Images   &   Experimentations

Jacques Desbiens                                      Contact







A labyrinthine experimentation of images

          Confronted by optical and geometrical processes relative to a chaotic environment perceived during movement, my research leads me to a journey in which I use drawing, optics, photography, 3D computer graphics and holography to analyse and experiment the representation of space. At the crossroad of scientific and artistic paths, of constructed and erratic visuals, of the occident and the orient, volumes and mazes, lines and blots, my experimentations test and investigate ideas from art history; I observe, analyse and verify. My images are experimentation reports, traces from heterochronic nomadism.
          For centuries, three-dimensional space has been represented using linear perspective. It is in our images, in our language, in our cameras, in our computer graphics software. Cyclopean vision, partial, conventional, from a single point of view at the center of the world, traditional perspective is a shackle. Yet:


“The front view of a mountain has one aspect; the side view another; the back view still another. The ever changing view from whatever side one looks is described as “different shapes of a mountain as seen from every side.” Thus a single mountain combines in itself several thousand appearances. Should we not realize this fact?”

Kuo Hsii, 1117, Lin Ch’üan Kao Chih

(Lofty Messages of Forests and Springs)

What is seen is perceived in multiple aspects. Observation is an action in motion. Constant variations of angles of view proceed from this movement. Chaotic vision, the gaze is deployed in space and time, a succession of places and moments, an accumulation. These elongated voyages in images derive from methodologies that are not only representations “of” space, but also representation “in” space.

The forgotten labyrinth, 2016, graphite on paper in an accordion sketchbook, 765cm X 50cm.

The experimentation of images made from movement is developed in paths where the pencil and optics collect unsettled forms, imaginary or observable. In addition, the experimental analysis of artistic images, of their formation, presentation and perception, distinguishes itself by its ability to use the unexpected and by its openness to creative manipulations. In the amalgam of multiple images, fragmentation, distortion and transparencies emerge. Confusing forms that arise from movement and multiple perspectives are temporal compressions. They show the incoherence of time in a fixated space.


         “Tempus non est sine motu.” (Time doesn’t exist without movement.)

Roger Bacon, 1267, Opus Majus.

Descending the staircase (Quebec), 2017,
Digital photography.
23 views on a cuboctahedron, 2016,
3D computer graphics.
         Optics is spatial. Liberated from the surface, multi-perspectives appears in synthetic holography. Hundreds of images that coincide with as many angles of view to represent a three-dimensional space. This multiplicity reconstructs the observational motion parallax. In front of these holograms, the observer’s movements initiate three-dimensionality and kinetics, spatial synchronisations and temporal incoherence. What we see from here is different from what we see from there.

Tractatus Holographis, 2005, two angles of view on the synthetic hologram, 60cm X 40cm.

          Old books and diffractive optics, drawings inspired form oriental painting, catoptrics and anti-perspective, obscure references and distant quotations, these anachronic dispositives are spaces that combine past within present and present within the past. This experimental practice reflects the heterochrony in art history research. With these optical and geometrical structures, by their historical references and their visual effects, I create these images to visualize fragmentations, intersections and meanders of spaces and times, real and imaginary.


“ Fairies + facts = effect”

Louis Scutenaire (1984)

Mes Inscriptions 1945-1963.

          Cities and landscapes are mazes, chaotic meanders that images can represent only in reduction and ephemerality. My images are submitted to the requirements and hazards of experiments that sustain a labyrinthine conception of space affected by the turbulence of moving gaze, walking and chaotic perception. Compositions of voids and solids, shadows and light, lines and clouds, obstacles and bypasses, from a labyrinthine vision of space, liberated from an egocentric geometry - the gaze wanders.

Maze, 2019, ink on wood, 125cm X 123cm.

Jacques Desbiens
July 2019

© Jacques Desbiens 2019