The Donadini Effect | Editorial

 

An exclusive interview with Parisian painter, Jean Paul Donadini. Learn more about the painter who made his "mark" on contemporary art as we know it.

By: ANTHONY PRICE

 

It is a commonly held belief that art should move. For many works of Jean-Paul Donadini, motion, matter, and color impose themselves with great import. The artist has participated in exhibitions all over the world. Critics liken his works to the philosophy of doubt, which is to say that Donadini’s art eludes how things seem to pass over and beyond what they should be. To be sure, the artist plays with conventions of two-dimensional painting and material to create delightful, powerful works. Donadini, through his artwork, pays homage to the process of creation.

The collection named Brosses arrêtées (Brushes Stopped) displays a stroke of color placed over canvases, tapestries, prints, or paintings that would seem unfinished or imitative of another artist’s work. “Brosse arrêtée with Rothko’s hand” pays homage to the abstract expressionist painter by imitating Mark Rothko’s exploration of stacked fields of colors with Donadini’s brush left on the painting. The United States Flag finds itself the focus of “Made in the USA,” a work of an American flag that hosts five of its seven red stripes with the sixth stripe almost completed.

Other works in the collection display a different accent. The slacked canvases of many of the Brosses arrêtées rest in a dragged state by the brush that never pulled itself away from the painting. The dragged material would seem to imply incompleteness for the brush has not reached the painting’s edge, yet the frame would be too small if the canvas were taut; the painting would extend beyond its framing if the brush would reach the side. In a sense, the works, to fit their frames, need to not have every brushstroke completed. In an interview with The Khollected, Donadini spoke about leaving the brush on the work.

The brush represents creation, but in the case of Donadini’s works, it also can stand for connection. The paintings range in their references from the aforementioned Rothko painting to pop art to an homage to the de Stijl movement in the two paintings named after Mondrian. The connections speak to the neverending creative process; movements will come and go, as will the artists, yet the brush will continue to paint. While there might be ends to the life, times, and ideas of an artist, the process of creation does not end. Even the artist cannot decide to put an end to it. For the Brosses arrêtées, creation and the finished product lies within the brush, not the canvas. The artist’s wink to the creative process of painting leaves the works in a state of perceived but not true incompleteness. If art should indeed move, Donadini’s take on “the gesture of the artist” implies motion and the act of creation on a stagnant, finished painting.

The artist’s work extends beyond stretched canvases and hanging brushes, however. Donadini experiments with other media, including lipstick. In the same interview, Donadini explained his inspiration for leaving the brush on the canvas and picking up lipstick, as he noted,

“[f]or me lipstick represents fire, blood, and love. I make a tribute to sensuality, to femininity.”

His first work shows this, using Marilyn Monroe as the subject. Five other works in his collection pay tribute to Coco Chanel, another pinnacle of femininity. The lipstick paintings carry quiet energy— the profile of Brigitte Bardot carries an almost art pop-esque shading and detailing, but the cleanliness of the work ends at the neck, where the lipstick zigzags, resembling how an artist would sign off their work.

“Coco Chanel No.2” carries the same frantic zigzags that end the shading of the dress instead of filling it out. It is as if these portraits could serve as these women’s signatures. Like the Brosses Arrêtées, the creative utensil rests on the artwork, perhaps for the same reason of materializing Donadini himself in these paintings or at the lease allude to the creative process of all artists.

“When I'm facing the white canvas, I express myself, I order my imagination. This is essential for an aesthetic reflection. I am in constant exploration whether in the use of materials or looking for new projects,” said Donadini. The perpetual search for new ideas and influences have taken his works from Colombia to Tokyo. It has connected Donadini to the eternal process of creation, an act in constant motion.

“. . . the painter's stopped brush evokes me personally, the gesture of the artist materialized in a painting. Leaving the brush on the canvas, I wanted to make a wink to the process of creating a painting, but also as an artist working in his studio, to honor all these short breaks which constitute the life of an artist . . . A painting is comparable to an unfinished building site, only the artist can decide to put an end to it. The brush represents for me an instant of the creation, ‘the gesture of the artist.’”

Portrait shot by Sarah Sanou for The Khollected Magazine

Portrait shot by Sarah Sanou for The Khollected Magazine

Portrait shot by Sarah Sanou for The Khollected Magazine

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