Press: Jakarta Globe (anglais)

4 January 2012

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Jakarta Globe, Wednesday, January 4, 2012.

Through pain­ting, one French artist has
dis­co­ve­red a window into Balinese life

Report Katrin Figge

Rhapsody For the Otherness

Born in a pro­vin­cial vil­lage near Orleans in 1969, Bali-based French artist Jean-Philippe Haure never ima­gi­ned that some­day he would ven­ture to a foreign coun­try and wind up staying there for more than two deca­des. But life takes unex­pec­ted turns, and Haure, whose pain­tings are cur­rently exhi­bi­ted at One East Arts pace in Singapore, has put down roots in Bali. In fact, he feels so much at home in the tro­pi­cal para­dise that he insis­ted on ans­we­ring ques­tions in Indonesian for this inter­view. "It is easier for me," Haure said, "Indonesian has been my eve­ry­day lan­guage for 20 years now."

As a tee­na­ger, Haure was admit­ted to the renow­ned Ecole Boulle, an art school in Paris. "At the age of 15, I began a new life in Paris, far away from my vil­lage", he recal­led. "In Paris, I missed my home and my friends, but I recei­ved the edu­ca­tion that I needed." Upon gra­dua­ting five years later, Haure deci­ded to drop art and joined the monas­tery of St. Benoit sur Loire. "In 1991, the head of the monas­tery deci­ded that ins­tead of mili­tary ser­vice, at that time still com­pul­sory in France, I would be sent to Bali to help build a craft school in Gianyar," Haure said.

"After three years of wor­king with the school, the prin­ci­pal was relo­ca­ted to Cambodia and I deci­ded to conti­nue deve­lo­ping the school, tur­ning it into a small ver­sion of the ’Ecole Boulle.’" Simultaneously, Haure began to focus again on his own artis­tic oeuvre and qui­ckly was invi­ted to par­ti­ci­pate in art exhi­bi­tions, where he recei­ved posi­tive res­pon­ses. His pain­tings, many of which depict the figu­res of Balinese women, radiate tran­qui­lity and a cer­tain gent­le­ness. Combining beauty and spi­ri­tua­lity, they are simul­ta­neously figu­ra­tion and abs­trac­tion. "Here is an artist who is obviously not inte­res­ted in formal consi­de­ra­tions ... but by an endea­vor, one should almost say an urge, to express what is to him the pris­tine and the pure, which he finds best embo­died in Bali, and in the Balinese woman," French writer and art critic Jean Couteau, also based in Bali, writes in the exhi­bi­tion’s cata­log. This is "not because they are icons, but because both are to him the best avai­la­ble mani­fes­ta­tion of this ideal, in their natu­ral ges­tu­res and femi­nine sim­pli­city."

If Haure "had been born in 15th cen­tury Italy," Couteau wrote, "he would pro­ba­bly have pain­ted Madonnas and Tuscan land­sca­pes, the ideals of pain­ting of that time." Haure said that, by pain­ting actual human beings, he found it easier adapt to Bali and his new sur­roun­dings. His art helped him unders­tand the locals better. ’’I always want to find out who the person in front of me is," he said.

Jean-Philippe Haure, Ball-based artist However, it is not only the mere pain­ting that cat­ches the eye when it comes to Haure’s art­works; the beau­ti­ful frames are just as stri­king. Haure said that for years, he would buy ordi­nary frames for his pain­tings, and that even though he always tried to choose ones that com­pli­men­ted his art­work, he always felt there was some­thing mis­sing. That’s why he deci­ded to simply make the frames him­self. "Three years ago, I made a frame fol­lo­wing a dif­fe­rent idea and concept," Haure said, adding that the posi­tive res­ponse by those who saw the frame in his studio convin­ced him to create a
whole col­lec­tion of pain­tings ador­ned by his own frames.

’’For two and a half years, I worked on all the frames in the after­noon, while in the mor­nings I conti­nued to paint as usual," he conti­nued. Haure’s frames all fea­ture floral pat­terns. Completing one frame, inclu­ding the car­ving and guil­ding, can take up to one and a half months. The time and effort inves­ted in his pain­tings, the pains­ta­king work on every detail of the frames, as well as the unique jour­ney that took Haure to Bali, make the Frenchman stand out from other Western pain­ters who indulge in the island’s exo­ti­cism.
And that is, accor­ding to Couteau, one of his most impor­tant and endu­ring strengths.

  J-Philippe, Bali Press review Press: Jakarta (...)

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