The artist often develops his works from found and sometimes historical pictorial material, as well as from well- known figures of mythology, history, theater, film and pop culture. Original quotes are deliberately reduced to extracts within a collage-like working method. Recontextualized in seemingly surreal contexts, this results in new associations and meanings. Several works are condensed within a stage-like installation, leading to a performative-pictorial narration.
Lothar Hempel’s sculpture Performance (2015) uses a famous image of Kathleen Neal Cleaver, the first female member of the Black Panthers, mixing materials, disciplines and references to popular culture. A contemporary heroine, she is one of the figures to whom the artist pays tribute for her commitments. But let’s listen to the genesis of the work by the artist…
I combined 2 images – Kathleen Cleaver, an activist and the wife of Eldridge Cleaver, one of the leaders of the Black Panthers, during a speech she held in Oakland in the late sixties and a photograph from Dave Gahan, lead singer of Depeche Mode in one of their first concerts in 1981.
Another element in the work is the sentence: “Delphi Dog Run”, which is a collage of words, the name of the greek oracle and the words in a series of paintings by Christopher Wool, executed in 1990.
There is a cut out shape in the middle of the sculpture, indicating a pregnancy and pointing into the forehead of Dave Gahan like a diagramm, showing the direction of a thought process or a more symbiotic relation (“Symbiosis” was in fact one of the working titles for the sculpture, before I finally settled with “Performance”). The motif of pregnancy, which I understand as a metaphor for give and take, is juxtaposed in opposition to the phallic presence of the microphone in Mr Gahan’s hand and the “real” microphone in front of the figure.
There are patterns like stains and scratches printed onto the chest and the boots of the figure that stem from photographs of abstract paintings that I took a while back in some Berlin gallery. Completely forgot which artist, but I used these patterns again and again in different works to bring a certain grit and texture on to the surface. These patterns seem to indicate a process like grinding, digging in and opening up, getting through the surface, cutting, perforation, penetration… it’s probably a desperate attempt to overcome the 2 dimensionality of the printed image and the need to turn it into something of volume, something “real”, to create a true opposite. The key around the neck seems to have a similar function – it also “opens up”.
Kathleen Neal Cleaver was born in Dallas, Texas, on May 13, 1945. Her parents were both activists and college graduates of the University of Michigan. Her father was a sociology professor at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and her mother earned a master’s degree in mathematics. Three years after Cleaver was born, her father, Ernest Neal, accepted a job as the director of the Rural Life Council of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and they moved to a predominantly black community beside the campus. Six years later, Ernest joined the Foreign Service. The family moved abroad and lived in such countries as India, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Philippines. Spending time in India exposed Kathleen to different beliefs, including socialism, communism, and nationalism. The family returned to the United States after her brother died from leukaemia and the family broke apart. Cleaver attended a Quaker boarding school near Philadelphia, George School, which had just been desegregated.
There is a “twin” piece to Performance, a 2018 sculpture called: “Ein Lied für 2 Stimmen” ( a song for 2 voices ), note the green key glued to the wall! It could be interesting to see the 2 works in their dialogue.
Around the year 1124, a community of Benedictines settled on the Wivina site at Groot-Bijgaarden in modern-day Belgium. Archaeological research has uncovered the remains of five consecutive churches and outbuildings there. The current chapel from 1924 is still intact. In 2011 interior architect Tom Callebaut led the transformation of this chapel into a contemporary space for contemplation. Nine years later, photographer Geert Goiris was invited to visualize the experience of this space, which is still a beacon of theology and reflection. A text by Herman Lombaerts accompanies the series of images.
Between 2008 and 2010 I travelled twice to antarctica to photograph a whiteout. This weather condition can occur in polar regions and high mountains. When the concentration of microscopic ice crystals in the atmosphere exceeds a certain limit it traps the sunlight. Light gets diffused through these particles, falls onto the snow and ice below and is reflected endlessly in the air like an an echo chamber.
Whiteout is an atmospherical, optical phenomenon, where the observer appears to be engulfed in a uniformly white glow. Any sense of depth and orientation is lost. Only dark, nearby objects can be seen. The horizon disappears, the landscape turns into a white void – a ‘ganzfeld’. Our brain isn’t used to uniform stimulation, seeing is based on contrast. Making a distinction between different patterns, colours or structures. When we gaze into a featureless field of vision it can produce hallucinations
I wanted to capture on film the transformation of matter into light during a whiteout. The resulting piece is an analog slide projection. The film was exposed in antarctica, developed and at last loaded into a projector. The powerful light shining through the diapositive projects an ephemeral image onto the wall. The projection is automated, each image dissolves into the next one. There is a strange temporality at play inspired by the experience of continuous daylight during my stay on the continent.
Le Tigre définitive is a series of drawings made for a children’s book. Jean-Luc Blanc creates a sequence of images based around the figure of Janus, the philosopher with two faces. The sequence is read from left to right, from right to left from the center, it does not matter, the personal projection of the viewer is the only truth.
…que le vent ne se lève et ordonne ce petit monde de bien mystérieuse façon.
– Elle n’ira pas danser. – Elle ne tournera pas la tête à droite. – Elle n’observera nul horizon.
Son bateau plusieurs fois sera détruit, mais la lumière captive derrière ses paupières ouvrira d’autres bals…
En ce temps-là un homme-grenouille possédant plus d’une théorie sur l’origine du ressac, plongeait là-bas… Mais peut-être que les équations sont plus faciles à résoudre que les vagues à gominer.
C’est sous un manteau troué Au sortir d’images fixes, et articulées comme des automates que tout cela commença très lentement avant même que…
L’oiseau bleu pâlit.
Les après-midi tombaient mal, et endurant ce temps les brumes d’ombre périphérique protégeraient sur de multiples miroirs des incendies permanents pour tisseuse de belles aventures. Voilà ce qui est exactement arrivé.
– Mon premier se trouve aux temps où il fallait encore surprendre d’autres affinités aux symétries paradoxales. – Mon second vogue sur tout un sillage en pente. – Ou sont les autres? demande mon troisième. – Aussi bien nulle part rétorque mon avant-avant-dernier.
Dès à présent, tandis qu’une tête endimanche les dépendances d’un château de fables, au demeurant immuable…
…Là où trois mouvements lents plus tard il se fait entendre comme un doux chant pluriel – fais ceci – ceci n’est pas parfait – ceci n’est pas un fait
En pleine lumière dis-moi quelque-chose
Rangez vos joues joues rien ne va plus. Mais quoi encore ! – Un concerto panoramique. – Un diapason à bulle ? – Laper l’eau en vol ? Là, je comprends. Métamorphosé, un cancre est là. Non, un orphéon est un luth en point de croix avec beaucoup de ciel tout autour dans les tons de Jade et qui décrirait une valse enjouée avec Jupiter.
Et maintenant maintes fois maintenu dans un mélange de mystères frivoles et exaspérants joue-nous ton air favori. Sans oublier de donner à boire au poisson chaque minute
je compte avec toi.
Alors j’ouvris sept portes et glissai sur une vague d’encre bien des fois une feuille blanche me pris en otage. Terre promise d’un soleil avenir toujours plus proche à chaque nouvelle écoute toujours plus proche toujours plus proche
Écoute … en ce jardin voir des roses ne pousser qu’à l’envers, et faire signe à une fée volage souriant sur les feux de voilage iridescents à celle qui prendrait la mesure de tout ces quadrilles hypnotiques 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9…
….et deux qui font un.
Quand bientôt, à l’ombre d’Orion, comme une ligne sur ton beau visage, passent un pour toujours et un jamais plus particulièrement aimants aux fleurs, flammes et autres fétiches glacés Δ K O n + =
Alors je n’entendis plus rien ni les chevaux invisibles et, comme dans un scintillement broussailleur dans une sombre forêt un soleil vert.
Behind the scenes of the installation Hubert Duprat – Retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris September 2020 – February 2021
“Here we have a summary of the lines of force of a body of work both openended and rhizomatic, a unifying of the monumental and the miniature, of purity of line and mannerist virtuosity. Sumptuous, demanding and complex, the Duprat oeuvre also draws inspiration from chance and the empirical, combining the discovery of objects, remnants and texts in a testing-out of matter, technique and dexterity” – Jessica Castex.
The aquarium When I was a kid we had an aquarium with a few guppies, a row of neon lights, a couple of shrimps and small spotted yellow fish that cleaned the windows with their big, silent lips. I remember feeling embarrassed at the sight of the guppies defecating, since in the water it was like a little string that they were carrying around in their wake, until it became too long and broke. While I was being taught cleanliness and modesty, it bothered me. Perhaps by some sort of childish intuition I saw that we were not so different and that our condition was finally quite similar, just without the giant face on the other side of the glass.
Océaniania left – among other things – these childhood memories, but as usual, my drawing work is an accumulation of perceptions and knowledge that I don’t organise in order to produce any kind of affirmative statement. This sounds like disengagement. Yet for me it is an essential way of approaching subjects, without trapping them in a discourse. I often get entangled when it comes to language.
… the heart of my research lies in exploration, notably by inviting doubt within the drawing. By yielding a part of control to my unconscious to intuition and imagination, I introduce the possibility of letting myself be taken over by my work.