Jadot & Barbier


The installations of the Co-Art collective Jadot & Barbier cast a slightly critical eye on humanity. Much of the work comes from minimal interventions on existing materials and objects to which a message or function is already attached. The work often resemble an animated reality with a sense of aesthetics. Where the work is located is often also part of that new layer of meaning.

An organic effect that arises from a database of images picked up along the way; a mood board that gradually develops and through associations evokes a work, an assemblage or an installation.

The work usually acquires its definitive form during the construction of the exhibition and is sometimes changeable and subject to the climate, the place where it is set up.



Group Exhibition 'Underground / Sound & Vision' by WARP

16.09 - 21.10.2007, Curated by Stef Van Bellingen (text).

Artists: J&B Jadot & Barbier (B), Hallveig Agusdottir (ICL), Fred Bervoets (B), Hubert Czerepok (Pol), Arnaud Gerniers (B), Ellen Hofstra (Nl), Eva Koch (DK), Paul McCarthy (USA), Wim Lambrecht (B), SofieMuller (B), Stef Renodeyn (B), Jasper Rigole (B), Jan Van Imschoot (B), Tim Vets (B), Artur Zmijewski (Pol). Fine Arts Salons, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

Lotus feet' are the result of an ideal of beauty from tenth-century China. These are the small feet of women, obtained by tightly binding these limbs with textile, which slowed growth. Such an ideal of beauty is comparable to the practice of scarification, piercing, tattooing or wearing neck rings, which are also obtained in a painful and extreme way. Such tiny feet (sometimes only 7,5 cm) make it difficult to move and require adapted footwear (lotus shoes). The instep of lotus feet describes a gracefully high arch and the feet were experienced as an erotic organ. In 1911, the lotus feet were formally banned by the Chinese government, yet they continued to be banned in remote areas for a long time. It was not until 1998 that the last factory to produce lotus shoes closed its doors.   One of the components of the training of Jadot and Barbier is the design of footwear. What interests them is the sour mixture of beauty and violence. Hence their installation consisting of a raw piece of meat on a support and stiletto heel. In the exhibition, the 'meat shoe' is set up in a confined space, the entrance to which is partially closed off by a beaded curtain. In addition to the visual component, the installation also consists of noise-music by Mike Kelly, Paul McCarthy and Violent Onsen Geisha. This last name stands for Masaya Nakahara and his pseudonym is a persiflage on the geisha, which a company should enjoy listening to. Jadot and Barbier were inspired by taste differences and the economic tensions in the East-West relationship. This conflicting relationship was confirmed in 2006 when Rob Marshall's film 'Memoirs of a Geisha' was banned in the East. The geisha lead in this Hollywood print was played by the Chinese actress Zigi Zhang. Not only does a Japanese geisha evoke the negative connotation of prostitution in China, but the period in which the film takes place is also a reminder of the cruel Japanese occupation. On the other hand, Hollywood tries to conquer the Japanese and Chinese markets without offending authorities. In terms of shoe production, there is dissatisfaction in Europe with the shoes that China (and Vietnam) wants to import here at dumping prices.

Solo Exhibition 'THISNEWLAND — The sideshow'

BLEEK Art Space, 26.02 - 05.03.2017,  Stef Van Bellingen (text).

As an attachment to an email I receive a picture. As with any reading activity, I like to do that with a printed version. This applies not only to text, but also to photos - especially if I am asked to read this photo. Immediately the printing of the photo on an A4-format indicates the limits of the resolution, slightly larger and the pixels already manifest themselves in the image. That's why I think I'm not being asked to zoom in on details, but rather to focus on the general atmosphere. It's a pity, because immediately my eye is made curious and I want to find out whether or not these two ladies, dressed in festive clothes, have applied glossy nail polish to their nails. They certainly didn't use a bright colour, that would immediately be noticeable. Yet it seems as if their nails extend slightly - elegantly - beyond the edge of their fingertips. At the same time I wonder why I'm staring at details that are barely visible as if all the secrets of the world are contained in it? Let's first look at the image in its entirety. Trying, ... yet unwittingly questions continue to arise. How would Jacques and Luc like to present this photograph? Will they project it with a beamer? Will the photo be printed, and if so, in what format? And will they be able to use a version with a higher resolution? If the photo was taken by them, these princesses would be family. Or did they find this photo somewhere? Internet, flea market, attic, ...? In any case, it is a double portrait ('in full swing', art history says) in which nature, it's summer, functions as a backdrop and background. It is not a wild, but domesticated nature, very likely a garden - even a driveway. A strip of concrete, with a fine stripe in the lower right corner that ensures that this material also has some freedom of movement and can stretch or shrink a little without showing cracks too quickly. Good for the concrete, but in the picture it is an ugly piece in the composition. Wouldn't it have been better if they had been among the flowers? Or is breaking through the pure idyll a conscious choice through this framing? The transition from path to earth has a stopover via the natural stones that can be seen below on the left. Behind this border dominates green, pink-red and bright yellow, but also a trampoline-de-luxe. This immediately evokes the image of the 'suburbs', the rather affluent suburb, because if there is an attribute that can be found everywhere, it turns out to be this kind of vehicle with a protective net around it to adequately protect the descendants of two working parents with two children against gravity. Unfortunately I haven't 'read' much in the performance of these ladies and I'm already interpreting. But with the gala dress, the presence of nature and the modern replacement of the swing by a trampoline, I almost immediately think of 'L'escarpolette' by Jean-Honore Fragonard, one of the masterpieces from the rococo period that is also known as 'The Happy Accidents on the Swing'. However, the two adolescents in the photograph seem to have left behind the time of joyful floating on the trampoline. As if they were one body, they are dressed in a long pale blue robe. No beautiful shoe, or bare ankle (in rococo a seductive and mischievous body part) to be seen. However, this is compensated for by the sleeveless of the clothing, so that a continuous 'natural' arises from fingertips to shoulders and neck. The upper body is embellished by modest glitter and floral motifs. The front girl wears a necklace, but neither of them likes the fingers to be free of rings, and thus possible ties to others or promises to do so. They look - reasonably relaxed - at the photographer and therefore also at us. One smiles with a certain generosity, because we see her teeth intact. The largest, but therefore not the oldest, looks more serious, but not tight or arrogant. Their sisterhood is emphasized by their loose, long curly hair, but especially by the rifle they hold together. The presence of this weapon transforms the photograph from a communicative snapshot into an image that becomes more enigmatic. Without additional information, you come up against the limit of the interpretation of an image. But this ignorance always forms the starting point of something new, evokes curiosity and sets our thinking in motion. Are they members of a shooting club? Is this America where possession of weapons is almost a requirement for shaping your national identity? Are they among the Guerrilla girls who strive for a higher presence of women in museums? Are they the second cousins of Valerie Solanos' SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) - the woman who shot Andy Warhol? Or is it maybe the two good-looking girls in the class who are bullied at school and pose with a rifle to look tough once in a while? Well, I don't know at all, but I hope to find out through J&B.