Laurent Joubert

Born in 1952 in Narbonne (FR)
Lives and works in Paris (FR)


Acrylic on medium panel
238 x 124 x 60 cm
Year of Purchase: 1992

‘Faithful to painting, [the work of Laurent Joubert] explores areas that are especially rich in colour, those of emblems: coats of arms, flags and livery. Playing on subtle impressions, it overlays and compares the colours and ideologies of groups cannily selected for their desire for power. The stories told are always political and, using a detour through heraldry, the pictorial qualities, faithful to the European tradition, come very much into their own. The amazing feat, which is less straightforward than might appear, is often successful. Turning around symbolically highly charged imagery, pictorial impact of the heraldic, re-use of signs with historical overtones: the cocktail here has thoroughly achieved its mix…
Laurent Joubert has been led, in the course of Japanese and South African experiences, to come round to an innovative stance in western art history. He abandons the old reflexes of the romantic artist and his position as demiurge.
[…] The compatibility between the imaginary and the image-rich cannot be total, and leaves room for interpretative freedom. The notion of model repetition in the so-called ‘traditional’ societies is not a one-off and exclusive datum…[…] On the contrary, what is involved is recurrent questionings in the praxis of art, and it is interesting that it – and they – should emerge in an artist who is very attached to painting, and not by way of conceptual art.’1

L’Amérique (America) is the realization of a project of J.C.Delafosse imagined in the 18th century. It belongs to a set of ‘painted furniture’ made using original prints. Joubert uses the copy like an historical reconstruction capable of introducing a line of thinking about the symbolism of signs used in decoration. He thus ushers in a critique of the recurrent ethnocentrism of the Europeans.

1 Jean-Hubert Martin, Courtyard, Paris, Réunion des musées nationaux, 1996.