Sunday, 5 February 2012

Unzipped Humanities (3) : Learn about - Jean-Pierre Raynaud

Welcome to the collection of The National Museum of Art, Osaka.

This post is about Jean-Pierre Raynaud, a French artist working with time shadows and their abstract tendency to shrink into the geometrical perfection of a very spatial void. Raynaud is building walls around himself, filling them with white tiles and with the impossibility of breaking out. He then smashes them and films his self-made-prison break.

Container Zero @ Centre Pompidou Paris
from r.coppola, click here

Why would anyone literally build a Cartesian space as a defence system against the outer world? Is this a new frame of mind? If so, it might look rather sceptical to some. Freeing oneself from the world becomes possible only after having gone underground within the self.

Jean-Pierre Raynaud (1993)

Unzipped Humanities (1) covered Marcel Broodthaers and his work La signature. Serie 1. Tirage illimite (1969), while Unzipped Humanities (2) introduced to our readers Jorg Immendorff's Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait II), also in the museum's collection.

We have contributed to the collection catalogue, which is expected to be published in March-April 2012. For updates and texts in the Japanese language authored by The Bosa Bosa Review, please check again around April. Cheers.

Welcome to the museum's collection:

Jean-Pierre RAYNAUD Auto Portrait  (1980).

We have been working on Jean-Pierre Raynaud's Auto Portrait, for the collection catalogue.


Field research, digging, digging

Unearthing 19-years old mortuary chamber
- ceramic tiles at the Biennale di Venezia, 1993-


Jean-Pierre Raynaud was born in Paris in 1939. He graduated from Horticulture in 1958, had the first group-exhibition in 1964 at “Salon de la Jeune Sculpture”. In 1976 (or 1975?) he created the stained-glass windows for the Noirlac Abbey in France. He held a one-man show at Pompidou Centre, in Paris, in 1979. Later, in 1981 he had his first exhibition in Japan, “Espace Zero” opened at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art. Here he temporarily transformed the whole exhibition space into his work.


Curatorial Night Beat @ The Bosa Bosa Review

Auto Portrait is an artwork from 1980 (tile and cement, 129x46x46cm. Courtesy The National Museum of Art, Osaka). Another frame of mind, perhaps? Raynaud marks his territory with white ceramic tiles set on a grid of 15 by 15 cm, with a black grouting joint (mortar) of 5 mm. The white tiles, along with the red pots and the "Do Not Enter" traffic signs have become his artistic signature.

Auto Portrait, a self-portrait, shows a simple structure of a white ceramic tiled-head on top of a white ceramic tiled-body. A similar work, triple-size, is Stele pour les droits de l'homme, erected in Barcelona (1990)

image Wikipedia

Five years later, in 1985, Raynaud will make Stele + crane neolithique, a sculpture where on top of the white ceramic tiled-body he places not a tiled-head but a skull in a glass case, standard image of an artistic meditation on the subject of life and death.

Stele + crane neolithique (1985)
from Le Fil du regard blog

We know that to Raynaud, the white ceramic tiles are related to the image of a hospital, as well as that of a home.
In 1970 he created Mur sens interdits where he is showing a large-sized monochrome photograph of a patient in a psychiatric institution, surrounded by the typical hospital white ceramic tiles. Raynaud attaches dozens of "Do Not Enter" traffic signs to an inescapable reality, a negation of live within life, a painfully surviving death within life. The photograph itself has been found prior to this date, and chances are that this hospital image is at the root of his choice for a tile-style.

Jean Pierre Raynaud, Mur sens interdits (1970)
© MAMAC (Musee d'art moderne et d'art contemporain) Nice

Shifting from hospital image to home sweet home image. From 1969 until 1993, Raynaud built his home in La Celle Saint-Cloud, covering all surfaces in white ceramic tiles. Then in 1993 he decided to destroy it and save the fragments in buckets as artworks. The destruction has been documented on video camera.

home sweet home
smash-in-progress, 1993
from Henri Jacobs's blog

Art critic Toshio Shimizu argues that the white ceramic tiles define the habit of removing proofs and traces in the 20th century. Tiles are a construction/ decorative material used in hospitals and slaughterhouses, can be easily washed of dirt, and keep no memory of any presence, experience or sign of life.

Therefore, we can regard a space built with white tiles as a person’s territory clearly marked, a Cartesian space, signifying Perfection, the Absolute, a space where one closes oneself, as a defence system against the outside. The body becomes one’s total space, and the space defines itself in strict relation to one’s body. An enclosed space is a place of freedom. 

Useful French-Japanese-English glossary:

Jean-Pierre Raynaud, Auto Portrait (1980)
ジャン=ピエール・レイノー 《自画像》

Abbaye de Noirlac
Noirlac Abbey

Stele+crane neolithique
Neolithic Skull

Toshio Shimizu (name)
Toshio Shimizu

Mur sens interdits
Do not enter Wall

Related links:

Jean-Pierre Raynaud article by Mark Pimlott, in Frieze Magazine, Issue 13, November-December 1993

Art. Interview Pinceau: Jean-Pierre Raynaud. With Thierry Ardisson, a video from (Institut National de l'Audiovisuel), 2010

Seriously funny comments on Raynaud's work Pot Dore, Golden Pot at the Centre Pompidou 1998-2009, Beaubourg area, Paris (listen and have a laugh, for knowing what the audience thinks is essential to the dynamism of the arts)  

uploaded by citysoninfo on 22 August 2008

And check out also some red flower-pots here.

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