When the written turns into a screen

Publié par Gérard Adde.

Gérard Adde's work at the time of an endless flow of words and images.
"The artist can choose a thing, whether made mechanically or by hand and make it his." 1

My work starts with a raw material which is an extract from a novel by Jules Verne 2.
It is an unreadable text, an enigma which I see as a form :


« Phyjslyddqfdzxgasgzzqqehxgkfndrxujugiocytdxvksbxhhuypohdvyrymhuhpuydkjoxphéto



dpzjqsykrplxhxqrymvklohhhotozvdksppsuvjh.d. »

According to the themes I want to treat and the meaning I want to produce, I decide upon the modifications I want to produce.
I circle some parts (La limitation), cut/paste/superimpose (Les paradis), erase some letters (La disparition), crumple it (Le banquet), reverse it (L'air des bijoux) ... 3

" As an evocation of a kind of non figurative literary art " 4, this alignment of 280 typed signs stands out by the absence of word-shaping intervals. In a modern sense, it refers to any of these little electronic messages which saturate our media space and have replaced the ancient doodles on little pieces of paper. " With a heavy technical constraint: the text message cannot contain more than 160 signs, therefore, the language is compressed, twisted, maltreated ". 5

As far as writing is concerned, thie typescript practice has widely taken over the use of the hand.
My work illustrates this drastic change, mainly by trivializing the saturation of the written volume in what could be called the "cryptographic locked down".
Here, the air between the words, between the letters, is kind of compressed, when it has not vanished. In a multimedia sense, my work creates, sometimes on the same support, some sorts of meetings, texts, images (fixed or animated), sounds, all based on the technic of screen-printing (my favorite medium). I also use painting, drawing, sculpture... I get my inspiration from multiple cultural sources, the titles of my productions are hints to a certain painting, a short story, a novel, an opera song.

I use appropriation, quotation, copy, interposition, reference, repetition, speed, and I inter-cross them in order to put them in service of a tactic of inveighing both words and things questioning our own reality. Paradoxically, just as an invisible text, my step evokes at the same time zapping and a terrestrial existence devoted to the appreciation and the production of an esthetic object.

Our numerical "multimedia" era provides more and more things to see (at an incredible speed). As a consequence, it accentuates the gap between the readable and the visible. 
The language seems more and more abstract. The daily use of a smartphone, for example, reduces to a click the intervention of the human hand. We can " emoticon ", " like ", buy, consume... With a single motion, we can express what before, needed to press a couple of keys, not to talk about ink on paper. Nowadays, the mobile is, first of all, a very personal mirror which can be taken as the reflexion of our intimacy, our network, our identity. The XXI century Narcissus drowns himself in numeric self portraits, selfies, and he depends on the reaction of a community of friends more or less real or true. The planetary flow of information, whether it be in the collective or in the intimate sphere, gives the illusion of an endless and generous present (but the distance between them both is so reduced that it merges to erase their own borders). Nevertheless, the " horizons of expectations " offered by the neoliberal globalization lack some kind of perspective. As a result, we, human beings, are still longing for the indispensable keys of knowledge and experience given by life. In this landscape, words are more than a source of information;  they are links, they renew what is stretched, they tighten a relationship, they imply attention and presence. They fill in the gap caused by a loss, a disappearance, by a silence. 

As for the pictograms, it belongs to the art of secret, it gives an unintelligible message, it hides its meaning and protects it like a treasure. It does not surrender straight away, it broaches the speculation, the thought; but it willingly unveils to he who seeks its meaning.

In a nutshell, I think that, in any case and to different degrees, the writing is composed of what is hiding, it plays hide and seek, it is a key at the service of the imaginary, just as it implies an indispensable exchange between oneself and the other. The written word, just as the words exchanged in confidence, with kindness , with benevolence, provides some air. There is a dynamic, a vital energy, a breath in any language.

This Summer exhibition in my workshop-gallery is simply called "air". It mixes the categories and the senses; it plays with the codes and re-appropriates them by moving them, setting them off, superimposing them, juxtaposing them, making them dance on the space provided by the paper, the canvas... Air questions about the freedom of the language of art, the freedom of all the languages at a time when the continuous flow of communication in which the word and its semantics seem to empty themselves. It talks about the essence of the shapes beyond the appearances.

Gérard Adde and Chrystelle Desbordes, Agde, July 2020

Translation : Danielle Bousquet

1 Marcel Duchamp, in an interview  with Georges Charbonnier, INA, December 6th 1960

2 Jules Verne : La Jangada, a novel subtitled " 800 lieues sur l'Amazone ", Hetzel, 1881

3 For more details, see my text titled "Series", gerard-adde.com

4 Etienne Souriau : "aesthetic and cryptography" ! Revue d'Esthétique, a. VI, n*1, Jan-March 1953

5 " Can you speak text-message " SUD OUEST " Saturday November 15th 2003

6 " in an electronic message, typographical representation (by a mix of characters) or graphic (fixed or animated image), representing an emotion.

The most well-known emoticon is the one which symbolizes a smile " Larousse dictionary (https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/français/%A9motic%C3%B4ne/188104), 2020

7 Alban Gonord, Joëlle Menrath, Mobile attitude, Hachette Litterature, 2005

8 My workshop is one of the " Ateliers de la Perle Noire ", attributed by the Communauté d'Agglomération Hérault-Méditerranée

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