period: 09.12.2000... 28.01.2001
Since the seventies Jean-Pierre Raynaud has been fascinated by what he calls the archetypical object. He appropriates objects like tiles, flowerpots, flags…For the project in SMAK he has mounted all national flags, which consist of three coulours and vertical bands, on a frame. By this means he allows us to get acquainted with the elements which determine the national identities.Blue-white-red, but also green-white-red, black-yellow-red, blue-yellow-red, green-yellow-red, or red-yellow-green – it is always three colors that are vertically arranged on a canvas. These colors represent the flags of France, Italy, Belgium, Romania, Mali, Guinea, and Chad.
Why does the presence of these symbols in a museum affect us so directly and strongly, regardless of whether we are, in fact, citizens of the countries concerned? The answer to this question is that Jean-Pierre Raynaud presents them to us quite differently - not as political emblems but as simple objects made of canvas put up on a wall. The resulting tension of colors greatly challenges our emotional power because we perceive it as a sign of cosmic energy which forms the catalyst of our sensitivity.
The sumptuous celebration of colors enjoying absolute freedom to which Jean-Pierre Raynaud invites us in these exhibitions shows how expertly the artist manipulates the main driving force of his intuition – the structural awareness of space. Raynaud's genius is expressed in the arrangement of objects in accordance with their dual spatial significance: space „as such", referring to the hieratic accommodation of the object in all its essence, and space „in itself", the place of communication and serial dynamics. Two ways of making time stand still, or rather of removing the object from the usual duration of time.
This atmosphere of timelessness, this source of fascination and joy must not divert our attention from the immanent reality of the archetypical object. This wonderful presentation in a museum setting implicitly alludes to the great variety of international heraldry. Not all flags have three colors and vertical stripes. There are vertical flags and those with two colors or even just one color, such as Libya's green flag. And then there are all those that include a particularly strong element of symbolism, as well as signs referring to ideology and religion. In some cases our identity-forming memory is quite persistent and makes it difficult for us to objectify the emblem. Here, the strategy of positioning must be linked very closely to the alchemy of sensitivity. The archetypical journey through the world of colors has attained a fateful dimension for Jean-Pierre Raynaud, a fate which leads to very risky situations. This danger is something that Jean-Pierre Raynaud wishes to confront on site, in Cuba, Libya, or China, wherever the viewer's ideological distortion renders the object's transformation difficult.