Jean-Charles de Quillacq : AutoFonction and Deconstruction Game

June 02, 2020 | Julie A.

After two months of lock-down, galleries slowly reopen their doors to visitors, and we can leave our screens to see the artwork patiently waiting for our eyes. It could be seen as a strange choice, to start with the new exhibit of Jean-Charles de Quillacq, how the absence and desertion seems to be crucial in his latest work. But that is just at the first sight. Let’s take a walk on the gallery Marcelle Alix, and discover this proposition in further detail.

If you are familiar with the work of Jean-Charles de Quillacq, you certainly recognize his taste for body parts as legs or feet, transformed into autonomous limbs and walking their own path. But you can also feel troubled, by going through this uncanny valley of ghosts and leftover castings and prosthesis.


Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Jeans, 2020
Fiberglass, jeans, sneakers, socks, 31 x 52 x 39 cm, unique 
© Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  

Jean-Charles de Quillacq Mon produit, 2020 
Polyester resin, clothes, natural hair, Barrier® gloves, polyethylene, 222 x 45 x 50 cm, unique |
© Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  

Exhibit's view | © Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  

Exhibit's view | © Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  


In Autofonction, sculptures are put on dialogue with some smaller pieces, drawn or sculpted, as Meduse 1 and 2, Momie, a couple of twisty cigarettes and bars stuck on the walls. These forms, but also the delicate patterns in Le chien infini, evoke genital, animal, and organic forms evolving and adapting to the environment of the gallery. Moreover, synthetic materials, as epoxy, are burned, or completed with urine or sweat, giving them a new materiality, and making them almost alive.




Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Le gens 1, 2020 
Burnt epoxy, iris juice 48 cm x diam. 6 cm unique 
© Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  

Exhibit's view |  ©  Aurélien Mole courtesy Marcelle Alix, Paris. 


Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Momie, 2020 -
Flour, milk, eggs, sugar, sel - 5kg  unique 
©  Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  





Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Phile, 2020
Epoxy on leather, plastic sheath, urine, sweat liquid, 107 x 7,5 cm, unique 
 © Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  


Ironically, the figurative pieces, using photography and very naturalist sculpture, show the human body in frozen posture, if not the pure absence, as this empty trousers left behind by his mysterious owner. Thus the Casting Portrait, shows us different photographs in classical black and white, where the artist takes academic poses, as a contemporary Apollo. In this series, photographic technique, mastery in work of light, and classical poses transformed the body into pure picture on glossy paper, disembodied and reduced to a cold surface. In that sense, photography becomes a kind of casting process too, a way of shaping and capturing character and silhouette, using light and chemical and/or digital processes. The same goes for the sculptures : how realistic they are, with their outfits and natural hair, they look like uncomfortable furniture. Besides, positions and plastic gloves evoke the wish to avoid any contact with the floor, in contrast with the organicity of the others forms, which seems to merge into the room.

Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Photo de casting, 2019
Laser print, 22 x 31,7 cm, ed 5 + 1 | © Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  

Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Photo de casting 2, 2020
Laser print, 40 x 28,5 cm n ed 5 + 1|
© Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  


But in this miss for the eyes and mess for the brain, a new gaze is drawing up. Jean-Charles de Quillacq takes distance from body parts that usually bear identity, and puts some trouble in the recognition. Unformed objects become attractive, calling for a touch, a gesture, a hand on it, whereas naturalistic representations of the human body remain impassive, or uncomfortable.

Throughout the visit, bodies in pieces tell us their own narratives. Free of any reference framework, some of them take a walk outside the box, leaving the center of attention to explore the corners, the ground, the splits and the cracks of the place, inviting us to experiment new sensations. Dispersed across the gallery, they fall within a choreography with no beginning and no end.

By bursting body’s representations, Jean-Charles de Quillacq distancing themselves from their usual roles and functions, as (re-)presentation of the self. Bodies are not closed system anymore, with defined identities and anatomic unity, but organic parts in constant evolution and interaction with an environment made of both organic life forms, artifacts and abstract pictures.

Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Le chien infini 7, 2019 - 2020
Acetone on book page, 7 x (29,7 x 42 cm), unique
|© Aurélien Mole for Marcelle Alix  



Thus, the exhibition become an infinite (de-)construction game. By entering into this place, we are invited to feeling, more than thinking, our own bodies in a continuum of moves, fluids, and interlocking, outside the codified gestures that are structuring social and intimate relationships. This reminds me of the Barbara Krüger’s artwork and the words she used in it : “you construct intricate rituals which allow you to touch the skin of other men”. As an answer to this catchphrase, Jean-Charles de Quillacq destroys the frames where we mainly set these daily rituals, forcing us to reinvent our gaze, our way we move and feel the others, and finally, to consider ourselves, as an other.

Jean-Charles de Quillacq, AutoFonction
Marcelle Alix Gallery, 4 rue Jouye-Rouve, 75020 Paris 16.05.2020 - 25.07.2020 

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