From 24 November 2006 to 04 February 2007
The aim of this first retrospective of the cherries of de Jacques Halbert is to make the continuity of this work understandable. From his first canvas in 1975 to his new creations of monumental size, this exhibition is an update for the infinite variations which are expressed in these tireless repetitions. Above and beyond the truly pictorial qualities and preoccupations of Jacques Halbert’s work, here he is questioning the subject’s astonish resistance to being exhausted, as if every cherry placed on the canvas renewed the very essence of the desire to paint by its very succulence.
First appearing in the 1970s, the cherry was a provocative reaction to the ‘Support/Surface’ movement which the artist, at this time still a student, found terribly austere. The incongruous, almost carnal interruption of the fruit on blue canvasses are a sign of his re-appropriation of his artistic practice deep down in his own personality, that of an epicurean artist, and a worthy successor to the exuberance of dada. The cherry rapidly led him into the arena of performance, performances which makes up a major element of his artistic practice: the artist gained a reputation by arriving at Parisian openings on his three wheeler bike selling cakes and cherry paintings.
Jacques Halbert’s art is fed on every level by the great history of painting. His ‘Cherryist’ work find themselves in an astonishing way at the confluence of two divergent mind sets of avant-gardists who since the 1970s have redefined the artist landscape. In certain ways, his work recalls certain radical movements which took painting to the furthest extremes, such as BMPT with Daniel Buren and Niele Toroni. By choosing cherries, Jacques Halbert has short-circuited this radical tendency by involving humour and a kind of pop vitality, lending them a kinship with the spirit of Fluxus and all those artistic attempts aiming to link together art and life.