Je suis Charlier, une création radiophonique de Gregor Beck en première diffusion sur radio Campus

jacques charlier

Je suis Charlier

Série en 5 épisodes sur l’artiste inclassable et pluridisciplinaire liégeois Jacques Charlier.

« A l’avant-garde » le premier volet de cette série revient sur l’enfance et la jeunesse de Jacques Charlier durant et après la seconde guerre mondiale.

Marqué par ce conflit et par la persécution nazie, Charlier affirme que c’est dans ses souvenirs de cette période que se trouve « l’armature constante » de ce qu’il fait.
Et que fait-il ?
De tout, comme il en avait fait le serment adolescent, alors qu’il vivait éloigné de ses parents durant deux ans et demi au Luxembourg.
Ses activités se sont ainsi portées sur la peinture, le dessin, l’écriture, la bande dessinée, la musique, la chanson, la vidéo, la photographie, la caricature… et la liste est encore longue.

Aujourd’hui, à l’âge de 79 ans, il continue inlassablement, avec intelligence et humour, à explorer tous les domaines d’expressions en ne s’attachant à aucun style, à aucune pratique et en bousculant sans cesse les idées trop facilement établies.

Réalisation : Gregor Beck

Rediffusion le jeudi 3 mai à minuit.

Ce lundi à 16h diffusion du second épisode : Grands Travaux. A écouter sur radiocampus.be

L’épisode 3 sera diffusé le 14, le 4 le 21 et le 5 le 4 juin, même heure.

D’autres diffusions sont prévues dans les prochaines semaines sur 48FM à Liège, Panik à Bruxelles, R.U.N. à Namur, You FM à Mons et Radio libellule à Comines.

Jacques Charlier, Paysage artistique and other works, à Heks, ce 29 avril

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier est l’invité de « De Henehoeve Gallery Heks » pour une partie de campagne !
Une exposition essentiellement photographique : « Paysage artistique and other works »

Vernissage le dimanche 29 avril de 15 à 18h
Exposition du 29 avril au 17 juin. Le samedi et le dimanche de 10 à 18h ou sur RV.

De Henehoeve Gallery Heks, à 3870 Heks. Henestraat, 12.

We cordially invite you to the exhibition Jacques Charlier – Paysage Artistique and other works
Dear art lovers,
The long-awaited spring has pushed the doors open and intoxicated with a reawakening of nature. Following this example, we are opening the doors to our first exhibition this year on April 29th. We are very proud that the renowned Belgian artist Jacques Charlier has accepted our invitation.
And we hope to be able to compete with the spring and to arouse Your interest in a highly idiosyncratic as always fresh artistic position.
Jacques Charlier is a conceptual artist who has been asking questions about art for more than fifty years and casting an ironic eye on it’s relationship to reality – how reality works in art or as art.
Often irritating to the viewer is his play with the borders between art-object and everyday object.
What happens, what does it mean, for example, when house painters paint over the green foliage of a tree in autumn colors?
As an artist, Jacques Charlier works in all fields, from comics to photography, film, music, painting, installation and performance. Thus bares the catalog contributed to his retrospective in La Panacée Montpellier 2017, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, the self-deprecating title « UN ART SANS IDENTITÉ JACQUES CHARLIER ». « An art without Identity » humorously provokes the demand of the art market for a style as a trademark from the artist.
Also Marcel Broodthaers ironized himself as an artist when he wrote, « I came up with the idea to invent something insincere, and I immediately got to work. » In the 1960s and 1970s, the two free spirits were « Compagnons de Route ».
We cordially invite you to the opening of the exhibition Jacques Charlier – Paysage Artistique and other works – in the De Henehoeve Gallery in 3870 Heks (Be), Henestraat 12. The artist will be present.
Save the date: Sunday, 29th of April, 2018 from 15.00-18.00 hours.
Duration of the exhibition: until Sunday, 18th of June 2018.
From this weekend, the exhibition and the café will be open from 12.00-18.00 hours on Sat/Sun, or by appointment.
henehoeve@gmx.de, 0032/498068029, 0049/1725825026

Art Brussels 2018, les images (3)

exhibition view

Exhibition view

Aglaia Konrad

Aglaia Konrad
Demolition City, 1992-2016
20 épreuves à la gélatine argentine sur papier baryté

Marie Zolamian

Marie Zolamian
Sans titre (Berlin), 2016
huile sur papier marouflée sur bois

Marie Zolamian

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

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Je m’appelle Barbara… 1974
Technique mixte sur papier, (14) x 21 x 29,7 cm

Lili Dujourie

Lili Dujourie

Jacques Charlier, Pornocratès dans tous ses états, musée Rops, Namur

Jacques Charlier participe à l’exposition « Pornocratès dans tous ses états », au musée Rops à Namur. Jusqu’au 13 mai 2018

Jacques Charlier

« Une grande femme nue sur une frise, les yeux bandés, conduite par un cochon ‘à queue dorée’. Voilà l’oeuvre et elle a pour titre : Pornocratie», écrivait Félicien Rops en décembre 1878. C’est sans conteste l’une des oeuvres les plus connues de l’artiste qui en dessina plusieurs versions, de dimensions différentes. « J’espère que c’est moral ! », dira-t-il encore en parlant de ce couple étrange unissant une femme à moitié nue et un cochon à la queue dorée. « Je viens de terminer une grande étude de femme d’après mon nouveau petit modèle que j’ai eu la cruauté de faire poser par 8 degrés sous zéro, nue comme la Vérité. L’Art rend féroce ».
Exposée en 1886 lors du Salon du groupe d’avant-garde les XX à Bruxelles, la Pornocratès ne passa pas inaperçue au point que des visiteurs indignés demandèrent au bourgmestre de faire retirer le dessin. « J’ai fait la trouée dans l’hypocrisie de notre temps, voilà tout », écrira-t-il ! Quelle est la symbolique de cette oeuvre ? Comment fut-elle accueillie au 19e siècle ? De nombreuses questions se posent face à ce dessin que d’aucuns considèrent comme le point de départ du symbolisme belge alors que d’autres évoquent son caractère surréaliste…
Cette exposition-dossier est l’occasion de présenter pour la première fois une vingtaine d’états de la gravure en couleurs réalisée par Albert Bertrand en 1896. Une campagne de restauration réalisée par le service du Patrimoine de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles permet la présentation des différentes étapes de cette technique d’impression colorée, mises en images par la Cinémathèque de Bruxelles.
Pour évoquer la modernité toujours actuelle de Pornocratès, des artistes comme Pol Bury, Jacques Charlier, Jacques Lennep ou encore Antoine Roegiers exposent leurs créations à côté de ce chef-d’oeuvre de l’art belge, qui continue de représenter, aujourd’hui, une certaine « belgitude ».

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier, Novissima Verba, 2000

Jacques Charlier, Le Jardin du Paradoxe, collection de printemps

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

JACQUES CHARLIER
Collection de printemps, 1987
Collection privée, Liège, courtesy galerie Nadja Vilenne & Collection Province de Liège, fonds Cirque Divers.

(…) Enfin, invité à exposer au Cirque en 1987, Jacques Charlier fera finement allusion à cette poétique de l’objet façon Cirque Divers et à ses performances du quotidien. Sa Collection de printemps, une opération de grande envergure, a assurément marqué les esprits. Alors qu’il anime à Liège, de 1965 à 1968, le groupe « Total’s Undergound » et édite une revue intitulée Total’s, l’édition souterraine liégeoise, Jacques Charlier, grand lecteur de Baudrillard, œuvre dans la transparence; ou plutôt il met la transparence en œuvre. Il crée un pinceau transparent, un drapeau transparent aussi, avec lequel, en compagnie des Totalistes, il défilera dans les rues de Bruxelles, lors de la première marche antinucléaire, en 1967. « Si j’avais eu du blé, dit-il, j’aurais créé du mobilier transparent, une salle de séjour entière par exemple, comme une caricature du bonheur idéal. Que nous promettait-on d’autre qu’une vie en aquarium (transparent) dans lequel on pourrait se balader à poil! La transparence était idéal de tout. La réalité en fut tout autre. Il nous faut bien admettre qu’au plus la transparence est devenue objet de préoccupation, au plus le mystère s’est épaissi. » Tout est dans la transparence donc, tous ces « désirs communs de bonheur, succès nanciers, mariage, enfants, maison, santé, frigo, TV, chalet de campagne et danses sociales », lit-on encore dans l’édito de la première livraison de Total’s.
Vingt ans plus tard, en 1987, il ne s’agira plus de produire des objets transparents, mais une impression sur tissu, un impressionnant métrage limité, couvert d’une déclinaison d’objets, entonnoir (évidemment), clochette, scie et marteau, plume, petite femme nue portant bouquet de fleurs, brosse à reluire, botte, lampe de poche, crayon, parapluie, clé à molette, ours, chien et canard, morceau de fromage et champignons divers, pinceau, tube de couleur, bloc à jouer, pelle et cutter, tout cela, sériellement imprimé sur fond rouge par la firme Wollux de Mouscron. Le projet de Charlier est, d’abord, de créer une collection de prêt- à-porter qui permettra d’organiser un défilé performatif. Une armée de couturières et de doigts d’or se met au travail et réalise hauts et bas, soutiens, chemises, culottes, pantalons, caracos, strings et jupettes, certaines à froufrou; l’une des couturières crée même un bibi tarabiscoté. La mode prend ici des voies des plus débridées, la créativité est complète. Et ce n’est pas tout: Charlier se réserve suffisamment de métrage pour des nappes et serviettes afin de dresser la table, de recouvrir fauteuils et canapé, de monter des toiles sur châssis qui seront accrochées, dans un beau rythme minimal et sériel, au-dessus de ce canapé, de transformer un paravent (pratique, pour aller en toute discrétion tro- quer pièce vestimentaire printanière contre pièce vestimentaires printanière), de fabriquer rideaux, couettes et abat-jour. Bref, il conçoit et compose un environnement total, un mystère épaissi dans l’uniformisation. Changer de look et d’image de marque, l’effet comique est garanti, « comédie à laquelle
chacun de nous participe quotidiennement, en fabriquant des signaux pour communiquer, qu’ils soient vestimentaires, gestuels ou langagiers ». « Ce qui passe de mode entre dans les mœurs. Ce qui disparaît des mœurs entre dans la mode. » La citation est de Jean Baudrillard; elle est, encore aujourd’hui, un des moteurs de l’œuvre de Jacques Charlier. (…)

Extrait de : Le Jardin du Paradoxe, Regards sur le Cirque Divers, 2018, Editions Yellow Now.

Jacques Charlier, Musée pour cible, Cabinet d’Amateur #13, MAC’s Grand Hornu

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.

Jacques Charlier, Une rétrospective, La Panacée, Montpellier (5)

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

 

Jacques Charlier, Une rétrospective, La Panacée, Montpellier (4)

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.

Jacques Charlier, Jacques Lizène, Pol Pierart, Marie Zolamian, carte blanche à Françoise Safin

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…

Jacques Charlier, Aperto, Montpellier, les images

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

Jacques Charlier, Une rétrospective, La Panacée, Montpellier (3)

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Zone Absolue, 1969-70
photographie NB, impression sur toile, 100 x 120 cm

Jacques charlier

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier
Zone Absolue, 1970
photographies NB et autocollant, 60 x 70 cm

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Zone Absolue, 1969
Collection privée

Jacques Charlier

Jacques charlier

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Zone Absolue 1970
Photographies NB et autocollants, (9) x 54,5 x 47 cm

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Zone Absolue, 1969
photographies NB et autocollant, 50 x 40 cm

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier
Tableau béton, 1968
photographie NB impression sur toile, 100 x 120 cm

(…) – Let’s just say that in these days, I try to paint in every style, for every time I have an idea, I try to go about it in the style best suited for it. I have to admit that the hardest part of my work, the professional photographs, doesn’t make it. Marcel Broodthaers, to whom I show them, doesn’t really encourage me; he claims it’s very hard. Sonnabend just doesn’t want to hear about it. The reason is simple: there is no intervention from the artist in those works. Despite the fact I had such a great, well substantiated theory to explain that those photographs were the absolute opposite of the found object, the critics didn’t care. I had already plotted my Absolute Zone plan, some sort of urbanization full of concrete, some sort of satire of urbanization. The strong point, for me, was the highway project that was supposed to go through Liège, the senseless scale models made by “urbanization believers” and that they show to the public, this urban delirium. I show the plan to Marcel Broodthaers, who looks at me as if I had fallen on my head, and very realistically advises me to make a series of tableaux on the theme of concrete instead. He even promises to find me a buyer. I therefore find a nice block of concrete in a technical journal and I paint on fifteen or so canvas of every size blocks of concrete in every position. Yvan Lechien, who held the Cogeime gallery in Brussels, sees them and, surprise, buys them.
– It’s the “Blocks” exhibition in 1969 in Brussels?
– Yvan Lechien exhibits my tableaux, moreover selling most of them. It was a surprise. Broodthaers takes advantage of it to introduce me to a few Brussels based avant-garde spirits, Marie-Jeanne and Jean Dypréau, Fernande and Jacques Meuris, Marcel Stael, Jean Ley, Isy Fiszman, Nicole and Herman Daled, Jean-Pierre Van Thiegem, Denise and Karel Gerilandt, Betty Barman… following this exhibition, I tried to convince Yvan Lechien to go farther and create an Absolute Zone since he had already shown the propaganda paintings of that concrete universe that’s invading us. I, for myself, draw pipelines; Yvan Lechien shows a little more interest for this work, but Absolute Zone is a no go.
– You have accompanied this plan, drawn in 1968, by a kind of founding text that will be published in 1983 attached to the book “Dans les règles de l’Art”, a text whose title was “What is the concrete-urbanization of a city? How to realize it?”. In that text, you propose to “solve in a savage and extreme way the problems of housing and traffic in the cities”. There is a number of methodological recommendations: the psychological conditioning of the average citizen, the use of evening classes on how to mix concrete, the overall mobilization of the entrepreneurs. You add a description of the tasks: systematically filling the sewers and pipelines, pouring concrete on historical monuments and folk statues, building barricades made out of concrete on the road accesses to the city and, finally, concreting the city. It’s perfectly delirious. In addition, you institute yourself as Director of the operation and create a Research Committee on Absolute Zones’ establishment.
– Absolutely, I declare myself Director of the Absolute Zones. It’s the time of poetic appropriations. Marcel Broodthaers will soon afterwards become Curator of the Musée des Aigles, Filiou takes care of his Poïpoïdrome, Ben creates his gallery, Panamarenko moves around wearing his military uniforms, and let’s not talk about Beuys or his office in Düsseldorf. I, however, only became Director of the Absolute Zones as part of this work. During the 70s, I did it again, instituting myself as the Director of the C.I.D.A.C., a centre devoted to the dangers and the toxicity of art, a detoxification structure copied on Alcoholics Anonymous. How does someone get detoxified from art and from the addiction to creation? In fact, another inverted satire. Inventing such a role means creating for yourself an underground world, parallel to reality, reaching a pseudo-legitimacy.
– This project of Absolute Zone, what is it, beyond this delirious fiction of the all concrete. How do you see it?
– Reading this situationist, anarchist literature, everything I receive by mail ends up calling to me through its artistic side and its meaning through time. I end up wondering if we shouldn’t reconnect with a form of collective art, with extremely simple things that can make us think about the world, like some sort of symbolic criticism.
I look at this urban inrush with a very critical eye, but at the same time, I do the same with some ecological ideologies advocating nature every time they can, a return to primary agriculture, the “all natural”, a fantasy fashionable at the end of the 60s. I’m therefore seeking to create an object that would be like a symbolic and critical picture of those two extremes. I envision this: let’s put a slab of concrete, which is the transposition of my professional universe, those slabs of concrete making the roads and the works of art. It’s the A zone, like a piece of road. Besides it, let’s demarcate a piece the same size of agricultural zone, with good ground. It’s the B zone. On D day, the day of inauguration, we invite the public to come plant in the B zone, anarchically but under notary convention, vegetables as well as trees or flowers. The protocol I imagine is the following: those two zones will coexist as a sculpture. Through the years, the concrete will suffer the ravages of time. And the natural zone will grab its territory anarchically, because it is stipulated, to heighten this naturalistic and nostalgic fantasy, that the hand of man will not domesticate, will not negotiate this Absolute Zone. It will stay absolutely natural in its progressive entanglement. Both fantasies will therefore last side by side.
The Absolute Zone is like twin zygotes. They always have the same size, but their materials are totally antagonistic. Like with fraternal twins; they are totally identical and totally different. We always have some sort of fascination for the double. Warhol understood it, Magritte before him too. This fascination with twins have always existed, from Rome’s foundation to the destruction of the WTC towers. On one of Total’s covers, I drew two angels, “Total’s energetic”; they are copies each one of the other. It’s the monozygotic universe that can reflect only itself, indulging like Narcissus facing its physical double.
– Was it a way to imagine environmental art, land art or minimalism in a critical fashion? A minimal concrete slab in a landscape, would it be like environmental art?
– There is also in nature a space for critical thinking. I knew all the positions of Land Art then. In fact, like a lot of people, I knew them through the photographic renderings made of them, those clean photographs of Land Art works people placed in art galleries. You have to admit people very seldom take a walk where those works are conceived; those photographs telling their tales end up into collectors hands: they are like a new school of Barbizon. I find this type of sculpture and investigation interesting both from the plastic and art history point of views, but I feel no evocation of critical thought, nor political point of view. To propose an Absolute Zone in the urban universe, to do as if it was a section of road, to juxtapose to it this vegetal area that will stay raw, but created by the people, this becomes a collective gesture, all of this inducting an area of intention that’s not purely aesthetic, but it also criticizes the times in which we live. It was, somehow, a fracture with what was happening in the galleries; it was also a direct take on my professional universe. There was some kind of a blending. People often blamed me then for having no unity of style in my works, for using varied mediums, for being at the same time involved in the system of art and away from it, as if I was running in circles around it. I had — and the paradigm of that idea will nonetheless slowly appear to the eyes of some people — the intent of criticizing art, like I had the intent of criticizing urbanization and the delirious fantasies it was then possessed of. I had the same intent to criticize ideologies, facing the effects of those mainstream truths, including those of this burghers’ pseudo-revolution. I repeat it, even though I found some good ideas in the movement of 68, I was shocked by those revolutionary daddy’s boys invading the factories and the working class they didn’t know anything about. I was the son of a worker, I had to draw road projects to live. I picketed during the strikes of the 60s.
– In march 1968, you wrote a short text perfectly illustrating those words, a text destined to accompany a series of pictures. I quote you: “This series of press clipping has been taken from public works journals that reached the S.T.P. of Liège. Those press pictures are somehow professional publicity shots, boasting about the merits of drain technology. Their enigmatic character can not only rival with a few contemporary plastic researches, but surpass them through their tremendous expressive capabilities. But this is something no one will ever say, or maybe they will but too late. Thus today’s art, under the guise of esoteric creation, distracts for its own purpose the reality of work, unbearable to the dominant cultural minority”.
– This photo series has been made into a slide show to be projected over the super 8 film “underground pipelines” at the Absolute Zone exhibition. Yes, those pipelines are the fruit of the labour. At that time, I’ve been flabbergasted by Bernd and Hilla Becher’s positions, among others. I’m thinking of a text from Carl André written on their “anonymous sculptures”. This proclaimed anonymity mocks the social reality of the objects photographed.
– Let’s get to the exhibition itself. What do you show in it?
– This exhibition is also the fruit of a dilemma. It develops at a time when people responsible for the Apiaw, the association for intellectual and artistic progress in Wallonia, a major group with, among others, the function of telling what was happening in Paris. This association is pushed aside by the movement of 68. We must not forget the Academy of Liège has long been occupied, an occupation I don’t participate in despite pressures from Marcel Broodthaers, who was conducting the occupation of the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Brussels. Broodthaers tells me we have to occupy the Aca, he even adds he’s going to join us, that I need to prepare an action, to go there with Total’s transparent flag. My wife, Nicole Forsback, knows the context; she’s just out of the engraving workshop of the Academy. Until the day before the action, I’m somewhat divided. I’m seduced by the efforts of some, Nyst, Yellow, Lizène, but I’m telling myself it is still marginal, that an invasion of the insides of the academic system wouldn’t breed a new academism. In short, I didn’t go. End of 69 then, the steering committee of the Apiaw prefers to let go and to leave the programme to a group of artists from Liège. I remember two meetings held in a brewery in the city centre. From the first vote, they choose me for the next exhibition. I’m very surprised. Of course there are disagreements, but a second vote confirms it. I go further by declaring to the assembly that M. Schoefeniels has to be told I want to be the master of the place, for I want to make an exhibition completely different from what “they” expect. For better or for worse, this assembly just wanted me to turn this into a provocation. Since I had my Absolute Zone plan in my boxes, I thought it would be the right moment to show it.
If I remember correctly, Léon Wuidar had the exhibition before mine. At least I have a blurred memory of him being there when I carefully swept the floor to put squarely in the middle two strips of white tape, therefore splitting it in two equal areas. This double strip foreshadowed the zones A and B, the areas to be covered in concrete and on which to plant, like a plan of what could happen on a real scale. On the back wall, in view of this double strip, a red and white signpost: “Here soon Absolute Zone”. On one of the two picture rails, just stuck on two wooden bars, the long drawing of the Absolute Zone. I refer to it as the most collective work there is: place a strip on the equator and thus demarcate the most complete absolute zones, North pole side, all concrete, South pole side, all vegetation. On the wall, more drawings and graphics: a plan for the establishment of an absolute zone in Liège, another to make one in the Apiaw room. (..)
– On another document, we see you with Marcel Broodthaers, standing on both sides of the demarcation of the Absolute Zone.
– Marcel, learning that the exhibition would happen, offers to do the opening. Magnificent! Broodthaers is eloquent and he’s from Brussels. It’s perfect for me. I thought he would make a superb presentation of my Absolute Zone; I was expecting a speech.
– De facto, the photography shows Marcel Broodthaers standing in the middle of the room, hands behind his back, somehow in the attitude of a condottiero. And the public, standing tight, facing him at some distance.
– The public had some trouble entering the exhibition. For a while, they just stayed tight at the bottom of the room. Marcel Broodthaers stands very far, trying to bring them closer. He’s nearly under the Absolute Zone sign. I was expecting a speech. Well no. Marcel just said a few words, declaring that my work was actual and it was a must see at this time. He finishes with a simple toast: “Cheers”!
The pressure in the room was terrible, some sort of fear, a total lack of understanding, even greater since even before its opening the exhibition had made such a fuss in the whole city. It was awaited. With the Total’s group, we had advertised it in every possible way. At the cinema, they were showing Z, the 1969 Costa-Gavras’ film. In town, there were therefore posters of the Z film everywhere. We outdid them by painting “Z” on public buildings and by turning the Z of the posters in Absolute Zone.
– Nice coincidence since Costa-Gavras’ film denounced a totalitarian regime, the one of the Greek colonels.
– Yes, yes. We also stuck our posters “CivilizaTion” with the totalitarian T. Even better, at night with Philippe Gielen we traced a demarcation line of the Absolute Zone in the middle of the city. I still remember sitting with paint cans in the trunk of Gielen’s minivan. He was driving around the block and I was discharging, can after can, a long coloured line on the street. It wasn’t dry in the morning. The “effects” created by car tires were… surprising. We went at it hard… I received a call from Robert Stéphane telling me to “order my people to stop” after we painted the front of the RTB. Schoefeniels and Jacques Parisse, responsible for the Apiaw, have been called to the police… In any case, the evening of the exhibition, the public is puzzled, even scared. The evening will end in tremendous libations. The people were so disturbed by the situation that they just drank. Schoefeniels was furious, he called me asking “Do you think I pay heating bills for empty walls?”.
The provocative side of the exhibition’s aesthetic even takes more importance than its content. People understand next to nothing of what I’m saying. It’s put away with the hardest of conceptual art or theoretical Land Art. In any case, it’s all drowned except for a few, the Totalitarians, the Jazz Crapuleux band, those visiting the Yellow gallery that will soon become a cutting edge gallery. Antaki was there, Richard Tialans, Alain d’Hooge, Jacques Lizène, Michel Lhomme, Sangier… later in the evening, Broodthaers tells me he would also like to exhibit in this Apiaw room, that this association has a nice tradition. I tried to introduce him to Schoefeniels and to explain Marcel’s work. Schoefeniels says “Oh, no, that’s enough! No mussels pans here!”. Broodthaers will not exhibit in Liège, at least not right now. There will be some sort of a feeling of regret later on: Robert Stéphane and Annie Lummerzheim will organize a small exhibition “Broodthaers, Christiaens, Charlier” in the RTB rooms. At the exhibition, there will be five of us, yelling loudly.

Translation of Jean-Michel Botquin & Jacques Charlier, « Zone Absolue, une exposition de Jacques Charlier en 1970 », Editions L’Usine à Stars.

Jacques Charlier, Une rétrospective, La Panacée, Montpellier (2)

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Autoportrait à l’ancienne, 1990
photographie NB, 37 x 37 cm

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Lourdes (version française), 2000
photographie et texte, 50 x 60 cm

Cette mise en scène réunit en cascade de frères et des soeurs appartenant à deux familles sur trois générations. Nous sommes à Lourdes en l931, et pour marquer l’événement, malgré le temps incertain, on a fait appel à un photographe professionnel On peut voir, dans le coin inférieur gauche, son veston et son chapeau à peine dissimulés. Plus haut, au pied du rocher, à côté de son parapluie, il a posé la malle de son appareil, sur laquelle traînent les emballage des supports sensibles De par la théâtralité, le décor choisi et visiblement fréquenté par le pèlerins désireux de poser pour la photo rituelle Les personnes sont réparties dans une structure ayant la forme d’un trapèze isocèle. De part et d’autre de la base, se trouvent les deux frères les plus âgés. Celui de gauche adopte une attitude austère et militaire. Il forme avec son épouse, une cellule distincte qui confirme son autorité sur l’ensemble du groupe. A droite, l’autre frère est beaucoup moins assuré. Figé au garde-à-vous, il fait face à l’objectif, comme s’il s’était redressé en dernière minute, pour se détacher de son épouse aussi compassée que lui. La plus âgée du groupe est veuve,et a préféré s’installer au pied de la seconde rangée. On remarque que c’est la seule à s’afficher sans chapeau, dans une tenue plus adaptée à la promenade. Les deux soeurs, installée au centre de l’avant plan, revendiquent leur influence sur la seconde génération de femmes. Leur attitude témoigne de leur attachement mutuel et leur volonté de se démarquer. Appuyée sur l’épaule de sa complice, la dominante découvre sa corpulence sans complexes. Jambes croisée , elle semble vouloir rappeler son ascendance en indiquant de son index, le milieu de la base du trapèze de composition. La seconde rangée, formée exclusivement de jeunes femmes serrées les unes contre les autres, est menée par celle vêtue d’une gabardine de couleur claire. Son expression décidée est celle d’une figure de proue. Les deux dernières rangées, fières de leur escalade,
forment une constellation autour d’un personnage tiré à quatre épingles. Son voisin vêtu avec autant de soin, mais nu-tête, s’efforce de paraître plus conquérant. Derrière eux, un couple jovial se tient par l’épaule, tandis que leur fils, appuyé ur la canne du père, souligne timidement qu’il est le plus jeune situé le plus haut. La cadette est installée entre une mère qui s’efface et un père élégant. On notera que ce sont les plus éloignés du photographe, qui se permettent de sourire. Les plus proches étant évidemment les plus «exposés».

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
A la solde de l’art, 1980
Technique mixte sur papier, (2) x 40 x 30 cm

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Alles ist aus der Mode, 1979
photographies NB, (7) x 18 x 13 cm

Jacques Charlier

Biennale de Paris 1971, film collectif
Anonyme, Guy Mees, Nature morte, Rocky Tiger, Bernd Lohaus, Panamarenko
Film 16 mm, numérisé, NB son, sous titres, 00:39:04

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier
Biennale de Paris 1971
Technique mixte sur papier, 52 x 62 cm

Jacques Charlier, Une rétrospective, La Panacée, Montpellier, les images (1)

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Drapeau Total, 1967
Collection Ville de Liège

Jacques charlier

Jacques charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Marche des Totalistes, 1967 (photographie Nicole Forsbach)
Impression sur toile, 100 x 120 cm

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Groupe Total’s Underground, 1965-1968
Ensemble de photographies NB, 52 x 72 cm

Au plus la transparence est objet de préoccupation,
Au plus le mystère s’est épaissi.

Il y a juste quarante ans, le 24 avril 1967, les Totalistes liégeois rejoignaient Bruxelles et la place De Brouckère pour la « marche belge anti-atomique ». Nicole Forsbach y prendra cette photographie devenue célèbre du Drapeau transparent totaliste, dessiné par Jacques Charlier, bannière flottant parmi les manifestants sous l’enseigne du concessionnaire Renault installé en l’ancien Hôtel Continental. Les Totalistes manifesteront en se collant un sparadrap sur la bouche, distribuant aux passants des tracts transparents. C’était là une action symbolique, une performance artistique, un happening au cœur d’un mouvement contestataire, « un dépaysement collectif ou une façon de démontrer une volonté de survie » pour reprendre les singulières prises de positions totalistes, c’était là aussi participer à la contestation, bref c’était de l’art total.
Jacques Charlier anime en effet à Liège de 1965 à 1968 le groupe « Total’s Undergound » et édite une revue intitulée « Total’s, l‘édition souterraine liégeoise ». La revue paraîtra irrégulièrement durant trois ans, comptera jusqu’à soixante abonnés.
« Total’s, écrit Jacques Charlier dans l’éditorial du n°1, livret stencilé et relié d’une couverture rouge représentant une cuvette de WC, une voie d’accès comme une autre au monde souterrain, Total’s n’est ni doctrine, ni philosophie, ni politique, ni anarchique, ni beatnik, ni provo, ni tout ce beau vocabulaire journalistique déformé par la consommation engendrant un racisme artificiel entre les générations et groupes sociaux. Total est le spectacle de la vie et de notre propre vie. Il n’espère pas, ne lutte pas pour une nouvelle « liberté » utopique où tout homme prendrait enfin conscience de lui-même. Il se contente de survivre dans des couloirs secrets sans vouloir persuader. Qu’on nous regarde vivre suffit. La révolution et l’évolution (si cela existe) n’est autre chose que notre manière de vivre « autre » qui nous permet de respirer, de créer. Non parce que nous le voulons et le désirons mais parce que nous ne pouvons « agir » autrement. »
Parmi les multiples activités, les styles et les médias divers qu’il pratique à l’époque, Charlier œuvre, en effet, dans la transparence, ou plutôt met la transparence en œuvre. Il crée même un pinceau transparent. « Si j’avais eu du blé, dit-il, j’aurais créé du mobilier transparent, une salle de séjour entière par exemple, comme une caricature du bonheur idéal. Que nous promettait-on d’autre qu’une vie en aquarium (transparent) dans lequel on pourrait se balader à poil ! La transparence était idéal de tout. La réalité en fut tout autre. Il nous faut bien admettre qu’au plus la transparence est devenue objet de préoccupation, au plus le mystère s’est épaissi» Tout dans la transparence donc, tous ces « désirs communs de bonheur, succès financiers, mariage, enfants, maison, santé, frigo, TV, chalet de campagne et danses sociales », lit-on encore dans l’édito de Total.
Les activités totalistes participeront de cette guerilla culturelle des années 60, cette large entreprise de démystification du conditionnement provoqué par la société de consommation. Mais avec un militantisme tout en nuance, car étonnante relativité des choses lorsqu’il s’agit de contester, Jacques Charlier précise dès 1965 : « Nos happenings sous des apparences provocantes ne sont que des essais de dépaysement collectif. En créant un événement où chacun est obligé de commettre un acte tabou, lequel l’oblige sans exaltation à quitter son environnement habituel. Ceci le fait pénétrer dans un monde où il croit ne pas avoir accès. Ce qui lui permet de se voir et de nous voir avec clarté hors de lui-même et si proche. »

At best, transparency is a concern,
At best, the mystery grew thicker.

Fourty years ago, on April 24th 1967, the Totalists from Liège got to Brussels Place De Brouckère for the “Belgian anti-atomic walk”. Nicole Forsbach will take this now famous picture of the Totalist transparent flag, drawn by Jacques Charlier, floating banner among the protestors under the sign of the Renault car dealer installed at the old Hôtel Continental. The Totalists will protest with a plaster on their mouth, distributing to the bystanders transparent tracts. This was a symbolic action, an artistic performance, a happening at the heart of a protest movement, “a collective change of scenery or a way to demonstrate a will to survive”, to use the unique positions taken by the Totalists, it was also a participation in the protestation, in short, it was local art.
Jacques Charlier indeed hosts in Liège from 1965 to 1968 the group “Total’s Underground” and publishes a journal whose title is Total’s, l’édition souterraine liégeoise (Total’s, Liège’s underground publication). The journal will be published irregularly for three years and will count up to sixty subscribers.
“Total’s, writes Jacques Charlier in the first editorial, stencilled booklet wearing a cover showing a toilet bowl, an access road like any other to the underground, Total’s is no doctrine, nor is it philosophy, nor politic, nor anarchic, nor beatnik, nor provo, nor all of this nice reporter vocabulary twisted by consumption causing an artificial racism between the generations and the social groups. Total is the spectacle of life and of our own life. It doesn’t hope, doesn’t fight for a new utopian “freedom” where every man would become conscious of himself. It simply survives in the secret hallways without attempting to convince. That our lives are accounted for is sufficient. Revolution and evolution (if it exists) is nothing more than our way of living “differently”, the thing that allows us to breathe, to create. Not because we want or desire it, but because we can’t “act” otherwise”.
Among the multiple activities, the styles and the various media he practices then, Charlier works, indeed, in transparency, or rather he puts transparency in his work. He even creates a transparent paintbrush. “Transparency was considered ideal for everything. Reality ended up being absolutely different. We have to admit that the more transparency became a concern, the thicker the mystery grew”. All in transparency then, all those “common desires of happiness, financial success, marriage, children, house, health, fridge, TV, lodge in the countryside, and social dances”, we furthermore read in Total’s editorial.
The Totalist activities will be part of this cultural guerilla of the sixties, this large business of demystifying the conditioning provoked by the consumer society. But with an activism made of many different shades, because surprisingly, when comes the time for disputes, Jacques Charlier outlines as soon as 1965: “Our happenings, under a provocative guise are only essays in collective change of scenery. By creating an event where everybody has to break a taboo, which compels him without exaltation to leave his usual environment. This makes him enter a world he doesn’t think he has access to. Which lets him see himself and us with clarity, out of himself and so close.”

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
« Photographies de Vernissages », 1974-1975
– Knokke, 4e foire d’art actuel 1974 (6 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Köln, Projekt 1974 (6 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Bruxelles, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Sol Lewitt, Darboven, Finlande, 1974 (6 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Bruxelles, réception chez Herman et Nicole Daled, 1974 (2 panneaux. Photos : Yves Gevaert)
– Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Sol Lewitt, (3 panneaux. Photos : Jacques Charlier)
– Gent, fête de Karel Geirlandt, 1974 (3 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Bruxelles, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Klapheck, 1974 (3 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Bruges, 3e triennale, 1974 (9 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Bruxelles, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Broodthaers, Cadéré, Ryman, 1974 (6 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Düsseldorf, IKI, 1974 (7 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Köln, Kunstmarkt, 1974 (7 panneaux. Photos : Nicole Forsbach)
– Bruxelles, Palais des Beaux-Arts, On Kawara – Jacques Charlier, 1975 (9 panneaux : Photos : Nicole Forsbach et Philippe De Gobert)
67 panneaux 60 x 50 cm, comprenant chacun 9 photographie NB 13 x 18 cm

In 1974, Jacques Charlier still practices professional photography within the Service Technique Provincial (Provincial Technical Service; S.T.P.) as an expeditionary drawer and turns the photographic lens towards the actors of the world of art itself. To various photographers who get involved with the project (Nicole Forsbach, Philippe de Gobert and Yves Gevaert), he asks to shoot pictures of a sequence of exhibition openings, for many reasons considered by the amateurs as being “essential”, and more precisely to shoot from afar, without exaltation we’d say, the public of those rendezvous. Charlier decides to take the public of art as his subject. The point is not to take pictures of the works. Neither does the artist enlists for a worldly photo report. He explains his motivations: “In 1975, the art I was frequenting was increasingly closing on itself. The same little world it interested was moving along with the exhibitions. Since there was nearly nothing on the walls, it was becoming a ritual in its purest form. People had been criticizing me for exhibiting pictures of parties and trips happening in the context of the S.T.P.. I was absolutely not proposing these documents by exoticism, but I was aggressively criticized as exhibiting alienation… My motivation was instead to get into open conflict with poetic photographic scouting and socio reports. I was still wondering about the problem of the sociological index of the objects and its impact, the involvement of the one who shows, of those it shows, of those to which it’s shown. In the case of the S.T.P., everything was really intractable, nothing was legal, defensible, legitimate. Everything was short-circuiting. This aspect of impossibility was my fascination… Nothing was neutral. This complexity was making the product absolutely indefensible for the market. Some kind of an inextricable no man’s land. To answer some arguments, I decided to turn the artistic context on itself.
So for a year, Charlier multiplied the panes, nine black and white pictures per nine, composing them with a perpetual care to notice the sociological index. He went to the high masses, Bruges’ third Triennial, the Köln Projekt, also the fairs, the one in Knokke, the Kunstmarkt in Köln, very avant-garde, IKI in Düsseldorf which was way more like an art bazaar. He joined the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam for a Sol LeWitt exhibition, went a few times at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where Marcel Broodthaers, Hanne Darboven and Klapheck were exhibiting. He even entered private parties, those given in honour of the tireless Karl Geirlandt at the Gent museum, an evening between friends at Nicole and Herman Daled’s place (two collectors from Brussels). He proposes these/his photographs. “On Kawara’s activity is completely centred on his life, he says… The time at which he awakes… The people he meets… Today’s date… In short, a program tight enough it’s going to give you a headache (laughs), a bargain for the telegraph management (laughs)… the conception of the frames of my exhibition photographs was inspired by Bertrand’s photo reports, S.T.P.’s photograph… The average plane and taking the overview of the situation… the most complete deployment of the back of the tableau, of what’s in front of it… Exactly the opposite of the works centred on the artist and also the opposite of the usual exhibition picture, in which the moral perspective inherent to the exhibition is restored… the artist, the organizers, the close-up shots of high-profile personalities, the public behind… the extras… The exhibition of the pictures of the whole array of these pictures happened at the end of the exhibition and matched the publishing of the catalogue collecting the photographs of the people busily attempting to find their faces on the pictures… the experience could have continued, becoming a mise en abyme”.
Jacques Charlier had already played with this mirror effect, confronting the public of the exhibition to itself, although in a different way: with the group Total, during an exhibition of the APIAW in Liège, around the end of the sixties, he introduces in the exhibition room a great mirror on which is written “Tableau Total” (Total Tableau). The viewers faced with their reflection become the object of the exhibition. Is the same mirror effect effective in the case of openings photographs? “No, a mirror doesn’t capture time, answers Charlier… The ritual of photography is the same as nostalgia… Memory… Over time, the public’s interest in those photographs grows, everybody can find themselves in them… We progressively count the missing… a “work in progress”, as the ones who would like to say something about it say…”. It’s one of the points of interest of this work. “The document offers the privilege of retrospectively lending meaning to the things – it’s also true in the world of art, Shawn McBride writes about the pictures of Benjamin Katz, who developed for half a century through his photographs a panoptic vision of the world of art and of its protagonists. And many artists didn’t have the chance right then to appreciate its full scope. We can feel how these things grow with cruel speed when we observe their progress. But do events really fit this way together? The real experience certainly wouldn’t allow us to see the big picture like we perceive it with hindsight. This experience happened in the flux of the moment – and not necessarily in the remaining material that is the artwork. Often, photography transmits more than its essence”. De facto, with hindsight, Jacques Charlier’s openings photographs have become an exceptional fonds over a very short period of art history. Over the course of the pictures, we actually recognize an impressive number of “personalities”, actors of this artistic corporation. Artists, museum directors, collectors, gallery owners, critics, in short this little world, this family considered to be nearly incestuous and infatuated by some who have a critical eye, while others will evoke it with nostalgic attachment, happy to have been part of it or regretting that they didn’t get to rub with Konrad Fischer, James Lee Byars, Marcel Broodthaers, Anton Herbert, Daniel Buren, Benjamin Buchloh, Isi Fiszman, Giancarlo Politi, Catherine Millet, John Gibson, Dan Graham, Ilona Sonnabend and so many others. The analysis of these photographs is obviously edifying on many aspects of the world of art and on its rituals, its perfectly codified exhibitions, this unique ceremonial where the public varnishes itself since we don’t varnish the paintings in public any more. The ritual consists in receiving, since this is a reception, but what do we receive in fact? Do we receive each other? Do we receive the works? Most likely, this is the dwelling place of the topicality of this work by Charlier. It radically questions the art object in itself; it’s certainly its basic necessity. Through the last exhibition pictures, those from 1975, those on which we see the public watching the openings photographs, we wonder of course about those questioning looks. Is he questioning the work? Is he questioning himself? Is he questioning his own presence? In addition, the work establishes what we now understand as a sociological tour taken by creation over time, it questions the heart of this artistic field, it is a way of thinking its reception, its artifices, its reality. It continues even now to send the viewer back to himself.
Didn’t Édouard Manet say “The Exhibition Room really is a wrestling ground. It’s here that we compete”? This is also topical.

Fiac Paris 2017, les images (2)

Fiac 2017

Fiac 2017

Fiac 2017

Marie Zolamian
Sans titre (la boîte rose), 2016
Huie sur toile, 27 x 20 cm

Fiac 2017

Maen Florin

Maen Florin
On the wall 7, 2016-2017
Ceramics, polystyrene, cardboard, wood, iron, h. 90,5 cm

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier
Sous l’arbre
Photos – Sketch, 1976
– Il y a des gens que l’on comprend aisément…
– Y en a d’autres qui font de l’art facilement
– Dans n’importe quelle circonstance, avec n’importe quoi
– Comme ça. Pouff !
– N’importe où. Là par exemple…

Jacques Charlier, Peintures non identifiées, Aperto, Montpellier

En complément à l’exposition rétrospective qui s’ouvre ce vendredi à La Panacée, centre d’art contemporain de Montpellier, s’ouvre samedi 14 octobre une seconde exposition, conçue en écho à la première par Aperto, lieu d’art contemporain : son titre : Peintures non identifiées.

Jacques charlier

Artiste prolixe qui touche à tous les médiums, qui s’exprime dans tous les médias, J.Charlier produit une œuvre hétéroclite, multiple et foisonnante, depuis les années 1970. Il est invité à Montpellier pour une exposition qui prendra la forme de deux évènements en deux lieux distincts. La Panacée et la galerie Aperto. J.Charlier y présentera des facettes différentes de son œuvre et de son parcours.
À Aperto, les pièces extraites des dernières séries abordées par Charlier (de 2012 à 2017) seront mises en scène. Il s’agit de séries peintures qui s’inspirent de styles très différents. Dans ses cycles de peintures, Jacques Charlier joue avec les références savantes ou populaires et multiplie les allusions à l’art moderne. Il associe à un répertoire issu de l’histoire de l’art tout un tas de représentations vernaculaires anciennes ou contemporaines, qui ont pour vertu de décaler la lecture du tableau avec humour et désinvolture. Dès l’entrée de l’exposition, J.Charlier prend la pose, c’est dans l’attitude typique du peintre dans son atelier qu’il se présente ici au public.

Aperto, Lieu d’Art Contemporain
1 rue Étienne Cardaire – 34000 Montpellier (quartier Chaptal)
Vernissage samedi 14 octobre à 18h
Exposition du 15 / 10 au 4 / 11 / 2017