World Artists and their Story, 40 - Jean-Philippe Paumier

In Breed Art Studios I saw at the exhibition Matter Matters! a site-specific soap installation by the French-Amsterdam artist Jean-Philippe Paumier. His works were surrounded by innovative marble sculptures by the artistic duo Affiliati Peducci Savini from Italy.

Jean-Philippe Paumier focuses on the primary properties of a certain object: shape, color and texture. In this exhibition objects could be seen that at first sight could also be made of marble, but consist of soap. He has put together this soap himself. Paumier wants to explore objects on a different level and to establish a more intuitive contact with them. This fits within his ideas to question the large-scale mass production and consumption. People can make new associations with materials and objects.

The enigmatic nature of things

Jean-Philippe: "In recent years I have been working on a new series of works of art in which the object is central. This project briefly questions the concept of still life. "Les stratégies de l'objet" (the strategies of the object) is the title and guideline of this project. I borrowed this title from a passage from the book Les stratégies fatales (1983) by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard. The main theme of this series is the presence of the object as a work of art, which Baudrillard calls the enigmatic nature of things, a kind of mysterious resistance. "

The idea is as follows: if the object can be regarded as separate from its function, I can focus on its primary properties (shape, mass, texture, color, material). “This way you can also connect with such an object in a clean way. By distance from the practical aspect of the object (its naturalness) it becomes possible to respond more to its aesthetic and poetic content (its eloquence). "

Alberto Moravia

Why is this theme important to him? Jean-Philippe: "My interest goes out to simple everyday objects in which I see special inner characteristics. Every day we are flooded with senseless consumer products, which sometimes contain hidden beauty. That awareness seems to me an important task for art. The starting point of my work as an artist is the new and deeper look I am trying to cast at my immediate surroundings. In this way unexpected contrasts and idea-associations can arise by radically breaking with the undoubted familiarity of the object. "

His work is based on a deep anchoring in concrete reality, which is normally familiar. Yet there are many doubts: “My art practice arises precisely because of this tension between that ordinary presence of the objects and the intuition / speculation that there is essentially something beyond perception, that something inexplicable is left behind. In the book "The boredom" Moravia describes through his protagonist the feeling of boredom as a hopeless lack of contact with reality, so that everything suddenly seems absurd for him. This fragment of Moravia has had a great influence on my work. "

Fiat Lux

Does Jean-Philippe have a key work, a work that served as a turning point? He has. “Very representative of the new development in my work process and reflection on art in recent years is my work of art« Fiat Lux » (2017). It consists of a geo-triangle encased in a rectangular block of synthetic resin with a round fluorescent tube as background. It combines some pure geometric shapes and different materials. The presence of light as material and symbolic / mystical elements and its association with a measuring instrument illustrates my interest in minimalistic forms of art. There is a comtemplative element and invites the viewer to stop and listen to the silent language of the artwork. The title is a direct reference to the first words of the Bible about creation and defines the function of art.”

Jean-Philippe Paumier graduated in 2003 at the art academy of Rouen in France (Master of Arts) and has since then continuously been involved in making art (drawings, sculptures and installations). He only started to exhibit regularly in 2010 when he moved from Paris to Amsterdam. “Since then I have exhibited in group and solo exhibitions both in the Netherlands and abroad  (in Greece, Israel, Czech Republic, USA, England) in various galleries, art centers and art fairs (This Art Fair, Rotterdam Contemporary, KunstRAI). “

Do it yourself

Finally, what is his artistic philosophy? Jean-Philippe: "I have a growing tendency / desire to experiment and work with spatial installations. This is not an artistic philosophy but rather a motto in the form of an observation for myself: 'do it yourself'. "


1) Fiat Lux, 2017, 2) Untitled, 2018, 3) Kings do not touch doors, 2018, 4) Inertie de l’écho, 2016,  5) Giotto's concern, 2017, 6) Sections sucrées, 2015, 7) De profundis, 2015, 8) Cementum, 2014, 9) Waterloo, 2014, 10) The fossil sounds, 2010, 11) portrait of Jean-Philippe Paumier, courtesy Wim Ruigrok



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