we find our place? More or less, I was considering Pop Art to be the result of considering publicity as a found object and to literally throw it in the artistic field after imbuing it with some aesthetic alterations. Warhol uses press pictures, Rosenquist publicity, Rauschenberg uses Schwitters’ Merzbau and set it in the American landscape. With Wahrol, all publicity is monopolized as a found object. Everything becomes found image, unvulgarized, crossed, culturalized”. In answer to American Pop Art, but also to the French New Realists, to the torn poster slices of Villeglé, the meal remains stuck by Spoerri, Arman’s buildups, this vast and systematic appropriation of the world, Jacques Charlier picks out of the trash of the office equipment department of the S.T.P. these few shots of beet fields, and decides to thus appropriate his own social and social-professional realities, to introduce them in the context of art, to sign them and to make a critical engine out of them. For Jaques Charlier, artwork has always been a Trojan horse.

Not even claiming to be part of Duchamp’s ready-made, Jacques Charlier simply declares himself “presenter” of those found documents whose origin he claims through protocol or certificates. He designates them, affirms their first function, confirms their attribution to their original signatories. In fact, by insisting on the ownership of these documents by his professional milieu, Charlier takes at the same time the opposite position of artistic appropriation while playing its game. He signs the work, or at least the presentation in an artistic context of those pictures and found objects, while clearly disclosing the manipulations of appropriation. The certificate of these Professional Landscapes attests it: it’s at the same time signed by Jacques Charlier and André Bertrand. Thus he sets his finger on what he will finally call the pompous art of the century, this principle of appropriation of any object, converted into an art form, an appropriation he qualifies of quasi-religious, that he considers to be a true transubstantiation, where any simple breath of air can become godly, resurrected, saved from the apocalypse and become, by the grace of this theology of art and the intervention of its preachers, a redemptive object destined to collectors. Charlier affirms it: “Telling that the object is only itself and nothing else is like still believing in miracles”[5].

The method will first be to “present” them to the actors of the world of art. Expeditionary drawer, Charlier goes for an expedition, his photos under the arm. He shows them to, among other people, Michaël Sonnabend. Admittedly, the artist looks for a place where he can exhibit them; notwithstanding, here are the Professional Landscapes already introduced in the artistic field, since shown to some of its actors. We can’t help but think of the driving principle of André Cadere’s wanderings: “the work is exhibited where it is seen”. They will finally hang, exhibited for the first time in 1970 at the MTL gallery in Brussels, then at the museum of Antwerp (1971) during Bruges’ second Triennial (1971), under invitation from Anka Ptazkowska at the Galerie 18, in Paris (1974), afterwards at the Vereniging voor het Museum voor Hedendaags Kunst in Gent and at the Museum Boymans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (1981).

These Professional Landscapes are a single aspect of this documents collection. Charlier, very quickly, distinguishes between specifically professional documents and documents about friendship in the staff. Little by little, he pulls from their context prints, letters, communications, pen dryers, blotter papers and table papers, presence signature lists (entrance at 8h00, exit at 16h45), blueprints of his own road plans, souvenir documents about important events of professional life, like a goodbye party, Mr. Merciny’s retirement, or Mr. Herman and Mr. Tennet, a group trip to Antwerp organized by S.T.P.’s solidarity fund. It’s finally the entire S.T.P. that seems to become a found object. The word “seems” is the important one. Jacques Charlier writes it in a tract signed in 1973: “The experience comments backward this aesthetic-sociological current that, under the guise and the aura of the artistic signature, has simulated a vertigo of reality. As if from the things surrounding us, we could erase the meaning, the hierarchy, the origin of the objects”. I think again of Harald Szeemann who, speaking of his exhibition Grand Père, un aventurier comme vous et moi (Grand Pa, an adventurer like you and I), has written in 1974: “We don’t even discuss the thing any more, we discuss the frame that has, anyway, become perfectly boring: to fight for artistic reality is a fake fight, because we’re laughed at by the consensus beyond any controversy, or else it becomes a political fight, which is also a fake fight. Where then does the real rejection exist, the real enthusiasm, the bewitchment?”[6]

While he extract from the S.T.P.’s technical documents a sequence of printed pictures of piping public works, Jacques Charlier writes, in the protocol accompanying this reflection about his purpose: “Their enigmatic character, he writes, can not only rival some contemporary plastic researches, but surpass them through their tremendous expressive ability. But this is something no one will ever tell, or maybe too late. So it is today with art, turning to its profit under the guise of esoteric creation the reality of work, unbearable for the dominant cultural minority”[7] The Professional Landscapes wonders at these relationships with appropriation and estrangement. As a corollary, they also evoke anonymity. These landscape photographs are in fact poor and minimal; we could find similarities between number of them and Land Art or some minimalistic practices. Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria, Richard Long, Carl Andre are in fact not far; maybe, but here, the pictures have been taken by André Bertrand focused on his professional occupations and far from those of the artists. Their presentation is part of a completely conceptual frame, documentary inventory and certified protocol supporting it. Chameleon of the style and perfectly aware of the artistic practices of the time, Charlier therefore gets comfortable with the rules of art and its actuality in a time when grassroots, the streets and the banality of reality strongly imprint on the minds. Some have linked André Bertrand’s photographs and the great work developed then by Bernd and Hilla Becher, a windfall of sort for Charlier who challenges the title of “anonymous sculpture” given by the German photographs to their industrial typology. And Charlier makes a fuss about it: “Yes, those are industrial tools made by ground workers, conceived by engineers, used by workers, owned by bosses, every single one of them has a name”[8] All of this, for Jacques Charlier, is far from anonymous. It’s a testimony to the reality of work, it’s already signed. At the heart of this apparatus staged by the artist, Charlier naturally points at a social reality, a sociological reality. Undoubtedly the collection of landscapes also has a documentary value on the evolution of regional landscape, but that’s only a side effect of the purpose of the artist. Exactly as in the Photographies de Vernissages (1974-75) that, today, have acquired a documentary value regarding “who is who?” in the public of the exhibitions.

In fact, we could nearly paraphrase Harald Szemmann and subtitle the Professional Landscapes: “Jean Mossoux, Pierre Chaumont, André Bertrand, Jacques Laruelle, adventurers like you and I”. Their commentaries on the Enchanting places of the province of Liège are part of the works by themselves, starting with their own. Let’s revisit the situation. It would be like the prequel to another individual mythology, a collective mythology by proxy. After all, Jacques Charlier claimed to be the Director of the Absolute Zones the way others became Curator of the Eagles Department or flying Russian general on the Pan American Airlines and Company.

[1] The Smak in Gent, the M Museum in Leuven and the BPS22-collection of the Hainaut Province in Charleroi keep various series of Paysages Professionnels.[2] Jacques Charlier, Dans les règles de l’art, Lebeer-Hossmann, Brussels, 1983.[3]Dans Les règles de l’art, opus cit. Recently, during an exhibition on the Belgian landscapes, these Professional Landscapes have been part of the catalogue under the double date of 1964-1971. The date of 1971 is a mistake. It’s in 1970 that they were shown in an exhibition for the first time. The date of 1964 only represents the beginning of the adventure.[4]Jean-Michel Botquin, Zone Absolue, une exposition de Jacques Charlier in 1970, l’Usine à Stars edition, 2007[5] Dans les règles de l’Art, op.cit[6] Harald Szeemann, Ecrire les expositions, La Lettre Volée, Brussels, 1996[7] In the protocol certificate of Canalisations Souterraines, 1969.

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Jacques Charlier, Jacques Lizène, Pol Pierart, Marie Zolamian participent tous les quatre à la carte blanche offerte à Françoise Safin par le Centre wallon d’Art contemporain – La Châtaigneraie à Flémalle

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian, Charpie, 2017

Vernissage le vendredi 10 novembre 2017, à 18:30 à La Châtaigneraie, Flémalle
Exposition du 12 novembre au 15 décembre 2017

avec des oeuvres de : Marc Angeli – Michel Boulanger – Sylvie Canonne – Jacques Charlier – Patrick Corillon – Alexia Creusen – Michael Dans – Gerald Dederen – André Delalleau – Catherine De Launoit – Eric Deprez – Emmanuel Dundic – Benoit Félix – Daniel Fourneau – Florence Fréson – Bernard Gaube – Pierre Gerard – Anne-Marie Klenes – Jacky Lecouturier – Michel Leonardi – Jacques Lizène – Paul Mahoux – Jean-Georges Massart – Johan Muyle – Olivier Pé – Pierre Pétry – José Picon – Pol Pierart – Jean-Pierre Ransonnet – Pascale Rouffart – Juliette Rousseff – Francis Schmetz – Guy Vandeloise – Cécile Vandresse – Dan Van Severen – Bernard Villers – Marie Zolamian…

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Né à Liège en 1939, Jacques Charlier est un plasticien dont la démarche est sous-tendue par une analyse approfondie du monde de l’art et des différents courants dits «avant-gardistes». Privilégiant l’adéquation entre idée et médium, il choisit tour à tour la peinture, la photographie, la vidéo, la musique, la sculpture, l’installation, la BD ou l’écriture. Au fil du temps, ses expositions,  ses chroniques d’expositions, billets d’humeur et autres textes critiques régulièrement publiés composent un ensemble soulignant et caricaturant les atouts, les contradictions et les régressions des courants artistiques dominants à l’échelle internationale. Depuis toujours, il réalise ce dont Warhol avait la nostalgie sans l’appliquer : Comment peut on dire qu’un style est meilleur qu’un autre On devrait pouvoir être expressionniste abstrait quand ça nous chante, ou pop, ou réaliste, sans avoir l’impression d’abandonner quelque chose.*
Les œuvres montrées à Aperto sont extraites des dernières séries de styles abordées par Charlier (de 2012 à 2017). Elles sont uniquement picturales.

En parallèle avec l’exposition à la Panacée. Jusqu’au 4 novembre.

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Survival, 2015

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Peinture cervicale, 2016

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier
Quatre saisons, 2016

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier
Fractal 1, 2012
Fractal 2, 2014

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier
Peinture de contact, 2016

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Transparency, 2015

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
L’Art caché, 2016

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