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date: 05 December 2019

Degottex, Jeanlocked

(b Sathonay, nr Lyon, Feb 25, 1918; d Paris, Dec 6, 1988).
  • Kirk Marlow


(b Sathonay, nr Lyon, Feb 25, 1918; d Paris, Dec 6, 1988).

French painter, draughtsman and sculptor. From the early 1950s he showed an interest in mark-making and in the rendering of calligraphic shapes engaging both the surface and the space of the paper or canvas (e.g. Sea Spears, 1954; Paris, Gal. Fournier), an approach similar to the Surrealist method of automatic writing and drawing. In 1955 he held an exhibition at the Galerie l’Etoile Scellée in Paris. André Breton co-wrote the preface to the catalogue and pointed out Degottex’s strong affinity to Zen philosophy and to the drawings of 12th-century Oriental calligraphers. Shortly after, directed in part by Breton, Degottex began a comprehensive study of the history of Oriental calligraphy and read histories of Zen painting from the 8th century to the 12th. His works from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s are an attempt to express the soul of the artist through the spirit of Zen thought. Several quickly executed strokes of paint or India ink are placed against a thinly painted contrasting monochromatic background suggesting the ‘void’ often referred to in Eastern philosophies (e.g. ...

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