VISIONARY REVUE

TWO LANDS- Jean-Pierre Ugarte

JEAN-PIERRE UGARTE
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      In the landscapes of Jean-Pierre Ugarte, time now shifts to a post-apocalyptic world where massive stone structures offer silent testimony to epic cultures long-since destroyed and forgotten. Though a powerful light may illuminate these massive ruins, an overall sense of defeat prevails. Here too, falling water or meandering streams hint at the hope of new growth, new life.
      Ugarte was born in 1950 in Bordeaux and presently works in Pau in the Pyrenées.
      His vision is admirably evoked by Michel Random when he describes: "...a world suddenly petrified and fossilized, an ancient human metropolis of gigantic, rigid massess and immovable, hostile blocks. These cubic cliffs of black concrete appear in strong contraposition to the rolling landscapes where an all-powerful nature progressively invades and reclaims its territory.
      A striking contrast emerges between power and desolation, where neither humans nor animals persist. Like a burial shroud, an ochre light envelops this vision of the end of the world. Is this fantastic realism or a vision of the near-future? Beware of such visionaries, since they risk becoming the accurate forecasters of the future."
(55)
      For the artist himself, the landscape is "...not so much a description of a place, but of a state within my own soul." (56)
      In the case of all these artists, we must remember that their works evoke 'the interior landscape': a territory explored behind the eyes, and only in a state



 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004

THE PRISONER - Jean-Pierre Ugarte

of vision. These images are not only timeless, but take place in the infinite depths of the mind's interior. Like dreams, they explore spaces that extend ever further inward:
      "The foreground of my works are well-defined," Ugarte says, "but the more we advance towards the back, the more the forms are lost in the light. These images are interrogations into who we are and where we are going." (57)
      
This journey into the interior takes place temporally as well as spacially. To evoke lost civilizations is to pursue, in Ugarte's words "the ephemeral side of man in relation to that which he builds - and which endures even beyond himself." (58)
      
Man builds in order to shelter and protect himself. Or worse, he attempts to build ever-lasting monuments to his own glory. But, after the catastrophe, his constructions continue to stand as strange reminders of his all-too-present absence. Without knowing it, he has built his own mausoleum and epitaph - though no one is left to read their strange inscriptions.
      And so, as Ugarte concludes enigmatically: "The notion of lost time in my works seeks to depict that which we ourselves cannot understand." (59)



 
 
 


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