Jean-Jacques LEBEL, Esprit de sel, 1990-2017, assemblage 45, 31 x 47 cm

© Louis Delbaere / Courtesy Galerie Mathias Coullaud

Jean-Jacques LEBEL, Séduction, 1990-2017, assemblage n°1, 19 x 14,5 cm

© Louis Delbaere / Courtesy Galerie Mathias Coullaud


Jean-Jacques LEBEL 

"Artists advocate changing the rules governing what is visible and what can be voiced, to show what was unseen, alter perceptions of all that was too evident, and make new connections, to disrupt the sensitive fabric of perceptions and the dynamics of emotions."
Jacques Rancière in Le Spectateur émancipé

His mind is equal to the intensity of his gaze: lively, playful, pertinent and impertinent. He has the eyes of someone passing on a culture. 
For me, meeting Jean-Jacques Lebel marked the start of a new stage in my life, because I encountered a world, an Artist! 
Lebel's universe is "a rhizome on the move" in the Hugolian sense of a "force on the move", because he never stops advancing, creating, interrogating, gathering, collecting... and, dedicating his WHOLE life to art and creation, to discovery. 
A long time ago he slung his curiosity over his shoulder and set off to roam the world, to roam new worlds. 
Since then we have been in dialogue. 
And this dialogue has led us to join forces from September 16 to October 28, 2017, at the gallery Mathias Coullaud, for the exceptional presentation of a group of 35 of Lebel's "assemblages" entitled: "Unbuttonings". 
Of course, it will be about girls, of course, who have to be "artfully" unbuttoned. 
Obviously, the artist's personal mythologies and the vital role of literature and poetry will underlie this eroticism of the joyful voyeur and his clear relationship with a raw form of the practice of the artistic gesture. 
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, HUMOUR, a legacy of DADA, of which he is the legitimate heir, will leaven this exhibition: let's laugh in the land of contemporary art - a salutary slogan in this era of formalisation! 

"The rowan enters into the lyre or the lyre into the rowan. You can flee, my Beauties, the chase will not last long! "
André Breton, in Constellation

Mathias Coullaud, July 2017

‘Nursed in his cradle by Marcel Duchamp and André Breton, raised by the poet Benjamin Péret, the herald of the Sixties happening grew up with the Beat generation before gathering all of the joyful rabble-rousers on the international scene around him.

Through the Polyphonix festival’s Fluxus madness in, through sacrilegious performances as acts of bold resistance to any form of authority, Lebel himself summarises a whole chapter of the unofficial history of art.
Boasting over 900 items, his collection illustrates the epoch almost as well as he himself does, and testifies to his thousand friendships. "At the time, it was such a miracle to sell a painting! So we preferred giving them to one another," he reminisces now, at the grand old age of 81. "The guiding thread in my life has been collective action. The fundamental, existential requirement of sharing is an absolute constant that I cannot explain, other than by the human, psychological influence of dadas and surrealists. "

As a child of this "magnificent mental adventure which consisted in transforming the voyeur into a clairvoyant," Lebel has recently created an endowment fund to prevent his collection from being scattered at his death. "It is a matter of deprivatising my possessions, a truly militant, anti-capitalist act," he claims. "I know it's old-fashioned, I'm considered good for a mental asylum. But the question remains essential: does an artist produce merchandise for speculators, or does he propound an intensity forbidden by all systems?" His answer is easy to guess.’

Emmanuelle Lequeux in Le Monde, June 21, 2017

EXHIBITION 16/09 > 28/10/2017
2 p.m to 7 p.m
Mathias Coullaud Gallery