Jean-Baptiste Bernadet & Xavier Noiret-Thomé
Curated by Devrim Bayar
14 x 19 cm, 16 p, ills colour, riso print, stapled
design: Studio Jurgen Maelfeyt
edition of 100
First edition out of stock
For about three years, Brussels-based French painters Jean-Baptiste Bernadet and Xavier Noiret-Thomé have engaged in a sort of game which consists of buying interesting paintings for less than €5 at flea markets. The artists separately purchase works according to their own findings and then share their discoveries with each other. Once acquired, these paintings find their way into the homes of Jean-Baptiste and Xavier, where they are hung alongside works by established artists without any hierarchy. If price is the only rule of this otherwise very informal game, quality determines the purchase. In this price range, choice is obviously very limited but it’s precisely because they often push back the limits of good taste that these “odd” works are interesting for both artists, whose production they reexamine. Sometimes, those “cheap” images also manifest an intense sincerity and a necessity which compels artists to express themselves. Jean-Baptiste and Xavier’s game reminds us of the Thrift Store Paintings by Jim Shaw whom, from 1974 to 2000, collected paintings from flea markets. However, it was in fact inspired by a game invented by Danish artists Asger Jorn, also co-founder of the Cobra movement, and Per Kirkeby, in the 1970s whose goal it was to transform bad paintings found in flea markets into “successful” ones. Beyond the inexhaustible resource which flea markets constitute for artists, they also represent a possible fate. Without any context, critical support, or control by the artist and his or her gallery, any artwork could potentially wind up being picked up for less than 5€ on the Place du Jeu de Balle.