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La Depeche du midi

The Revelation of Saint John

(Translated from French by JLB).
Diagonal Café, Toulouse

Illuminated golds, violent contrasts of red and yellow inherited from the Mozarabic apocalypses, angels and demons, saints and patriarchs, crosses, ciboriums, candlesticks: at first glance, Jane Le Besque’s work seems to come straight out of some pious and barbaric Middle Ages.

However, a first examination of the paintings immediately reveals some rather un-Catholic details in this profusion of religious symbols: the lips hemmed with angels are obviously those of women, the saints’ faces, too beautiful and too smooth, could be those of androgynous women, the biblical figures depicted (among whom the artist sometimes portrays himself) are often nothing but perverts or prostitutes. In fact, what Jane Le Besque proposes is not a return to sacred art, but an ironic rereading of an entire iconography that reveals its barbaric strangeness.

Of English origin, the artist behaves towards the themes of the Western faith in the same way as the painters of the Renaissance did towards those of the Greco-Latin religions: the Judeo-Christian religion becomes mythology here. The artist’s environment is not, moreover, foreign to this process: working for three years in Toulouse, at the foot of the Dalbade bell tower, the painter says he is influenced by the atmosphere of this old quarter and admits to having tried to build up a “medieval mentality”. She is currently the guest of the Vertical association.

Jane Le Besque