STATE OF THINGS (ETAT DES LIEUX)
I decided to show the work of Jean-François Luthy at ANDATA/RITORNO mainly because I like the very unfettered position he occupies within the field of contemporary art. At a time when computer-generated and video images are enjoying top favour in art schools and galleries, it seems to me that the use of a modest and academic medium such as Indian ink could be a tool set aside from modernity, when modernity is a constant preoccupation.
My subjective view of the works of Jean-François Luthy reveals an obsession with desert spaces, or rather with deserted spaces, somewhere that is nearly nowhere, some kind of No Man’s Land. Here is a space where Nature reserves her rights in spite of the passage of the industrial era, where the signs of human presence either indicate some kind of survival (in a cabin or on a raft for example) or merely show vestiges of modern comfort (dilapidated garden furniture, old ironwork). But these deserted places hide a silent presence; they are perhaps inhabited by something beyond the appearance of understanding. One could almost describe them as places possessed, just as one can speak of people possessed. The essence seems located somewhere beyond the subject matter itself observed on a theme by the artist, in the work of a watcher at his post.
The purpose of these inks would therefore be to make an order of the common places or rather to make a disorder of them (in the sense in which Roland Barthe speaks of the violent stereotype, the violence that »goes without saying».) The works of Jean-François Luthy are located somewhere between drawing and painting, between light and shade. His inks remind one of the drawings of an explorer, but where the notion of time as well as the notion of territory are key elements. His angles and points of observation are another way of mapping the banality of our existence, the better to show us the way through.
Joseph Farine, Genève, printemps 2000