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©François Lauginie

N°16, 1985

Joël Hubaut
  • Artist (1947)

As a multidisciplinary artist involved in performance, video, painting, installation, multimedia, music and poetry, Joël Hubaut (born in 1947 in Amiens) has been trying to upset the established order since his early days in the 1960s.  The “art wholesaler”, as he calls himself, uses excess, the grotesque, derision and even the absurd in his Ubuesque presentations to protest against a formatted consumer society.  In 1970, he created the epidemic concept—“épidemik”—a set of signs which invade objects, human bodies, vehicles and places, based on a process of contamination.  While teaching at the Caen School of Fine Arts, he created the alternative space Nouveau Mixage International from 1978 to 1985, set up an improvised music group, organized festivals and open-air painting competitions, and inaugurated the world championship for throwing Camembert in an urban environment (1983) for the Guinness Book of Records.  Dozens of other actions and environments carried out in France and abroad were added to very large numbers of works in terms of editions and music.  The work No 16, created as part of an “Art Rush” operation, mounted on 23 November 1985, was broadcast for three hours of live television on FR3 Caen.  During the programme, Hubaut put on a performance titled Epidémie de peinture nivelée, during which he painted 22 identical canvases for the 22 FRACs in France (Regional Contemporary Art Collections).  In 1996, this radically anti-establishment stance would give birth to the CLOM (Contre l’Ordre Moral/Against the Moral Order) and the introduction of colours into the artist’s work, those very colours which the Nazis, as it happens, used for identifying people in concentration camps.  In mixing all these eclectic sources, Joël Hubaut creates an art which verges on the monstrous, and which he himself wittily describes as “Pest-Modern”.

Nadine Labedade