Jean-François Lacalmontie — Signes des Choses


Collage, drawing, painting, mixed media

Jean-François Lacalmontie
Signes des Choses

In 6 days: April 27 → June 1, 2024

Dutko Gallery is pleased to present Signes des Choses, a solo exhibition by French artist Jean-François Lacalmontie. Following presentations organized by the Centre d’Art Contemporain de la Matmut in 2018, and at Galerie Baronian in Brussels in 2022 and 2023, this will be the artist’s first solo show in several years in Paris. An opportunity to discover a protean body of work, ranging from drawings to paintings and assemblages, through a selection of recent works.

Since the late 70s, Jean-François Lacalmontie has pursued a body of work that eludes most traditional classifications. Initially, his work consisted of compulsively filling the pages of countless notebooks with thousands of doodles every day. Sometimes evoking a kind of ideogram, never entirely abstract, but never entirely figurative, these forms, these “things”, these “objects” as he calls them, feed a repertoire of shapes constituting his fundamental formal alphabet. Akin to a kind of writing without rational control, this process of distancing allows an essentialization of the graphic gesture, whose obsessive emergences question the conditions of appearance of form.

Then came the time for painting. From the thousands of motifs revealed in his notebooks, Lacalmontie selects those that will form the subjects of his canvases. He cuts them out, copies them onto transparent film and video-projects them so as to work on them enlarged on canvas. Drawn in charcoal, in intense black, these forms are charged with great subtlety. Sensual and fragile, they are part of the profound elegance emanating from this work, which curator Olivier Kaeppelin, an attentive and precise observer, has long identified.

Lacalmontie’s forms emerge on extremely elaborate backgrounds, painting spaces, most often on canvases of various formats, small, medium and large. Sometimes these workspaces are transferred directly onto the wall or into large tapestries of drawings, on which are hung a few paintings themselves loaded with drawings or incongruous motifs, such as origami, monochromes or palette fragments, thereby aiming for the impossible rationalization of representation.

What is a painting, what is its status, how to paint it, how to look at it? Jean-François Lacalmontie’s works have no narrative intent, no answers. A game with himself and with the viewer? But the plastically balanced worlds he offers us, where nothing is regulated, invite us to question both classical and contemporary conceptions of the unthinking language of painting. This is a paradoxical, irrational work, primitive in certain respects, escaping the passage of time. With the example of free jazz, it’s not the yesterday or the instant but the continuation.

  • Signes des Choses Opening Saturday, April 27 2 PM → 7 PM
04 Beaubourg Zoom in 04 Beaubourg Zoom out

4 rue de Bretonvilliers

75004 Paris

T. 01 56 24 04 20

Pont Marie
Sully – Morland

Opening hours

Thursday – Saturday, 2:30 PM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

The artist

  • Jean François Lacalmontie