Jean Degottex

Galerie de France

For Jean Degottex, painting is primarily an ethical rather than an esthetic enterprise, a matter of how a work is made. The work, no matter how autonomous once it is finished, must show traces of its making. Furthermore, the method or action involved must be determined by the “intelligence of the material” being used, as Degottex describes it—although it is not clear whether he intends it in the passive or active sense: the intrinsic intelligence of the material, or the intelligence that is brought out by the care and labor lavished on it. In other words, despite appearances, Degottex’s work is not derived either from any form of expressionism or of minimalism. Even though his gestures are freely chosen, the results, rather than revealing his innermost self, maintain a certain objectivity. However, the works’ reduction to the minimum does not come from any system but from the desire to

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