Well, these two latest paintings are more like graphic arts. That is to say, that they are less portraits or representations than signs. The artist has concentrated on surface effects, rather than volume or depth. I really like the way the space is saturated with colours which become sensation (the warm blue which makes the "faded" face shimmer) and movement (shades race and spread out in the green field of the image). These are in fact projections, that is to say representations of the mind, which can arouse associations of ideas, or shifts in meaning. There is also an affinity with collage, the artist plays with perspective as convention, which here could have a time dimension, as if one element of the painting had left its imprint at a given moment, and another element has marked it at another moment. These paintings bear the hallmark of industrial techniques of the image, they trace a path from the avant garde movement at the beginning of the 20th century (Cubism, early abstract art and the movements which followed it) right up to the digital era which opened up at the beginning of the 21st century, going from the cinema, photography to video at the peak of their art forms...
Pol Guezennec, 15 July 2010
Jean-Pierre Dausset uses tinted areas of solid colours in his paintings at the very moment when the whole of France is converting to digital television.This coincidence is incidental, but it makes it possible to talk about a relation in depth: 2 years ago colour was still linked to a controlled abstract expressionism. Since then, style has evolved and the "effects" of the material have been replaced, naturally, imperceptibly, day after day, by movements increasingly close to the capabilities of digital tools.
This is something which enriches this work, apart from its subject, the character or being, seen through its photographic or video-graphic image, in magazines or on television, in "conversation pieces" which hardly vary, (and which is very good as it is)... There is an attentiveness, an interest, an acute observation and enthusiasm for the material conditions of the image, for the methods by which it evolves, and, nowadays, for the methods by which it is broadcast.
It is said that the invention of the tube of paint made it possible for the artist to take colours out of the studio, no matter where he went; and this ability to transport colours contributed indirectly to the invention of impressionism as an approach, an intellection, and a new way of representing and actually seeing the world.
Here, we have the technological evolution of the image of the world, its new possibilities and conditions, this new and original flexibility of the image for simultaneous display on the screens of a huge television and of a telephone, which are the object of close attention, great curiosity and desire, and which inform, of course, the changes in style and material.
This flexibility of the image of our era imposes a certain abstraction: the processes of compression, which allow the image to be passed on more rapidly, increasingly condition it. These compression algorithms, which can be thought of as "bunches" of co-ordinated calculations, do their work, which is to reduce large parts of the image, an image in which you would see the tiniest variations, into a simpler continuity.
This compression reduces the number of colours, eliminates isolated phenomena and reduces differences as much as possible, in order to make an "economical" image, while respecting a threshold of perception: the observer must still be able to read the image, to decipher it intellectually and to understand it, and it must be beautiful into the bargain... Everything beyond this threshold is eliminated, the image is "smoothed out", "summarised", made easier to write digitally and to broadcast, it becomes a package of instructions which will be "executed" on the next screen.
An attentive, sensitive witness of these evolutions of the very material of the image: a look, an experienced, acute vision, which lets none of the physical characteristics or of the body of the image "escape"; an attention, never deflected by the intellectual or "interpretative" aspects. It is said that the tapestry loom setters, whose colour perception is heightened by their work, distinguish shades which we do not notice. In the same way it is the body of the image which primarily interests Jean-Pierre Dausset. This attention to physical modalities, and the daily experience of an image which nowadays is on a screen, pulsating quickly enough to give us the illusion that it is fixed, leads us to these astonishing backgrounds and to this evolution in style, which I would now link to Jonathan Lasker, a New York painter who does not deal with images.
This process is "natural", in the same way as Jan Van Eyck’s experiments into the new oil painting techniques - which were to bring in their wake huge changes in how artists represented, saw and thought about the world - were "natural".