Press: The Jakarta Globe

27 February 2009

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Jakarta Globe, February 27, 2009

Finding Truth in Life’s Performances

Benito Lapulalan, The Jakarta Globe, Jakarta

[Duality VI, pri­vate col­lec­tion ]

A girl in a tra­di­tional Balinese dance outfit stares long­ingly at some­thing in the dis­tance. Around her, a cloud of red and yellow looks as if it has exploded all over the canvas. The colors remind me of a nebula, far away on the edge of a galaxy.

The painting is “Du­ality IX,” cre­ated by French artist Jean-Philippe Haure in 2008, using gouache, a type of water-based paint, mixed media and gold leaf, all on paper laid upon canvas.
“She is a 12-year-old girl,” the painter said of the dancer who per­formed at the 2007 Bali Arts Festival. “She is ner­vous waiting for her turn to dance.”

The girl’s family and friends had always told her she was a good dancer, but just before her first per­for­mance, she started to feel ner­vous.
“Once the gamelan music started to play, and she made the first move­ment of the dance, she entered another gate; she became some­thing else,” J-PHILIPPE said.

His cur­rent exhi­bi­tion, “Du­ality,” at d Gallerie, shows J-PHILIPPE’s apti­tude at a range of tech­niques in abstract and realist painting, and also gives an insight into how he per­ceives reality.
Most of the paint­ings are of women dancers waiting to per­form.
“We are all dancers, dancing our respec­tive dances,” he said, “and there are moments when we have no other choice but to wait to per­form, wait for the music to play. In such a moment, we are in tran­si­tion.”
He paints about a number of tran­si­tions people make in their daily lives, through the metaphor of the Balinese dancers.

Before moving to Ubud, J-PHILIPPE lived with a com­mu­nity of dancers for years at Puri Abianbase, Gianyar in Bali, where he wit­nessed the cycle of tran­si­tion with his own eyes. There are days when a dancer is a mother in the morning, a con­struc­tion worker in the after­noon and a princess in a night per­for­mance.

He records the struggle of these women dancers in his paint­ings. In “Du­ality XV” (2008) J-PHILIPPE depicts a group of women working as con­struc­tion workers, some with shovels in their hands. One woman is ready to place a bucket of sand on her head, while car­rying her child on her hip.
“I see reality in rural Bali, and I am touched by it,” he said.

Unlike most realist painters, J-PHILIPPE’s approach to the human figure is dif­ferent. Although his depic­tions of the dancers are real­istic — his fig­ures are derived from pho­tographs — his sub­jects are mainly just out­lined. The pres­ence of the nebula-like clouds are as strong as the fig­ures, as if saying that humans are not the center of the uni­verse.
“There is some­thing else beyond our reality,” he said.

Here, the painter exposes his sense of spir­i­tu­ality. “We have to be able to see reality from a dis­tance, beyond the com­plexity of our roles or our choices.”
He starts a painting by putting water on paper and adding pig­ments to the water, then directs the water to var­ious points on the paper, cre­ating an abstract for­ma­tion of colors and shapes, even­tu­ally cre­ating the nebula-like cloud.

After that, he “con­sults” the nebula for­ma­tion, allowing it to dic­tate where the painting goes. He tries to attach a reality to the abstract cloud.
This “con­sul­ta­tion” tech­nique is used by tra­di­tional Balinese master carvers, such as I Ketut Muja, Ida Bagus Tilem and Ida Bagus Nyana, when they find old pieces of wood or roots in their nat­ural form.

Using this par­tic­u­larly Eastern cre­ative pro­cess, J-PHILIPPE, like his sub­jects, is also in tran­si­tion on his artistic journey: He is some­where between the East and West. Perhaps he is waiting for a new style of music for him to con­tinue his dance.

  J-Philippe, Bali Press review Press: The Jakarta

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