/ Story of Painting

Jean Claude Wouters

About the

Video O.S.:Jean Claude Wouters

"In order to leave no trace
When you act,
You should do it
With your whole body,
Like a bonfite."

My name is Jean Claude Wouters.I was born in Belgium, in Old Europe, in Flanders,the land of the Flemish Primitive Painters.

When I was a child,their paintings were everywhere,on posters in the school corridors,in train stations,and even on post stamps.I was so moved by the face of “la Vierge à l’Enfant”, the Madonna.As a little child, for holidays,we used to go to the sea side, at “la mer du Nord”,Turner’s Skies Drawings.

The adults told me that,if I look in the distance,far far away,I would see a line,the horizon
the limit between the sea and the sky.So every evening I was sitting,facing the sea,searching for that line with all my strength and not finding it.Getting angry,as angry a five years old can get when he doesn’t get the logic.

After two years,I let it go, I let it flow,and then I saw the sky flowing in the water,and the sea disappearing in the sky.

It was a whole,and I was part of it.There was no difference between “it”and me, experiencing “it”.I was overwhelmed by this feeling of sacredness and spirituality.It is at this exact moment,at 7 years old,that I became an artist.

At 12, I enrolled in the Academy to learn drawing and painting.The nice and particular thing about drawing,is you have to get out of yourselfto feel the nature of the think you draw.To become the thinks you draw.

At 14,I thought becoming a film director would be more fulfilling,images, colour, sound, flesh, editing.But there were no film school for teenagers,so Destiny brought me to a dance school.There I learned ballet, modern dance, music reading, singing and acting.

As with drawing,the nice thing about acting,is you have to become the character you play,even better,find this character in you.Later I went to Mudra,the school of Maurice Béjart,for professional performers of all kind,and from all over the world.From Mudra I went to Japan,with an introduction letter from Maurice Béjart to Issey Miyake.

"Western dance begins
With its feet firmly planted on the ground
Whereas butoh begins with a dance
Wherein the dancer tries in vain to find his feet."
—Tatsumi Hijikata

In Japan I made experiment films and performances.From Japan to Italy,where I danced for one year and a half.And from Italy to Paris,to become a Film Director.For all that time,in all those countries,at any age,I never stopped painting.

In Paris, as a Film Director,my speciality was to film women in a simple and elegant manner.I was so lucky to make several films with Isabella Rossellini for Lancôme.And looking at her face,in the camera viewer,and over and over in the editing room,I felt again,this overwhelming emotion,I had, as a seven years old at the sea side.And this is where the portraits started.

"In silence
Using photography as a painter
And doing everything as a dancer
To drift like clouds
And flow like water
Life taught me dance
So I just follow life"
—Jean Claude Wouters,2022

Jean Claude Wouters:Light of Void

2022.11.23 - 2023.09.03

ALIEN Art Centre

Curatorship and Setting-up
Yaman Shao, Jérôme Neutres


With the support of

Turner’s Skies Drawing.