Feature: Illustrator Timju Jeannet
Lately I have been so tired. Tired of art, magazines, of stupid films. I find everything empty, unimaginative. Just, stuff.
This got me to the point of seeking solace in watching films with no content (Chantal Akerman's 1975 Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles), reading books with no plot (Roberto Bolaño's 1996 Nazi Literature in the Americas), increasing my number of listenings to electronic music (Matmos, in particular) or even downloading a white noise generator App.
Trying, somehow to find solace in a self-obsessed denial of content.
I am sure this is mainly because I am getting old, and when you're old there is the risk losing the thrill of discovery. You settle down. The sponge is not absorbing any more water and all of a sudden new music does not cut it as it used to, new filmmakers are boring and you can't connect with their ideas. The only comfort available is in the things you used to like five, ten years ago. And you end up only listening to the same bands in a loop.
This downward spiral comes from the disappointment I feel every time I walk into a gallery. Art is just something there, on the walls, it seems as if it does not mean anything any more. And it's not a problem with the setting. The same happens when the gallery is in Hackney. Art is just, there, ignored by people that are just networking while sipping wine.
I get angry at the stupid articles on magazines. I get angry at how cool people are afraid they are losing their edge, about them being afraid the mainstream is creeping into every corner of their 2.0 world, where you can never be sure if what you like is acceptable or has already been exposed as an Instagram fad. Established artists are too mysterious, too referential or simply, condescendingly patronising.
And after this light-hearted introduction, I want to speak about Timju Jeanet, so that you know there's still hope. I run into him on Instagram. He is an illustrator from Lausanne, Switzerland who has recently relocated to Paris. And I fell in love with his world.
I soon reached out to him and started a conversation via email, trying to gain more insight into his work. His initial words were already captivating:
That room was his flat in Lausanne, where he lived until he moved to a small attic apartment in Paris in 2015, where he has developed his naïve style even further. And it is this spatial connection that I also fell in love with, as I find them charged with emotion and ortgeist.
The use of forced perspectives, colour fields and lonely characters, deep in thought, anonymous. Most of them giving us the back in a crossover between a self portrait the result of an out of body experience and a voyeuristic fly-on-the-wall spying on beautiful strangers while they go about their lonely businesses in the big city.
There is a lot of sensuality, of longing, a silent scream of modern isolation, yet the spaces are inviting, approachable, and never dwelling in self-pity.
I shared with him the story of the first time I experience the need to live inside a work of art.
I must have been around eight, and someone gave my sister a book for her birthday. It was a French dictionary that used the story line of a family daily life to teach different words and actions to children learning the language.
It was a family of four that lived in a lovely flat in a boulevard in Paris, and without understanding why, my immediate reaction was to dive into those pages and imagine I was there in that idealised street, in a perpetual cold but sunny Autumn day
I fell in love with his drawings because they have the ability to transport me there with him. They are alive and not simple empty vessels, there's a beyond to them. A story behind each particular moment, behind every lonely commuter, bather, reader...
And this is what I miss from art nowadays. Its ability to create with heart and soul, instead of being so keen on faking it.
Check out his portfolio here: http://timjujeannet.tumblr.com/