“Heads”, mail art on Facebook.


On August 3 2014, I started to post on Facebook a series of ink drawings entitled «heads». Almost two months later, after having published one of them every day, I declare and promise that this has become a project and that I will continue to publish drawings of heads every day for my one thousand and ninety five Facebok «friends» (and maybe for their «friends» and for the «friends» of their «friends»…) at least until August 3 2015, during a complete year. I see this project as a sort of Facebook mail art for multiple and, often time, unknown receivers.

It is not the first time that I post regularly drawings on Facebook. Amongst other cases, the publication of the long series of drawings entitled «Tropismes» was very deliberate and structured by the decision of reaching a definite number of drawings (one hundred) and of posting as much as possible one drawing per day. I did not succeed to do it as regularly as expected, there were sometimes long interruption in the posting. And I did this without considering completely the implications. In the case of “heads”, I did not miss one day and a few times I posted two drawings on the same day. Up to now, I posted sixty-nine drawings and I made as much as one hundred and forty eight, so that I will be able to keep on posting when I will be unable to keep up drawing when I will be travelling for five weeks in November and December.

Posting one drawing each day during a year is a challenge of steadiness, in production and in presentation. There are many aspects to the regularity and persistence in producing the drawings. Fundamentally, it means putting aside a little bit of time every day and even more in prevision for period where it is impossible to draw. It is necessary that the technical and thematic exploration process develop significantly while renewing itself over such a long period of time. This is the most difficult aspect of the project.

At the technical level, the objective was to take up with my practice of drawing with ink that I had stopped for several decades, but with new pictorial requirements. It started rather simply and spontaneously, between the use of different types of ink (china, acrylic, water based, white), the use of different tools (pen, brushes, droppers, rags), and certain other techniques (wash drawing, impressions and wiping). Changing the order in which those different interventions were done was also important. I must now control the rhythm of development of those different possibilities so that it can go on over a long period of time, which implies a deliberate slowness in the process of exploration. This should not discard the eventually of sudden changes which may lead to bifurcation of the work. It is without saying that when a certain technical balance will be reached, it will be necessary to end the project. If I want it to last for one year, it is certain that I have to advance very slowly and postpone as much as possible the achievement of such a balance. Finally, I should add that I work on quite a small size of paper (15 cm x 20 cm) so that there be a quite close relationship between the size of the drawings and the size on the screen of the computer. This could eventually allow for publishing a book with the drawings printed at their actual size.

Thematically, as the title says it, it has to do with “heads”. It is important to say here that they are not portraits. There are no models behind those images. Although I am fighting against the fact that they are mostly masculine looking, I am aiming at generic images of humanity, playing with the appearance and disappearance of the schematic structure of a face, interlinked with enigmatic signs with no obvious meaning. I try to draw something like the form of a gaze (it does not mean drawing eyes because often time they are not discernible on the drawings). I wish that the viewer feels looked at by the heads on the drawings and feels an invitation to be suck up in those heads as in a foreign world, landscape-heads in a way. I like the idea that everyday many people would pass by those enigmatic heads that, like ghostly flaneurs, throw a brief glance at them, and that with time an experience and a familiarity would develop, that they would expect everyday to encounter a glance of disquieting strangeness. It goes by itself that the thematic exploration needs to develop at the same slow pace as the technical exploration.

Because of the opaque Facebook procedure, I have no way to know how many people se those head from day to day. Some let themselves be known by setting “likes”, “shares” or «comments». Many prefer to go unnoticed and leave no trace of their encounter with the heads. But whether they are known or unknown, I know there are enough people out there so that it worth the time and pain I take to make the drawings. They are «bottle in the sea» thrown on the web. And in a way, I don’t care if, not respecting copyrights, Facebook (or anybody else) claims to have the right to use my drawings (I keep the originals). It is part of the deal, a big treasure hunt, and it is not such a bad thing if “big brother” gives to my “head” project uncontrollable and vertiginous extensions, turning my drawings into vectors that are out of my reach. I am totally at ease with every aspects that come with the fact that this happens on Facebook.

Heads, 1 to 100

Heads, 101 to 200

Heads, 201 to 300

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