Jacques André, born in 1969, like many other ‘inactive’ people of his generation, calls for the raising of cultural capital. He first defined himself as an “unemployed” artist, focusing on this issue in his “Onem blue” unemployment office-coloured interventions and installations. The colour was reproduced as mundanelyas possible, using paint-mixing machines in paint shops.
Fascinated by the outburstsof May’68 and thesubsequent transition period towards postmodernity, Jacques André turned hisquestioning, critical gaze to themisrepresentationand commercialisation of the hippie utopia, notably by its less scrupulous heirs, the yuppies (young urban professionals), young executives orengineers who wereclose to the high finance ofupmarket metropolises in spite of their“cool” appearances.They in turn were themselves theforerunners of the ultimate fraud which engendered young, disillusioned multibillionaires, including traders and otherhigh-level swindlers,swanking about in limousinesinCosmopolis.
Confessing that he“doesn’t know how to do anything except consume”, the artist has thus developed since the 1990sa conceptual artistic practice based on ready-mades that question our relationship with material possessions and property. Hismethod consists of multiple purchasing and accumulation of identical objects (most frequently books, CDs and DVDs, considered as “cultural indicators” of our times) and then exhibiting them—in carefullystructured piles orshowcases, onScandinavian shelves or heaped up under picture rails, etc.
This work, which is also not averse to presenting great aesthetic value, thus deals ironically with the excesses of consumerism and misrepresentation, by the markets, of countercultural utopias. In its Rebel Rebelexhibition dedicated to rock, the MAC’s presented his Arters installation (i.e. “Repeat purchases, attempts at exhaustion and reconstitution of stocks”), an orderly accumulation of vinyl records in their sleeves.
At a time when political and technological conditions are being established increasingly overtly, which will enable a vengeful eradication of critical thinking resulting notably from Debord’s situationist stances, Foucault’s socio-historic studies and Deleuze’s philosophical research, the MAC’s is now presenting an Amateur’s Cabinet containing a wider range of creations by this artist who has placed the “unemployed person”—who has nothing to lose or to gain—as “the best analyst of what society is offering to its consumers as values and objects.” (Jacques André, Voyage du temps perdu, unsigned introduction, Editions du Souffle, Brussels, 2003, not paginated).