I consider myself as a grossiste en art ,
a mixing artist and I use a wide variety of
techniques. I live and work in France but I first published a book
entitled Mixage Epidemic in the United States. That book
dealt with the concept of mixage with 50-four color copies
of photos of performances in 1979. Its preface, published by Wesport
Books in New York, was written by Pierre Restany and the American
art critic Peter Frank. It is now out of print but a few copies might
still found in New York city.
make video intallations. I organised a video choir with the inhabitants
of my village : the piece is often displayed in museums and art centers.
I run a sound magazine : Fractal Musik on CDs. I have already released
2 CDs which an compilation of artistsmusic pieces,(Satie-Tati-Kaki
& Opérette dartistes. Since oct. 1996 I have
masterminded a café littéraire HIATUS (in the
FRAC Basse-Normandie in Caen). I feel it necessary to organise such events
as a means of enriching my own work. I do not mean to level things down,
each technique is considered as a technique in its own right but I am
strongly against comportementalization. For instance, my job as a lecturer
in the Fine Arts School is part and parcel of my work. To me, art is above
all an attitude, that is why I like Joseph Beuyss conception of
expanded art. I particularly appreciate Raymond Hains and Robert Fillious
attitude with the principle of equivalence, the eternal network and his
notion of permanent creation. I also like Marcel Broodthaerss work.
In art history, I like artists who generate a concept of total art
work and I am keen on artists who devote themselves to various activities,
creating venues, magazines, organizing collective shows, making books
and films and records questionning generosity, humour, subversion, transgression.
I feel close to all the poets, fine artists, visual artists, philosophers
I frantically engage in such interdisciplinary activity. I am somewhat annoyed by people who are with drawn into themselves and who travel only in introspection and are unwilling to exchange or transmit anything to anyone. What I want is a relationship with the world that would be monstrously scattered and pulverized. That mixed bulimic and chaotic nature annoys quite a few people but I do not wish to submit myself to the current audience or to eam favours. I want to resist any correct and elegant levelling out. I put forward mixing, saturation, excess and rhyzomic maximale. Talking of Rhyzome by Deleuze and Felix Guattari, I was lucky enough to do a performance with Felix Guattari at Le Café de la Danse in Paris in 1986. (It is the only performance Felix Guattari ever took part in.)
I started working in this way in the late sixties, as a reaction against the prevailing spirit of the time anf felt stimulated by W.S. Burroughs, Fluxus, the Rock Attitude of Wharhols Factory as well as some aspects of Pop Art, Allan Kaprow and conceptual theories. By mixing all these heterogenous sources in some kind of provocative disorder, I tumed towards a hybrid mixing while putting forward dispersion as well as extreme polyvalence with a taste for parody or any form of gap and derision. From 1969 onwards, I have created the first signs of epidemic writing which have invaded all types of mediums : landscape, object, human body, diverse sites etc... I have done numerous performances while devoting myself to writing, painting, music and sculpture. In 1995 I participed in the exhibition Hors Limites in Beaubourg with artists I really like such as Mike Kelley, Chris Burden, Bruce Nauman, Franz West etc...I am represented by the Galerie du Jour Agnès b. in Paris. I work mainly on attitude and energy. Sense and the senses are central to my concerns, more so than formalized structures. I object to such formalism. My experiments entail unforeseen forms, often unstable according to unexpected, undefined an unspecifed yet not risky trajectories.
This uncertainly worries me and makes me feel dizzy. For many years I have set myself to run the risk of this fluctuating, unformal, specular and exponential rhyzomie. My activities are all rhyzomiques, they are interrelated, they feed on each other, thats what makes me feel able to write poetry or fiction and also sing and compose music, shoot, paint, do performances or even work on scenography, space, sculpture, dance or else arrange, organize events... I have no sense of hierarchy or medium, no technique I wish either to sublimate or reject. It is only a matter of choice of context and time schedule. I do not think being perfect but being self-demanding is what really matters. Such a shade of meaning may reveal the reasons of my commitment. For someone with such a frame of mind, the concept of intermedia is central and I can resort to dilated and split postures as anachronistic or even paradoxical expansions. My concerns are all connected with the concept of epidemics and mixing as a process of proliferation and exchange and even a conductor of reversibility.
I have been working on that concept of Epidemik-Mixage since 1970. In 1972 I organized a Mixage festival in Honfleur, Normandy. I aimed at a provocative mixage. I blended and faced live both the army, contemporary art, science, music, sports, etc... I had invided 350 people from all walks of life, however incompatible they might be. It was a way of reacting against Pop Music Festivals of those days, which were so conventional. Epidemics logics is fundamentally opposed to jealous defence of a territory one would like to purify and protect from any foreign body. Conversely, epidemic flux is porosity, nothing has to be water tight, it is a dispersive practice and theory, a chaotic practice for a hybrid culture commited against any cultural fundamentalism, any intolerant ideology, any fanaticism, any diktat. I have always used diverse styles so as to cloud the issue and I do not believe in destination nor in directionality. I do not have any specific style but I appropriate styles in order to disturbe their reading. It is like some kind of matter. I want to manipulate, to knead, I often work in so an sos fashion. Style is like a caricature. To me it is so superficial and outdated that I have no respect for such formal trick. I am concerned by depth and invisible layers. Far from being apparent layers, they are concealed layers which bring about incidence in the long run. I want to have a hand at improbable mutations, risk dispersion and hybridity, be the catalyst of some kind of poetics of irrigation and contamination so as to interpenetrate reality and fiction according to a many-shaped plan of action. My work partakes of the ambiguity of uncertain motion and simultaneous unexpected landslide. I see things from several points of view at the same time, Octopus and Shiva, I look for multiple directions and their variability. I am in favour of multiplicity and contignity. I advocate the aesthetics of a one-man show so as to propose a grafted, expansive and contaminating universe. All my temporary constructions come from this crossbred telescoping.
As my work is mixed, so my slides are not very typical and are likely to inform you only partially. I experiment relation as thought, I consider iti as a means to question social and contextual space by mixing planned and chancy situations till I risk failing. My processes are complex. I often have an parodical attitude so as to confuse the reading of my works and so as not to take myself too seriously. I like this apparent chaos, this misleading dispersion which scares shivery people looking for security and confort. Conversely, I think endangering oneself is necessary to have a good relationship with the world. In 1995 I built a big interactive installation, a kind of factory producing unlmimited circulation with interchangeable combinations which I called the BO-Ü interchange/changer.
It was designed like a prepared structure, open to other artists, it advocated passage and porosity as a space where desire may circulate, upset, contradict, reveal, exchange etc... The BO-Ü was open to all processes of integration, it put forward the risk of accidental alterations and the upsetting of its own ecosystem. Within the framework of my activities as a visual artist, a performer, a musician, a poet, a publisher, in the late seventies, I created an alternative space which I called International Mixage and which I ran for 7 years. Today I run a café littéraire which is named Hiatus and which I claim is a work of art in its own right.
At the moment, I am doing my best to work in a radical fashion, by achieving interactive installations and devices concerning my lastest works on color which I call CLOM (Contre lOrdre Moral : Against Moral Order). My work mainly consists in finding efficient means of adressing people who are not interested in art. I resort to all possible means to inform them whether through traditional media : local, radio, TV, newspapers, but also posters, flyers, tracts, sandwich-men, door to door meetings, and talking to people in bars or in the street. I ask people to bring elements which will make up the assemblage, I also invite people to join me on the day of opening, dressed in an imposed color so that they might be integrated in my work. Thus, my palette and my tools are supplied by a potential and approximate audience, I am taking all the risks (for nothing is certain beforehand).
The energy such a process requires is the basis of my work. This invisible part injects an density which is conveyed in the installation by some tension that can only b felt. With the collected objects (which people have willingly brought) I can build the color site which is filmed and photographed. Viewers can behold the color-site but what matters is that people may actually feel things. (You will find attached the manifesto concerning the CLOM works on color.) The piece The Red Square in Deauville can be taken as an example it could be achieved thanks to the people who had been well informed by the messages I had sent them. I had asked them to join me on the main square in Deauville, Normandy, so that they might form a huge red pool (I had asked them to dress in red) Then my work could be achieved in like some staging. It was somewhat like a concrete painting in which I blend three essential elements of twentieth-century art, that is, the ready-made, the monochrome and gesture, with a critical and parodic point of view. By making live installations with one color objects assembled and brought by the viewers, I mix and revive the history of the century by operating a post-moderm landslide which I call Peste-Moderne (Peste meaning Plague in French).
Joël HUBAUT. 1997