For FIAC 2020 Pippy Houldsworth Gallery will present work by Jacqueline de Jong made in 1960s Paris, showing for the first time how the artist’s practice emerged from her involvement with the radical Situationist International (SI) and against the backdrop of wider social change. Rare and unseen archival material and early paintings, many hidden in private collections since the ‘60s, will shed light on her revolutionary network whilst exploring the diversity of a practice encompassing painterly, performative and collaborative work.
The presentation is timely at a moment of increasing interest in SI and overdue recognition of de Jong. The proposed works include two paintings first shown in Paris in 1966 in La Vie Privée des Cosmonautes, her solo exhibition at Galerie Zunini. Other works include two Suicidal paintings (1964-5) also made in her studio in rue de Charonne. FIAC, held in the city fundamental to de Jong’s development and her engagement with Guy Debord and his circle, is the ideal forum for the presentation.
Comprehensive documentation of the period elucidates de Jong’s embrace of the avant-garde, as seen in personal responses to Debord’s La Societé du Spectacle, both in her Cosmonaute series (1966) and TV drawings (1966). Posters designed, printed and distributed by de Jong show her commitment to the student riots of ’68, while others advertise the artist’s own ‘happenings’, many opposing the sexism rife within the SI. A wide selection of letters, manifestos, printed material, photography and other archival material will be on view, interspersed with de Jong’s work. The material includes, among much else, a recently uncovered personal letter from Asger Jorn to Debord requesting that he reinstate de Jong (after her expulsion) into the SI to reinvigorate their cause; photo-documentation of de Jong’s collaboration with Pinot Gallizio; correspondence between Jorn and de Jong; and a draft address from de Jong in 1964, articulating the aims of The Situationist Times. Founded and edited by de Jong, The Situationist Times (1962-7) was conceived as a rebuttal to the Internationale Situationniste’s own eponymous magazine. Appropriating the dérive, the publication’s ludic and multidisciplinary approach depended on collaboration. The final edition included original prints by artists such as Wilfredo Lam, Roberto Matta and Antonio Saura, a number of which will also be on view. Archival copies of all six editions and interactive commentary will allow in depth exploration, whilst a labyrinth –the focus of Issue 4 – will cover the booth floor.
Topology, a theme in several editions, is further explored in the Suicidal Paintings. In these works, images of sex, violence and dark humour critique the misogyny de Jong experienced in the SI, whilst also expressing the freedom of the sexual revolution. Combining personal, political and playful expression, the presentation will demonstrate the authenticity of an artist embodying this unique moment in history.