Jean-Paul Muslin, a rebuilt expression

When a visual artist becomes partially-sighted, he has just two options: to disappear or to keep trying, one way or another, to get back to where he was.

Jean-Paul Muslin did both, and after more than ten years of silence he has found a new creative process.
New in terms of concept, but old in terms of substance, as that's the way his memory works. He's had to use short cuts - simple ways of reducing language and expression to the bare essentials. This language is purified, and concentrated on the one memorial perception.

A memory which works in every dimension - objective/subjective, temporal/timeless, controlled/uncontrolled.

His artistic journey, simultaneously academic and varied, proved to be the essential experience; the mouldable matter comprised of automatisms to relearn and recapture; visual and auditive memories; bodies, faces, movements, torsions, smiles and grimaces, images of death, revealed faces ceaselessly hidden, all this material at his disposal like an engine, like food from the memory.

He also remembered great artists like Gaston Chaissac, and his hands which liked to hide behind his back while drawing.
Yes, these familiar, classic and unforgotten techniques that he had taught his students; the story of telling them, “Be careful, you never trust your possible ease, maybe not even your virtuosity, never remain on the surface of things, go and seek the important things in the blackness, in the night... "

What work today?

The work of Jean-Paul Muslin, even if it takes place by necessarily different transcription processes, before the problem of view, does not say anything else: he always and still visits and explores the body/bodies, tormented bodies and especially the face/faces.

Current drawings, quasi-calligraphies, very "physical", totally take part in this exploration, just as much as the masks in the past and the present.

Indeed, since the spring of 2013, the masks are back: they are smaller in size and are still based on the same techniques (see section "masks").


Especially these are primarily sculptures.
Although their origin is to be found in the ancient traditions of mask, in particular those of theater, religious and primitive art. They are from today and from nowhere.
Even if we can sometimes wear them, their purpose is not that. They are completely autonomous. They have their own life and serve no purpose, except to remind us that by appearance the hidden face will always be a face of multiple readings.
Also they like to live among them, be extended into the space of the body, offer combinations through their image, puzzles, assumptions, conversing, occupying space, covering their tracks ... They always work.
For them, it is only to occupy the only possible truly free space which separates the hidden face from the exposed face.


Les poupées

Dolls, "Tartar dolls" as named Jean-Paul Muslin, is a continuation of the "extended masks" but these dolls are no longer masks. With them, it leaves the body in what may come to inhabit physically.

The "Tartar dolls" are installed on metal rods, set themselves on pedestals. The distance from the body is made, and the body becomes a spectator of his grimaces now frozen, impaled, decidedly visceral.


and ... to better understand the approach of John Paul Muslin on masks and dolls ....