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Bourgeois-Potage (Jean-Pierre)

about the artist


Expressions of terrors are not common in painting. GOYA mastered them very well but Francis BACON was the one who painted their most piercing aspects. As far as the German expressionists are concerned, they have always given an antisocial or satirical dimension to their paintings. This is the reason why BOURGEOIS-POTAGE’S paintings seem like an exception amongst French painters. As an artist well known for exhibiting his paintings at rare and carefully chosen times, he would make sure to have painted a series of perfectly consistent paintings before revealing them to the public. The current painting shows the extent of his exceptional talent. First of all, he will have to overcome two problems namely to acknowledge the fact that a painting is never completely finished. This explains the castings that seem to deny the actual paintings and the constant representation of paroxysm expressed on every face. Indeed these faces are the very ones which either charm or intrigue the viewer. The figures are always featured seated, at rest, either holding a cigarette in their hand or daydreaming, they seem to be in such a state of fear as if their whole bodies were in a state of horror. These men and women seem to accept to be in such a state of extreme fear. Their eyes are bulging, their features livid and their ugliness blatant. Here they are thinking of their own destiny. They convey a sense of pure prudishness being fully aware of feeling lost, useless, lonely and insignifiant. GRUBER painted similar livid scenes fifty years ago. The truth depicted by both painters is so deep and serious that one could say that an art helps understand the most depressed state of mind with a serene approach ? One could definitely qualifies BOURGEOIS-POTAGE’S art as such. One should question first what the viewer retains from Bourgeois-Potage’s visible and objective world. In most of his paintings, men are featured in a standing position, still or seated either on a stool or an armchair. Their features look tired and tragic, with a prominent chin, an emaciated nose and their eyes are bulging to the point that you can distinguish their skull. Their hands are often crossed. The rest of their bodies look unfinished as the matter should suggest it, as per the painter’s logic. At first sight, the viewer would think that the faces and the hands convey an intense terror and an absolute paralysis. However, once the viewer is no longer caught by surprise, one has a more balanced judgement and can wonder whether these figures merely bury themselves in their inner self. At this stage of the analysis – and of the mystery – the viewer begins to trust the technic which has been used. The matter drips slowly or in a violent way not only the bottom but also to the top so the figure is nearly completely disincarnated. The viewer thinks that this dissolution occurs in the mind of the figure as well as in his body. The intimate conflict – the quiet struggle with oneself – ensures that the viewer questions himself. The painting can look aggressive and eye-catching but soon it becomes more pervert not to say unavoidable : it is the human nature as a whole that BOURGEOIS-POTAGE depicts. BOURGEOIS-POTAGE goes straight to the essential. His originality is unquestionable although one could compare him to painters like GIACOMETTI or to BACON when he refrains himself from finishing his figures. Here the spirit is entirely different : it is all about suggesting that it is inherent in human nature to consume itself, to destroy itself, to dream of itself until the body is deeply affected by it. Moreover he carries out a daring osmosis between the colour which refuses to take shape and the character who is in full mutation. Less despaired than he looks, in his paintings he blends some tiny pieces in which everything is quiet, thoroughly reproduced and delicate : in the midst of terror a sort of gem appears – a few joined fingers for example. This magnificent-looking executioner is revealing his talent today. He will be a painter to be reckoned with.




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