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Jean-Christophe Norman

1964 France

1 Works exhibited

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  • About the Artist

Born in 1964, Jean-Christophe Norman lives and works in Besançon.
For more than ten years he has devoted himself to multifaceted work based on repetition, walking – mentally and physically – as well as on writing.

Invited in 2006 to take up a residency at the FRAC in Lorraine her works were exhibited in 2016 at the “Musée des arts décoratifs” in Paris within the framework of an exhibition entitled “Le contemporain dessiné” (The contemporary in drawings) and he realized a performance entitled “Un jour – Une nuit” (A day – A night) at the “Musée Picasso” in Paris. In addition in 2016, the Centre Dürrenmatt guested his first exhibition [“Matières”] in Switzerland.
In 2017 at the “Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne”, he carried out an in-situ installation centred on re-writing, where the public was invited to view the overcovering of one of the panels in the institution.
In 2018 he realized a performance’s project entitled « Terres à Tierra » within the framework of the project «Picasso-Méditerranée». Moreover his works were exhibited at the FRAC Franche Comté (« L’empreinte de la mémoire »), at the MAC VAL (« Persona grata ») and at the Magasin des Horizons in Grenoble («JE MARCHE DONC NOUS SOMMES ») the same year.
In collaboration with the Magasin des Horizons, Jean-Christophe Norman presents at the end of November 2018, his performance «Ulysses, a long way» at the Centre national de la Danse Pantin.

Presented during Drawing Now 2019 by Galerie C, Jean-Christophe Norman, in partnership with the Ricard Foundation, is developing a performance held during the fair, following Joana Neves’ proposal.
In 2019, Norman’s work is exhibited in the ZOO gallery space in Nantes as well as in the context of the exhibition «Picasso, obstinément méditerranéen» at the Musée national-Picasso Paris, from June 4th to October 6th. From July 06 to November 10, he also take part in the collective exhibition «Bis repetita placent» at the Espace de l’Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux which is part of the program of the event «des marches, démarches» organized in collaboration with the FRAC PACA.

A monograph will also be available at 02 editions and Galerie C editions with texts by Thierry Davila, Camille Paulhan, Elena Vogman and Malte Fabian Rauch.

As performer and visual artist, Jean-Christophe Norman probes the field of writing worldwide. Even if his modes of expression diverge – walking, overcovering, or rewriting – the artist gets down to the creation of spaces, but all the same according a special importance to the valorisation of the experience.

Walking is at the centre of attention of the work of Jean-Christophe Norman who, in 2015 [“Crossing Berlin”], for almost a month went completely across Berlin tracing with chalk the “writing of time” on the ground.  In 2008, he redrew the outlines of Vilnius [“Constellation walks”] in a series of cities (New York, Besançon, Tokyo, Metz, Nice, Paris). The fragments of the outlines of the Lithuanian capital were dispersed in the above-mentioned cities and only the addition of all the outlines allows one to understand the complete work. “The walks which Norman goes on are re-interpretations of the borders bequeathed by history and its upheavals; the maps are snapshots, split-second reports of the development of societies, they are so many fictions, propaganda tools, and tools for settling the established powers… It is not just geopolitical considerations which find their way into Norman’s work; what is involved, above all, for the artist is that he can poetically “re-trace” new boundaries and create itineraries/pretexts capable of giving rise to encounters and the unknown, and inventing territories still untouched by any historical appropriation.”

Even although the artist goes on long walks according to a pre-set protocol, he evades staging and nourishes a propensity of invisibility: “Without, all the same, using a design concept where the work can only exist by a simple statement, Norman places himself in a logic of doing things – something that does not appear. His work exists – that is all. He puts no pressure on the context that takes him in.” 
Jean-Christophe Norman “wishes to keep as far as possible from the spectacle and the spectacular. […] Evocation procures an clearer vision of things, partly because they are “completed” by the spectator.” 

Thus, for the series “Cover” the artist engages in covering over photographs of works or performances of major contemporary art that figure in a magazine found when on voyage. The graphite meticulously takes over the paper so that what remains to be seen shows through in a subtle play of appearance and disappearance: “Norman’s Cover obliges us to relinquish a frontal relationship that we normally have with images […] making it impossible to immediately recognize them. Norman reintroduces that part of the imaginary which photography tends to block since it tries to make everything visible. The commitment that the works in “Cover” required of the visitors is similar to that of anamorphosis, where one image hides another and where movement of the visitors becomes useful.“ 

The artistic work of Jean-Christophe Norman is created around a distance that, once achieved, can be found in the plasticity of the shapes, and also in the detachment that the artist creates with the spectator. Excluded from the act, the spectator is, nevertheless, included in the process since he/she is called upon to co-create, to fill in the enigmatic evocation offered by the artist: “I often ask myself if it is not the images that are very illustrative that keep us at distance. They gives us the impression of knowing everything, of being informed, of being documented but, do they bring us the space necessary for reflexion from one end of dreaming to the other?” 

 “The voyages of Jean-Christophe Norman are rewritings – just as literal as metamorphic – accounts of voyagers rather than that of the voyage and that displace the constituent fiction to give unexpected prolongations to the literature.”

Works by Jean-Christophe Norman

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