In his collages, installations and performances Jimmy Robert explores the relation of the image to the human body. Each of his pictures unfolds (often literally) an object, transforms it into a spatial sculpture. The idea and the process of touching and to be touched move along the small ridge between intimacy and strangeness. In Robert’s playful yet profound transgression and progression of genres, the way he overlaps two- and three dimensional structures that permeate the most diverse forms of media, he transforms the principle of collage and decollage with wit, precision, elegance into contemporary visual idiom. The collaged templates will undergo several processes until they eventually, as a sculptural assembly, become objects of reality.
Devolved pictures, carefully archived in its sketch book, are elevated to a new life: Three motifs: A postcard with the baroque drawing of two hands, the rear view of a child, whose hand rests on the image of Alain Delon’s cheek on a poster, a still from the emotion and aggression-loaded film „Rocco and his brothers “(Visconti, 1960) and, as a the third element, the audience view of the back of a stripteaser form the first visual level of the triptych Untitled (2006-2009). Jimmy Robert repeats the hand gestures in the pictures with his own hands turning them into a motif.
From the last of the described paper works Robert generates the cover of the record Suspended closure, suspended (2009) with the recording and setting of a text spoken by himself, structured along similar principles as his visual works. Poetically, as a no further specified narrator, Robert approaches ideas on the question of gender, starting from his own position to a wider spectrum. Five verses of very different length outline the topics. The connecting style element is the references with which he works in each individual verse: Quotations, titles and references to important works from the arts, politics and psychology, open a firework of aspects on intellectual history, offering a guideline for his questions around self-positioning.
Robert’s emotionless narration, is accompanied by the countertenor Gert Hohmann who, with the possibilities offered by baroque singing ornaments, lends each of the paragraphs its own tone in a way, borrowing single words from the text as a starting point for his improvisation: Desire, Gender, Garland, Image, Position. As a kind of echo of the spoken word, the same artistic principle of quotation is used in so far as characteristic sound elements from baroque composers such as Bach and Purcell are arranged and transformed into a new musical collage.
In a recourse to the stylistic vocabulary of the baroque era and its ambition to represent human emotions in firm patterns – e.g. sound sequences readable like language - Jimmy Robert triggers to deal with issues about the very nature of one self. The subjectivity of his poetic text and the musical translation however break the dogmatic claim of general validity, which in the baroque was still existent.
As suggested in the title of the work and the exhibition, all remains as a suspended closure, suspended.
*1975 Guadeloupe, Frankreich
Lives and works in Brussels
2004-05 Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1996-99 BA (hons) in Fine Art and Critical Theory, Goldsmiths’ College, London
Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow
Légerment Manipulés, CAC, Brétigny, France
Elegantly Wasted, NAK (Neuer Aachener Kunstverein), Germany
Figure de Style, Cubitt, London
In collaboration with Ian White ‘Marriage a la Mode et Cor Anglais’, De Appel, Amsterdam and STUK, Belgium
Art Basel, statement with Galerie Diana Stigter
Manifold Centerfold, White Light / Insititut Francais, Dusseldorf
Collective Gallery, Edinburgh
Instabilly, Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam
In collaboration with Ian WWhite, 6 things we couldn’t do..., Art now, Tate Britain
Brown Leatherette, commissioned by Autograph, Platform, London
5th Berlin Biennial
Recorded images, Art gallery of South Australia
Le Ping-Pond d’amour, Whitechapel art gallery, London
Prospectif Cinéma, Centre Pompidou, Paris
The Artists’ Cinema, Frieze Art Fair
The 47th London Film Festival
Oberhausen Short Film Festival
Changing Times, Tate Britain, London
Persona, Park Saint Legér, France
Palace, The John Institute, St. Gallen, CH
Re-Make / Re-Model, Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow
Moving, Contingency, Community, Gallery 27, Seoul, South Korea
Act out, Studio Voltaire, London
Zes, Marc Foxx Gallery, Los
Zes, Harris Lieberman, New York
Travaux Sur Papier Art: Concept, Paris
Just In Time, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
3 to the power of 3, Cine Lumiere, French institute, London
Brixton studio, The photographers’ Gallery, London
F.A.G, Cubitt, London