Open window (on the possibles).
Studio installation which will be used for Stéphane Ducret's solo show.
"The body lives by itself once it has begun. But thought-I am the one who continues it, unrolls it. I exist."
"I exist. It's sweet, so sweet, so slow. And light: you'd think it floated all by itself."
Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
Open Window (on the Possible) or : How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Present
Opening: Sunday March 23rd from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, in the presence of the artist
Stéphane Ducret's work directly refers to the positive and dynamic theories that include the new and fundamental "existence precedes essence" approach of existentialism, developed by Jean-Paul Sartre and seen as a complex effort of the mind, body and spirit required to achieve a day-to-day sensation of happiness. This is a crucially important prerogative that the French writer and philosopher comprehended when stating that "indeed, we are a freedom which chooses, but we do not choose to be free; we are condemned to be free. "
In opposition with the generalized thought on Jean-Paul Sartre, who is perceived as negative and sad, Stéphane Ducret considers him as endowed with a great sense of humor and thinks that his approach is optimistic, since it allows a person to choose how to act and what life to head to.
Organized around a motif of used and decayed protection boards for construction sites, the exhibition sets up a constellation of references: from the history of wall painting, to the skin as vector of sensations and the concept of self-construction. It engages the audience in dialogue about their perception of life. Using a variety of techniques, from acrylic airbrush/spray paint, to collage and ceramics, Stéphane Ducret explores the process of achieving eudaimonia (Greek word for "happiness", or "human flourishing"). Through process, scale, composition, and imagery, Ducret's pictorial work accentuates the tensions and contradictions between the act of painting, the construction of a picture, its physical attributes, the visual experience of looking at it, and the possibilities of playing with and pushing open the origins of its meanings. Ducret himself describes his paintings as vague souvenir images.
His handling of the present tension, dense memory and concept of "adventure", is absolutely original, necessary and vital. Stéphane Ducret enjoys a complex creative universe where individual psychology, desire, health, beauty and everything surrounding one's search for happiness, blends with an intense consideration of the very present moment, from the rejection of worries to the great feeling of existence and of being there.
Although Stéphane Ducret's work emerges from a deep and complex vision of humanism inspired by Aristotle's eudaimonia ("happiness" or "welfare") and Sartre's Existentialism among others, it is so well integrated that its form and content are closely connecting mind, body and spirit, and therefore directly accessible. And rather than simply manifesting in his work these philosophical inputs, and being subject to their ideologies, Stéphane Ducret's art is about them. Both descriptive and separate from these dynamics, his art is able to provide prospective experimentation on them rather than being co-opted by them. This capacity of Stéphane Ducret's art to be about ideology rather than becoming one of its subjects, makes us see and perceive the one from which it is born and presupposes a retreat, an internal distantiation from the very ideology from which it emerged.
Inflected by both post-humanist and post-sartrian views of the world, Stéphane Ducret's art occupies an important position in term of its inauguration of dramatically new situations for rethinking the conscience of being.
1. Jean-Paul Sartre, traduction from La Nausée, 1938, Folio Gallimard, 1995, pp. 145 et 143.
2. Jean-Paul Sartre, L'être et le néant, Tel Gallimard, 1943. p.530, translation: Being and Nothingness, by Hazel. E. Barnes, 1956, Washington Square Press