Jean-François Dubreuil

Press revue

Past exhibitionFrom 14 January to 6 March 2010

Since the mid 1970s Jean-François Dubreuil’s work has been based on a system devised once and for all: his paintings would thereafter constitute a transcription of news publications.
Starting from this principle, all his works transcribe onto canvas the various surface areas of printed news media, namely local, national and foreign newspapers (handled from the standpoint of either the front page or the entire issue) and news magazines (handled in their entirety).
The logic of serial art prevails here even though a given “series” contains only one item. Examples include: the transcription of all French national newspapers on a given day; or a given publication over several consecutive days; or a given publication handled several times according to different criteria or different patterns of layout.
The scale and arrangement of pages are established as a function of the size and number of pages of the publication(s) in a given series, and/or as a function of the size of the stretcher used.
When it comes to color, a basic grid was established right from the start: red for advertising, black for photos, gray or white for everything not covered by the other colors. More colors might be added to this basic grid, in which case their number would be determined by the publication itself and the grid chosen for that particular series. For example, the spaces of page-one articles that are continued on the inside pages may be underscored by giving each one a different color, the order of said colors being obtained by random selection.
Through such constraints, Dubreuil has eliminated compositional decisions, which are dictated by the structure of the publication; nor does he use any rule when it comes to putting colors next to one another.
Given his determination to remain grounded in his times, Dubreuil added a temporal constraint to these formal constraints: each series is identified by a code number that increases along with the chronological order of the publications.
These freely adopted constraints have forced Dubreuil to renounce most of an artist’s prerogatives yet allow him to interrogate the medium of painting in the most objective way possible.


Jean-François Dubreuil . Press revue