Jean Gorin Today

Exposition en coursDu 13 octobre au 21 décembre

Straying from memory

Looking at Jean Gorin again. Twenty years after the exhibition in this same Lahumière gallery. I had myself devoted a master’s thesis in art history to his work, under the supervision of Jacques Thuillier, followed by a book published in 1985 by Waser Verlag in Zurich. Gorin was unknown, and neoplasticism had been forgotten in France at that time. And has remained so, more or less.

As the maker in 1930 of the first neoplastic relief—lauded by Mondrian, who viewed it as an architectural work—Gorin devoted his career to demonstrating the link between painting and architecture. He was an “architect-painter.”

His multivisual spatio-temporal compositions, as they are somewhat weightily called, are constructions in which all components—lines, planes, and colors—are dissymmetrically juxtaposed in order to create rhythm. There are contrasts between verticality and horizontality on the surface and in depth, and contrasts between colors (only the primaries, which remain separated by neutral hues). This new plasticity was abstract and rational to the extent of seeking to base its constructive principles on mathematical laws and its execution on neutral, or impersonal, craft. Gorin only achieved it by following a determined path. Born in 1899 to a family of modest artisans, he enrolled in the school of fine arts in Nantes, where he drew from life models and copied nineteenth-century masters, painting a few Impressionist sketches. After World War I—when he was drafted and then taken prisoner—he made a living as a barber (which he always hid even from his friends) even as he continued “working” in a cubist, then purist, spirit, based on his readings.

Excerpt from a text by Marianne Le Pommeré published in the catalog of the exhibition
Translated from the French by Deke Dusinberre

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Jean Gorin Today