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Cartes, 1982-1985

Jean-Claude Morice
  • Artist (1939)

The French painter Jean-Claude Morice, born in 1939, works on fabric, wood and paper, alike. In a very limited range of colours, these more or less rigid media show the drawing of lines made of dots, or organized in parallel zones, slight geometric signs which are superposed and intercept. These traces are like surveys, a city planner’s plans, or the transpositions of aerial views of a cultivated and inhabited site. The Cartes which he creates shift the codes of representation on several levels. In the work acquired by the FRAC Centre, Morice draws inspiration from the accumulated history in the Chartres archives, and in particular from a 16th century plan of the old collegiate church. The artist’s work consists in superpositions of highly referenced methods of coding: architectural plans and geographical maps from different periods, high and low pressure signs which one finds on weather maps, and lastly the coded signatures of stone-dressers, masons and carpenters. The artist works with acrylic, using successive imprints which leave significant gaps which he takes pleasure in pointing out: he annotates these absences in pastel, and then he divides the space. On the free canvas, laid out on the ground, he constructs his linear structures made of parallel lines. He walks around the canvas, using a random mathematical game, at the outset, to draw up for himself a minimum programme of interventions, types of frequencies of imprints, and rhythms of layouts. Then, after being dipped in successive acrylic baths, the canvas is crumpled until a fine variable network of breaks and ribs is obtained. His works conjure up palimpsest-maps where the imprints of recent codes can be erased, just like older imprints, where time is marked by blows from rods and bars. Jean-Claude Morice has taught at the Institut National pour l’Enfance Inadapté (National Institute for Maladjusted Children) in Suresnes, and produced specific drawings for the Cité des Sciences. His work has been shown in many exhibitions in France and abroad.

Nadine Labedade