Jean-Pierre Pointil y a quelque chose de beau dans les objets qui nous entourent.
In a subtle play on the relationships between colours and using a sensuality specific to substances, Jean-Pierre Point (1941-2023) created screen-prints that appear as epiphanies to the mundane. The exhibition comprises around fifty screen-prints, created between the 1970s and the 2000s. These works capture intimate moments in the artist’s family life and celebrate the simple beauty of the mundane, too often ignored or forgotten due to its ubiquity.
A native of Tournai, Jean-Pierre Point is aptly named for a screen-printing vocation. He discovered this printing technique that superimposes coloured points in 1968, enabling him to multiply and create series of what he calls images of images by reworking photographs. He was active in the critical May ‘68 movements at the time which specifically denounced the mass media’s behaviour and the art world’s economic model based on the commodification of unique objects.
Jean-Pierre Point is part of a broad movement to democratise art, attempting to disseminate copies of art works as widely as possible to counter the elitism of galleries and museums. The best-known example is Suites Prisunic, a Jacques Putnam initiative - a collection of original prints by famous artists sold for 100 French francs, roughly €15, in the big shops of the same name. And Point is still at it, playing the travelling salesman in the streets, plastered with posters offering his screen-prints from home at knock-down prices, hoping to subvert the established art market.
“My work with screen-prints is part of my thinking on the status of originals and copies in our cultural consumption. Some works are unique and impossible to reproduce; this includes practically all paintings since Lascaux. But other disciplines are rich and authentic while being copies from the outset, such as cinema, music, and others. Nobody would say: “I went to see a real Fellini” or after a concert “I heard a real Beethoven.” (…) Whether unique or a copy, the real problem is distinguishing between an authentic expression and a soulless product, and teaching people to examine this problem.” Jean-Pierre Point, Conversation with Vincent Cartuyvels, Editions Tandem, 2010.
In several documents that could be manifestos, Jean-Pierre Point also denounces the visual formatting of the time, which impoverished the gaze due to ways of perceiving. Thus his entire screen-printing practice is an attempt to invite the gaze to discover all the chromatic and poetic nuances of artistic reproduction. Consequently, under a screen-print showing him in his studio with its walls covered by his works, we read:
“(…) I discovered that every photograph could shatter into infinite versions. My work involves creating these versions, which means using three screens to print hundreds of different images. I’d love to show you these images (…) You can feel the infinite variations of a photographic image, liberated from the conventions of reproduction. Producing images – or looking at them – is also a way of life and involves a change in our mental habits.”
Curator: Pierre-Olivier Rollin
Exhibition: 18.02 to 23.04.2023