Jérôme Conscience. Neither artist, nor specialist in words, nor esthete (though), it is very difficult for me to talk about Jérôme Conscience and his work. I am not competent in the matter. I don’t have this science. Of course, I could have copied the many texts already written which attempt to define the character and his art; I could have also made more or less brilliant puns on his name (I’m well aware that has already been done).
One day I walked into his home.
First there is the white, after the dark courtyard. He pushes the door open and I enter a large room with colorless walls. It’s silence. There is a fireplace, a remarkable bed (does he usually sleep there?), And immediately silence is silent: the words are read on the white walls. Many pieces are hung there: surprising canvases that speak. I felt an attraction then. I had plenty of time, and yet I wanted to hear it all at once. With my eyes wide open, I listen to what Jérôme has written.
There are letters, words, sentences and I understand what they are playing. Sometimes it’s a little daring – sometimes too much. It’s funny, it’s subtle, it’s simple in form, not always in substance. I come in and I have no choice: as if stunned by a thousand voices, I have to read everything, see everything. Jérôme offers me a coffee. I accept, although I have better to savor.
There are then two Jerome: those who speak. The one who talks around his coffee, and the one who has spoken and still talks on the canvas. The question is whether this one would have dared to say what that one wrote. Because his art is language. Speaking on the canvases he says to us what he probably wouldn’t dare to pronounce in our ears.
There is the shy Jérôme and there is the Jérôme who dares, funny, subtle, simple in form, rarely in substance. Actually, I know it’s the same Jerome. He has only one thought but two ways of making it heard in the world.
Of course, he does this for fun, for a living … but it’s also I think the best expression he has found. The words he delivers on these canvases deliver him from his ailments.
We drink coffee. Not terrible (yet there is Wedding tea in the cupboard. Master Conscience tastes good!). I go out into the black rain hearing his words still echo. Verba flying, Scripta manent.
Romain Cardus 2007