Posted on Leave a comment

Jean-Charles Blais (1956)


Schermafbeelding 2017-08-30 om 13.57.22

There was a time that the Escher Museum at the Lange Voorhout functioned as a modern art dependance of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Rudi Fuchs initiated this by convincing the municipality of the Hague, that the town was in need of an extra Modern Art museum. A little like the Castello di Rivoli near Torino, where he curated the first exhibitions. Decorated with an original Donald Judd floor, the setting was perfect for modern art. Responsible for the project was John Sillevis who invited some friend artists to exhibit in the palace. One of them Jean-Charles Blais. Together with this exhibition a catalogue was published , which was designed by one of the very best at that time….Gracia Lebbink. Beautiful cahier stiching, printed by Lecturis this is a true gem of a catalogue. Since many exhibitions have been held in the palace but few were as impressive as the Blais exhibition.

Jean-Charles Blais was born in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique) on October 22, 1956. At the tender age of eighteen he enroled at the “École des Beaux-Arts” in Rennes, where he studied for a total of five years. Since the early 1980s Jean-Charles Blais studied the work of the Nouveaux Réalistes, Pop-Art and Arte Povera of Mario Merz, especially the works of the so-called “affiches arrachées”, which had a fundamental influence on Blais’ work.
This work, which is determined by the choice of material used to carry the picture, marked his departure to a new kind of painting. On the basis of torn-off advertising posters which are then stuck on top of each other in multiple layers, Jean-Charles Blais developed a pictorial language, that was less interested in the suface of the two-dimensionally formulated message and more concerned with the space articulated “behind” the surface. The multilayered nature of the material and the view to the incidental edges and creases create associative structures.
On their basis Jean-Charles Blais created representational motifs, figurative elements, houses and animals, plants and tools on the back. Thanks to numerous solo exhibitions in France and later also in Germany and the USA, Jean-Charles Blais’ works became known to a larger audience during the eighties.
His first large-scale work in a public space attracted a great deal of attention in 1990: Jean-Charles Blais was commissioned to design the Paris Metro station “Assemblé Nationale”. In 1996 the “Telephone Booths” project for the “Thinking Print” exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art in New York followed.
Digital technologies and new materials have been in the centre of Blais’ creative work since the turn of the millennium. 

The publications below are available at


Leave a Reply