馃憖

J茅r么me Robbe

by Nanda Janssen

J茅r么me Robbe

par Nanda Janssen

The exhibition Fluid Desires at art institute Nest in the Hague, the Netherlands, ended on March 22.聽Of the eight participating artists, five were French. That鈥檚 no coincidence. As a Dutch liaison in Paris,聽I like to create connections between France and the Netherlands. Two countries that are geographically聽practically neighbors but at the same time, culturally and linguistically, worlds apart. They seem to be聽each others blind spot whereas the exchange can be, and has proven, to be so fruitful.

I started the research for Fluid Desires in 2013 when I was still living in the Netherlands and continued聽it in France.聽At the time it struck me that many artists used liquids. This intrigued me and I was聽wondering what motivated them. While researching I discovered a wider and more interesting field of聽art that deals with fluidity without necessarily using liquids, among them some of my favourite French聽artists: Hicham Berrada, Mimosa Echard, Marie Maillard, Shanta Rao and J茅r么me Robbe (apart from聽Inge van Genuchten, Maya Rochat and Leonid Tsvetkov). I had been following their work for years.聽None of them had explored Dutch territory before. Now that the exhibition has just happened, visitors聽were glad to discover them and shared my enthusiasm.

Fluid Desires was an exhibition about the current liquid world.聽Concepts that have been carved in聽stone for decades are shifting. Think for example of time, space, reality, nature, object and the object-human relationship. Developments in science, technology and philosophy are the catalyst for these聽changes.聽An important place occupies the Polish-British sociologist and philosopher Zygmunt Bauman聽who has extensively analysed the increasingly slippery society.聽The hybrid, unstable world serves as a聽point of departure for the artists in Fluid Desires. Post-apocalyptic cocktails and other works of art聽with a liquid allure zoom in on blurring boundaries between natural and synthetic, living and non-living. Their understanding of the world is through matter. The artworks do not use symbols or聽metaphors, nor do they depict anything; on the contrary, they just are. These explosions of color,聽texture, and slipperiness, are related in aesthetics. Throughout the exhibition, the concept of contagion聽is recurrent. Contamination as a marker for meanings that mix, images that merge and ideas that聽influence each other. The exhibition has sometimes science-fiction-like traits as platitudes are deserted聽and the future is fantasized.

[…]

A striking statement by J茅r么me Robbe is: 鈥淧ainting has nothing to do with genius, but everything with inventions. The genius lies in inventing materials and techniques that make it possible to paint differently and better.” The artist therefore regards the history of painting as a succession of technical inventions. In order to proceed the development of painting and to be a painter of your time, it is necessary to continue the sequence of inventions. The L鈥橝ir de Rien series, started around 2009-2010, for example, is painted on plexiglass with a silver or gold coating which effects the depth, brightness and temperature of the applied color. The series responds to the aesthetics of body work of cars, gems and jewellery, but also digital devices.

Furthermore, in this and other series J茅r么me Robbe drives the liquid aspect of painting to the forefront and makes it the essence of the work. He lets the paint flow freely and creates an image that contains an immense temporality. The paintings from the series L鈥橝ir de Rien and Surfaces are evocations of a fluid world. It seems as if paint and support have briefly solidified before the paint continues to drip, curve and flow. For Robbe, fluidity represents freedom. He doesn鈥檛 want to control the creative process but prefers letting things run their course and to leave things to drift. Not one sketch precedes these paintings. It arises in the here and now by anticipating what happens with the material.

The paintings in the L鈥橝ir de Rien series are the result of an elaborate process in which fluidity plays an important role. The initial step is warming the plexiglass with a heat gun. This results in it becoming soft; expanding; forming bubbles and ripples; and, craquelure appearing on the surface. Subsequently the artist vaporizes several liters of water above the plexiglass sheet that is lying flat. The mist slowly whirls down on the panel. Transparent varnish, colored with pigments, is then poured on and allowed to find a way across the distorted surface, just as a river follows its bed or as a lava flow searches its lowest point. Gravity and chance do their job. Depending on the result, certain parts are sanded lighter (for example, where too much varnish accumulates) and once again poured with matte or glossy varnish. Because of the consistent application of a lateral line onto the canvas, the abstract monochromes can also be recognized as landscapes. Where the artist previously depicted landscapes, he nowadays lets them emerge.

When I visited J茅r么me Robbe鈥檚 studio a few times in 2019, it was still based at a stone鈥檚 throw of Paris, in the northern banlieue Asni猫res-sur-Seine. The former printing house was shared with many other artists including Mohammed Bourouissa. His studio, consisting of a working area and a 鈥榮howroom鈥, was bustling with activity. Paintings from four series, if I counted correctly, were at different stages of completion. Two paintings from the Surfaces series were drying in the varnish booth. A great, intoxicating fragrance oozed towards me. The cardboard on the floor soaked up the excess paint. It gave the artist the idea for yet another series of paintings: Diary (Beyond the subject lies time) tells the history of the studio.

The Surfaces and L鈥橝ir the Rien series have many similarities. A thin sheet of plexiglass functions as the support and instead of depicting a landscape it is created by pouring the material on the surface. It reminds the artist of Californian skies. However, in the Surfaces series the plexiglass sheet is glued to an aluminum frame. As the bars of this frame have a visual effect on the front, the artists plays with the amount and positioning of these bars. For example, a black painting has a classic cross shape on the back and a blue painting is divided into six sections. Layers of the cast varnish are removed by sanding and this creates bright spots or areas. In fact, the whole point of these abstract paintings seems to be to create a surface on which light has free rein. Often another layer of varnish is poured on it, again followed by sanding. A process that is repeated several times. The method seems to be very controlled, however it is rather a secession of accidents and material constraints. The Light and Paint series seems to be a sequel to this. Neutral colored canvas is inlaid with one or two rectangular color panels. These often huge but light paintings clearly pay homage to Mark Rothko.

Nanda Janssen, 2020

L鈥檈xposition Fluid Desires pr茅sent茅e 脿 la galerie Nest 脿 La Haye, aux Pays-Bas, s鈥檈st termin茅e le 22 mars. Parmi les huit artistes participants, cinq 茅taient fran莽ais. Ce n鈥檈st pas un hasard. En tant que n茅erlandaise charg茅e de mission 脿 Paris, j鈥檃ime cr茅er des liens entre la France et les Pays-Bas. Deux pays presque voisins, mais des mondes 脿 part du point de vue culturel et linguistique. Ils semblent 锚tre la zone grise l鈥檜n de l鈥檃utre alors que l鈥櫭ヽhange peut 锚tre, et s鈥檈st av茅r茅, si fructueux.

J鈥檃i commenc茅 les recherches pour Fluid Desires en 2013 alors que je vivais encore aux Pays-Bas et je les ai poursuivies en France. 脌 l鈥櫭﹑oque, j鈥檃i 茅t茅 frapp茅 par le fait que de nombreux artistes utilisaient des liquides. Cela m鈥檌ntriguait et je me demandais ce qui les motivait. Au cours de mes investigations, j鈥檃i d茅couvert un domaine de l’art plus large et passionnant qui s鈥檌nt茅resse 脿 la fluidit茅 sans n茅cessairement utiliser de liquides, et o霉 officient certains de mes artistes fran莽ais pr茅f茅r茅s : Hicham Berrada, Mimosa Echard, Marie Maillard, Shanta Rao et J茅r么me Robbe (sans oublier Inge van Genuchten, Maya Rochat et Leonid Tsvetkov). Je suivais leur travail depuis des ann茅es. Aucun d鈥檈ntre eux n鈥檃vait explor茅 le territoire n茅erlandais auparavant. Lors de l鈥檈xposition, les visiteurs ont 茅t茅 enchant茅s de les d茅couvrir et ont partag茅 mon enthousiasme.

Fluid Desires 茅tait une exposition consacr茅e au monde liquide actuel. Des concepts grav茅s dans la pierre depuis des d茅cennies sont en train de changer. Pensez par exemple au temps, 脿 l鈥檈space, 脿 la r茅alit茅, 脿 la nature, 脿 l鈥檕bjet et 脿 la relation objet-homme. L鈥櫭﹙olution de la science, de la technologie et de la philosophie est le catalyseur de ces changements. Une place importante de la recherche dans ce domaine revient au sociologue et philosophe polono-britannique Zygmunt Bauman, qui a analys茅 en d茅tail une soci茅t茅 de plus en plus instable. Le monde hybride et fluctuant sert de point de d茅part aux artistes de Fluid Desires. Les cocktails post-apocalyptiques et autres 艙uvres d鈥檃rt 脿 l鈥檃pparence liquide mettent en lumi猫re les fronti猫res floues entre le naturel et le synth茅tique, le vivant et le non-vivant. Les artistes appr茅hendent le monde 脿 travers le prisme de la mati猫re. Les 艙uvres d’art n’utilisent ni symboles ni m茅taphores, et ne d茅peignent rien ; elles sont, tout simplement. Ces explosions de couleurs, de textures et l鈥檌nstabilit茅 qu鈥檈lles sugg猫rent sont li茅es 脿 l鈥檈sth茅tique. Le concept de contagion est r茅current tout au long de l’exposition. La contagion agit comme marqueur de significations qui se m茅langent, d鈥檌mages qui fusionnent et d鈥檌d茅es qui s鈥檌nfluencent mutuellement. L’exposition prend parfois des allures de science-fiction, car elle se d茅partit des lieux communs et fantasme l’avenir.

[…]

J茅r么me Robbe d茅clare : 芦 La peinture n鈥檃 rien 脿 voir avec le g茅nie, mais plut么t avec les inventions. Le g茅nie consiste 脿 inventer des mat茅riaux et des techniques qui permettent de peindre autrement et mieux. 禄 L鈥檃rtiste consid猫re donc l鈥檋istoire de la peinture comme une succession d鈥檌nventions techniques. Pour poursuivre le d茅veloppement de la peinture et 锚tre un peintre de son temps, il est n茅cessaire de poursuivre les inventions. Les travaux de la s茅rie de L鈥橝ir de Rien, entam茅e vers 2009-2010, par exemple, sont r茅alis茅s sur du plexiglas avec une couche d’argent ou d’or qui affecte la profondeur, la luminosit茅 et la 芦 temp茅rature 禄 de la couleur appliqu茅e. Cette s茅rie ob茅it 脿 l鈥檈sth茅tique de la carrosserie des voitures, des pierres pr茅cieuses et des bijoux, mais aussi des appareils num茅riques.

Dans cette s茅rie comme dans d鈥檃utres, J茅r么me Robbe met en avant l鈥檃spect liquide de la peinture et en fait l鈥檈ssence m锚me de l’艙uvre. Il la laisse couler librement et cr茅e une image 脿 l鈥檌mmense temporalit茅. Les 艙uvres des s茅ries L’Air de Rien et Surfaces sont des 茅vocations d鈥檜n monde fluide. Peinture et support semblent s鈥櫭猼re bri猫vement solidifi茅s avant que la peinture ne continue 脿 d茅gouliner, sinuer et se r茅pandre. Pour J茅r么me Robbe, fluidit茅 est synonyme de libert茅. Il se refuse 脿 contr么ler le processus de cr茅ation et pr茅f猫re laisser les choses suivre leur cours, les laisser d茅river. Il ne r茅alise aucune esquisse. L鈥櫯搖vre na卯t dans l鈥檌ci et maintenant en anticipant les r茅actions de la mati猫re.

Les peintures de la s茅rie L鈥橝ir de Rien r茅sultent d’un processus 茅labor茅 dans lequel la fluidit茅 joue un r么le important. L鈥櫭﹖ape initiale consiste 脿 chauffer le plexiglas 脿 l鈥檃ide d鈥檜n pistolet thermique. Le plexiglas ramollit, se dilate, forme des bulles et des ondulations, et des craquelures apparaissent 脿 la surface. L鈥檃rtiste vaporise ensuite plusieurs litres d’eau sur la feuille de plexiglas pos茅e 脿 plat d鈥檕霉 il se d茅gage de la vapeur qui se met 脿 tourbillonner lentement. Il verse ensuite un vernis transparent, color茅 avec des pigments, et le laisse se frayer un chemin sur la surface d茅form茅e, comme une rivi猫re suit son lit ou une coul茅e de lave se r茅pand sur le flanc du volcan jusqu鈥檃u point o霉 elle se solidifie. La gravit茅 et le hasard font leur travail. En fonction du r茅sultat, il ponce l茅g猫rement certaines parties (par exemple, l脿 o霉 trop de vernis s’accumule) et applique 脿 nouveau un vernis mat ou brillant. En raison de la pr茅sence constante d鈥檜ne ligne horizontale sur le support, les monochromes abstraits peuvent 茅voquer des paysages. L脿 o霉 l鈥檃rtiste repr茅sentait auparavant des paysages, il les laisse aujourd鈥檋ui 茅merger.

Nanda Janssen, 2020

Traduit de l’anglais par Elsa Maggion

J茅r么me Robbe, Surface #5, 2019, Vernis color茅s sur Plexiglas miroir, ch芒ssis aluminium, 100 x 150 cm, picture : J茅r么me Robbe 漏 ADAGP, Paris, 2021

J茅r么me Robbe, Surface #5, 2019, Vernis color茅s sur Plexiglas miroir, ch芒ssis aluminium, 100 x 150 cm, picture : J茅r么me Robbe 漏 ADAGP, Paris, 2021

J茅r么me Robbe
J茅r么me Robbe

Born in Paris in 1981, J茅r么me Robbe lives and works between Paris and the west coast of France. A 2008 graduate of the Villa Arson in Nice, J茅r么me Robbe regularly exhibits in French and international galleries. His work is also presented and collected by art centers such as the Mac/Val in Vitry-sur-Seine or the Nest art center in La Hague, Netherlands. He collaborates internationally with various exhibition curators allowing the circulation of his works from Sydney to London, through Los Angeles and New York. A canvas to immerse oneself in as in a landscape, to survey, to watch in its infinite changes. A painting of possibilities. This is how J茅r么me Robbe’s practice could be defined; to reinvent his medium. Heir to American Abstraction and its vast all-over horizons, but also to German Romanticism and its sense of the sublime, he always juggles with the painting as with a landscape in itself; “I began by painting skies, and little by little I freed myself from this origin, to go towards the sensation, the feeling”. Fascinated by the constant invention of the Renaissance, he continually imagines new tools. Everything in his work participates in this enterprise of deconstructing painting to build surfaces. J茅r么me Robbe has worked a lot with mirror surfaces. What he seeks in each painting is a meaningful and reconciling image. Because the question that the painting of Jerome Robbe poses, beyond a henceforth classic questioning of the means of the painting, is rather that of the place of the observer. Where do we stand when we look at a painting?

https://jeromerobbe.com/

N茅 脿 Paris en 1981, J茅r么me Robbe vit et travaille entre Paris et la c么te Ouest de la France. Dipl么m茅 de la Villa Arson 脿 Nice en 2008, J茅r么me Robbe b茅n茅ficie r茅guli猫rement d鈥檈xpositions au sein de galeries fran莽aises et internationales. Son travail est 茅galement pr茅sent茅 et collectionn茅 par des centres d鈥檃rts tel que la Mac/Val 脿 Vitry-sur-Seine ou le centre d鈥檃rt Nest 脿 La Hague au Pays Bas. Il collabore 脿 l鈥檌nternational avec divers commisssaires d鈥檈xpositions permettant la circulation de ses oeuvres de Sydney 脿 Londres, en passant par Los Angeles et New-York. Une toile o霉 s鈥檌mmerger comme en un paysage, 脿 arpenter, 脿 surveiller dans ses infinis changements. Une peinture des possibles. C鈥檈st un peu de la sorte que pourrait se d茅finir la pratique de J茅r么me Robbe qui n鈥檃 de cesse de r茅inventer son m茅dium. H茅ritier de l鈥檃bstraction am茅ricaine et de ses vastes horizons en all-over, mais aussi du romantisme allemand et de son sentiment de sublime, il jongle toujours avec le tableau comme avec un paysage en soi. 芦 J鈥檃i commenc茅 en peignant des ciels, et peu 脿 peu je me suis d茅gag茅 de cette origine, pour aller vers la sensation, le sentiment 禄. Fascin茅 par l鈥檌nvention constante de la Renaissance, il imagine continuellement de nouveaux outils. Tout participe chez lui 脿 cette entreprise de d茅construction de la peinture pour b芒tir des surfaces. J茅r么me Robbe a beaucoup travaill茅 avec des surfaces miroir. Ce qu鈥檌l cherche dans chaque tableau, c鈥檈st une image signifiante r茅conciliante. Car la question que pose la peinture de J茅r么me Robbe, au del脿 d鈥檜ne d茅sormais classique interrogation des moyens de la peinture, est plut么t celle de la place du regardeur. O霉 se situe-t-on quand on regarde un tableau?

https://jeromerobbe.com/

Nanda Janssen
Nanda Janssen

Being an art historian, Nanda Janssen works as an independent curator and art critic. She is also Councellor of visual arts for the Embassy of the Netherlands in France since 2018. She considers herself as a Dutch liaison in Paris. Since 2007 she has specialized in the Paris and French contemporary art circuit.聽After two residencies of a year at La Cit茅 Internationale des Arts, the last of which ended in 2017, she decided to stay in Paris.聽She publishes amongst others in the Dutch art magazines Museumtijdschrift, Metropolis M, See All This and the Belgian magazine Hart.聽Nanda Janssen curated the exhibitions Fluid Desires (Nest, The Hague, 2020), Eva Nielsen (Selma Feriani Gallery, Tunis, 2017), Bruno Peinado (21rozendaal, Enschede) and Carried-Away - Procession in Art (Museum Arnhem). Furthermore, she proposed the Ceija Stojka exhibition from La Maison Rouge in Paris to the Dutch museum Het Valkhof and subsequently assisted the French curators (2019). In addition, she will be on the committee 鈥榤茅c茅nat鈥 of La Fondation des Artistes (2022-2023). She was one of the jury members of the Royal Award for Dutch Painting (2014-2019), initiated by HM King Willem-Alexander, and committee member visual arts of the Dutch Council for Culture (2015-2017), the legal adviser of the government in the fields of the arts, culture and media.

Historienne de l’art, Nanda Janssen travaille en tant que commissaire d’exposition et critique d’art ind茅pendante. Conseill猫re en arts visuels pour l’ambassade des Pays-Bas en France depuis 2018, elle se consid猫re comme une liaison n茅erlandaise 脿 Paris. Depuis 2007, elle est sp茅cialis茅e dans le circuit de l’art contemporain parisien et fran莽ais. Apr猫s deux r茅sidences d’un an 脿 La Cit茅 Internationale des Arts, dont la derni猫re s’est termin茅e en 2017, elle s’installe 脿 Paris. Elle publie entre autres dans les magazines d’art n茅erlandais Museumtijdschrift, Metropolis M, See All This et le magazine belge Hart. Elle a 茅t茅 commissaire des expositions Fluid Desires (Nest, La Haye, 2020), Eva Nielsen (Galerie Selma Feriani, Tunis, 2017), Bruno Peinado (21rozendaal, Enschede) et Carried-Away - Procession in Art (Museum Arnhem). En outre, elle a propos茅 l’exposition Ceija Stojka de La Maison Rouge 脿 Paris au mus茅e n茅erlandais Het Valkhof et a ensuite assist茅 les commissaires fran莽ais (2019). Elle fera partie du comit茅 “m茅c茅nat” de la Fondation des Artistes (2022-2023). Nanda Janssen a 茅t茅 l’un des membres du jury du Prix royal de la peinture n茅erlandaise (2014-2019), initi茅 par SM le Roi Willem-Alexander, et membre du comit茅 des arts visuels du Conseil n茅erlandais pour la culture (2015-2017), le conseiller juridique du gouvernement dans les domaines des arts, de la culture et des m茅dias.

Artworks by Mimosa Echard flout traditional classifications and reconciles opposing facets. She鈥檚 a rather intuitive artist with a strong sense for materials. Her exciting combinations of materials are thrilling. In addition to the strong material presence, there鈥檚 a strong undercurrent in the artworks. Of sublimation, I you will. The idea of contamination is also present. I often experience a precarious balance between enticing, even erotic, and ugly, repulsive and dismal in her works.

Mimosa Echard, Nanda Janssen