An edition of 50 screenprints on wood, all handsigned & numbered. Commissioned by Sint-Lukas Gallery, Brussels
A nude couple makes love while they have their smartphones in their hand. Until recently, that scene would have been labeled as unlikely. In 2018 it does not cause much commotion because it looks so bland. However, the whole situation raises questions. Do we still experience intimacy in interpersonal relationships or in a private space? Can we concentrate on one action or person? Do we need resonance in the digital space every time we feel good? Do we prefer absent communication over the unruly here and now? Is there still room for personal secrets? Or a life in isolation without prostheses? Each new step in the virtual environment draws a dividing line between a before and after.
Joëlle Dubois has had some attention since her graduation in 2015 as a Master in the Arts at LUCA Campus Ghent with series of small paintings. These colorful works offer us a voyeuristic view of contemporary media users. In fact, it is we ourselves who share the outside world with our deepest thoughts. We shift the boundaries of personal life to a pseudo-egalitarian technology. For this edition, the artist starts with sketches that indicate the composition and the colors. The depth effect and the environmental details are deliberately limited by analogy with the abstract digital space. The manual painting contrasts with technological replaceability. Although the edition consists of a series of screen prints on boards of the same image, each screen print shows subtle deviations in the manual execution. In the final phase, the artist will edit the silkscreen with resin, which will increase the personal touch.
The bright colors and glitter of the edition compete with the status of the pixel image. The pictorial representation of the virtual world puts the manual labor central. First, the physical creation contrasts with the passive media consumption. The meditation and the production process slows down the time. Isolation is a basic condition. Reflection from an outside position leads to general insights. While painting, the artist escapes her ego and gets a sense of the universal time. There is meaning in the now-moment without a need for profiling. Painting confirms the experience time versus the digital time. After thousands of years of human culture, man is still a largely untapped area. Mystics and humanists talked about the human being as a measure of things. On the other hand, we see an increasing 'belief' in an uncontrollable artificial intelligence, but the technological man does not even know what consciousness and life is, what the origin of time is and what drives history. How do we deal with nature conservation, with war threats and with death? Are we being stunned by a constant need for narcotic stimuli, the incantation of fears and demons? Do we prefer the emptiness of anecdotal facts and voyeurism at a distance above the development of ourselves and the community? The fundamental questions have little to do with the current use of the digital accessories.
We threaten to exchange our responsibility for a spiritless artificial intelligence, but the inevitable questions will overtake us again. This potential question does not alter the fact that the edition is based on simple observations. The exotic colors repress all depressive feelings. For this, the artist will consult non-Western cultures who often provide the viewer with insight into the world in an easily accessible way. Despite its complex foundation, the image itself is simple.
Filip Luyckx - Sint-Lukasgalerie Brussel