Open Window on the Possible


Open Window on the Possible directly refers to the positive and dynamic theories that include the new and fundamental "existence precedes essence" approach of existentialism, developed by Jean-Paul Sartre and seen as a complex effort of the mind, body and spirit required to achieve a day-to-day sensation of happiness. This is a crucially important prerogative that the French writer and philosopher comprehended when stating that "indeed, we are a freedom which chooses, but we do not choose to be free; we are condemned to be free. »

In opposition with the generalized thought on Jean-Paul Sartre, who is perceived as negative and sad, I consider him as endowed with a great sense of humor and thinks that his approach is optimistic, since it allows a person to choose how to act and what life to head to.

Organized around a motif of used and decayed protection boards for construction sites, this work sets up a constellation of references: from the history of wall painting, to the skin as vector of sensations and the concept of self-construction. It engages the audience in dialogue about their perception of life. Using a variety of techniques, from acrylic airbrush/spray paint, to collage and ceramics, I explore the process of achieving eudaimonia (Greek word for "happiness", or "human flourishing"). Through process, scale, composition, and imagery, my pictorial work accentuates the tensions and contradictions between the act of painting and the construction of a picture. I could describe my paintings as vague souvenir images.

The paintings, collages and wall installations contain hallucinogenic and elusive visions, hinting at images, which never quite come into focus. Those paintings translate the construction of a picture, its physical attributes, the visual experience of looking at it and the possibilities of playing with and pushing open the origins of its meanings into a kind of architectural and painterly transcendence. The trajectory of this work is at once historically reflexive, very much of its own moment, and keenly self-critical. It is subject to the intertextual meeting of various discourses where I conceives the experience of life and art as a whole, multiple, deliberate, absolute, and energetic.

It translates into a complex creative universe where individual psychology, desire, health, beauty and everything surrounding one's search for happiness, blends with an intense consideration of the very present moment, from the rejection of worries to the great feeling of existence and of being there.

Although my work emerges from a deep and complex vision of humanism inspired by Aristotle's eudaimonia and Sartre's Existentialism among others, it is integrated so that its form and content are closely connecting mind, body and spirit, and therefore directly accessible. And rather than simply manifesting in my work these philosophical inputs, and being subject to their ideologies, my art is about them. Both descriptive and separate from these dynamics, my art aims to provide prospective experimentation on them rather than being co-opted by them. This capacity of my art to be about ideology rather than becoming one of its subjects, pushes the viewer to see and perceive the one from which it is born and presupposes a retreat, an internal distanciation from the very ideology from which it emerged.

Inflected by both post-humanist and post-sartrian views of the world, my art intends to occupy an important position in term of its inauguration of dramatically new situations for rethinking the conscience of being.

Stéphane Ducret
Geneva, 28.02.2016