PlaceholderDARD TARE



















… extract from “DARD TARE” 1 by Jérôme Conscience so that a little detour through his art begins, which of words (sooner or later) is never stingy! His work indeed focuses on the theme of language, he explores its limiting moments, when there is multiplication, confusion or even loss of meaning. “To show what is said without being said when we speak”, to put people in front of what they are ”, to signify the libido since it constitutes“ the essence of language ”such are the objectives through this process of which it evokes the “political aspect”, the fact of attacking the rules of language inducing a questioning of social rules2.


The words, solitary or grouped together in a sentence, are painted with a stencil, sometimes screen-printed, on different types of rectangular supports (white canvas, black sheet metal, purple, colorless wood, black …) according to a single font, clear and refined, the Futura. They occupy the center of their monochrome support, surrounded by a virginal space which affirms their presence while emphasizing a withdrawal from the surrounding space (wall, floor, ceiling …). Presented alone or associated either with photographs of female nudes or with installations, they constitute the title of the work. Whatever technique is used, the artist’s gesture (direct intervention in the paintings, absence of intervention in the serigraphs) remains imperceptible, the intimate is presented in an impersonal manner.
The visual precision of the utterance leads us astray, it announces that of the meaning which is nevertheless constantly absent. While retaining its sonic essence intrinsically linked to the readability but also to the musicality of words, language has transformed, it has acquired a visual existence that allows it to explore new avenues. He can now free himself from the rules that limited him to the primary function, namely the vocal communication of thought – subject to the objective of understanding but also to social conventions – between several interlocutors, to devote himself to expression. words that are borderline or even banned from “classic” language: intimacy, libido (indecent senses ?!), multiplied meaning and nonsense. Now accessible to the eye, it can gain in complexity. On this subject, let us reread a passage from Alice in Wonderland, when the Duchess said to Alice: “Do not imagine yourself being different from what others might have seemed to you or could have been by remaining identical to this. that you were without ever appearing other than you were before you became what you are ”. Alice replies: “I think (…) that I would understand this better if I saw it written in black and white; but I’m afraid I couldn’t quite follow you while you were saying so “3. The more complex the subject, the more it requires understanding by sequences, which is permitted by reading (possibility of rereading), unlike hearing, which remains punctual and immediate.


The enrichment and / or disruption of meaning in the work of Jérôme Conscience is based on visual and sound tricks which superimpose one or more new meanings on the developed word (s): groupings of letters s’ operate through spacing and / or color schemes (“CHAT LURRE”, “NENUPHARE”), a letter or the sequence of homophone words (“LNU”), a single, inaudible letter is added to the end of the word (“SHE HAS A JOLIE PETIT CHAT”) creating a new entity, the “visual slip”, …


As we have previously pointed out, these words are sometimes associated with images (photographs of female nudes) or objects (installations). Let’s look at the relationship between these two components.
When they are juxtaposed with photographs of female nudes, the words are presented on a medium identical to the latter (material, color, format) placed according to the same reading level. There is no notion of subordination here, the photo does not illustrate the words, just as the words do not comment on the photo, they complement each other: the erotic or scabrous scope of the words and the image is reinforced or even granted by their confrontation (e.g. .: “SHE LOVES LANGUAGES” / female nude photo). The rhythm of their presentation (a grouping of words or letters, a spacing, a photo), their similarity (identical medium, identical location on the medium -in the center-, delimitation of the words by the body of the letters / delimitation of the photo by the female body) but also their contextual complementarity eventually identify them with a succession of signs, letters or figures, which would make up a single sentence organized in several proportions (in the grammatical sense of the term). The readability of this sentence would mobilize two modes of reading usually dichotomous, the “successive” one of language and the “simultaneous” one of the image thus evoked by Jorge Luis Borges in The Aleph: “what my eyes saw was simultaneous: what I will transcribe, successively, because that is how language is ”4. The blurring of meaning would result from the discomfort generated by the coexistence of these two modes of reading.
In the installations, the canvas on which the word (s) rests is placed at the heart of the work (eg: in “CORSAGE”, it is placed on the bed with burgundy and ivory satin sheets that make up the installation), it is therefore directly confronted with reality in three dimensions. We find the complementarity between the elements of language and the other components of the work (object) but this time, the former are superimposed, integrated with the latter and not juxtaposed. The spacing that existed between the groupings of words (or letters) and the photos in the previous works disappears, the words on a flat canvas are as if “absorbed” by the three-dimensional deployment of the installation. The “successive” character of language is destabilized, it approaches the “simultaneity” of the image. As in previous works, it is not directly the language that is clouded but its perception by brushing against another type of visual information. Jérôme Conscience never stops blurring the tracks of language, the verb, freed from the conventional understandable, becomes volatile, it escapes, frees itself, gains the essence … and continues this moment, when the imprecision contains the whole thing: “to postpone the meaning, to delay it as long as possible because the meaning is there, the trouble begins, isn’t it!” 5.

Cécile Desbaudard 2006
(1): Jérôme Conscience, extraits de “DARD TARE”, écrit au printemps 1998, réalisé en Futura Light, imprimé par P. Voisin en avril 2001, édité à 21 exemplaires.
(2): Jérôme Conscience, propos recueillis par Cécile Desbaudard lors d’un entretien réalisé le 13 décembre 2005.
(3): Lewis Carroll, Tout Alice, 1979, GF Flammarion, Paris, p. 169.
(4): Jorge Luis Borges, L’Aleph, 2005, L’Imaginaire Gallimard, Paris, p. 207.
(5): Jean Le Gac, La Boîte de couleurs, 1995, FRAC de Picardie, Amiens, p. 8.