It is precisely because it would be too easy to let the painting and the canvas – its support of predilection since the 15th century – cohabit in a classic and peaceful manner, that Richard Jackson chose to separate this comfortable couple. These two know each other too well. The manifest could stop right here. He could settle for breaking up a dominant paradigm the way other ar-tists did, but he goes far beyond. The artist considers that the nice couple made up of the paintbrush and the painting is also a com-monplace; incomplete and hackneyed. Richard Jackson, a radical, finds exultation in the surpassing, the renewing and extension of pictorial practices. He wants to get rid of old tats, often, it has been noticed, with provocation. But we know that his approach takes the particular form of a very experimental humour, implemented since the 1970s. Very early on, he started turning can-vases around, facing the walls. He turned his back on them and, right next to them, he showed circles made with acrylic flat tints bursting from the walls themselves.
With Jackson, colours bang against the walls like a bird banging against a window when attracted by the light. The confron-tation is vivid and signifying. In 1972, doors, with their back-and-forth movement, replaced the paintbrush. Then in 1977, wiper blades spread the colourful and thick matter on windscreens. Later, in 2000, a Vespa’s wheels with their circular movement brought to life a horizontal pain-ting lying on the floor. Paintbrushes are dead. Long live the painting. The latter now has a life of its own; thanks to Jackson, it has acquired autonomy and got rid of its rags. Naturally, the artist hates monochromes. A euphemism as he abhors them. Then, every means to avoid them is good and beautiful. Jackson never ceases to demonstrate that the painter can be excluded from the action of painting. This is a fertile para-dox which theoretically locates the artist on the side of apparatuses. He is more interested in the fabrication, production, in making, and never ceases to implement mechanisms that are like living programmes.In this exhibition, he continues his enterprise of deconstructing and displacing the medium by reconstituting on scale one the bar La Palette. This project has required several years of consideration.
Before settling for this “institution” from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which evokes a French imaginary fantasised by Americans, he had first thought about the Moulin Rouge, even more cliché. This contextualisation, full of hu-mour and a nod to outmoded representations, is an homage to the old and kitsch world of the painter and his easel, which he still manages to re-new. The machine revolves on itself; the mechanisation of the bar randomly spreading paint in the galle-ry, is this high-speed train figuring the renewal of the painting. With subtlety and humour, Jackson takes his distance with the art world, as was evident recently with his dog urinating on the Orange County Mu-seum of Art (OCMA) also exhibited not long ago at the S.M.A.K. for Ain’t Painting a Pain. Jackson, like his dog, spans over art history and prefers pure exultation to seriousness.
Léa Chauvel-Lévyall images © the gallery and the artist(s)