Project 27

Jean-François Octave: pictures over four decades (1981- 2021)

For its 27th project, OV revisits the work of Belgian artist, Jean-François Octave, from 1981 until 2021.

This exhibition brings his long lasting career to light by creating a dialogue between his early paintings and his most recent works. Each decade will be represented by a selection of emblematic works: the Voyage en Italie series from 1986, the Portraits Moraux from 1991 as well as relics from a public art intervention from the late 90’s early 2000’s.

But most of all, part of his Diary, — a project started in the 1970’s — will be displayed, offering an intimate look into the creative process of Jean-François Octave, his memories, his considerations and other peregrinations. His hundreds of diary entries are as many bridges connecting past to present and present to past, making this last four decades coming full circle.

Jean-François Octave (°1955 - Arlon). Lives and works in Brussels.

The work of Jean-François Octave has always combined both texts and images. Between his diary, celebrity news, sociopolitical and poetical considerations, he weaves a snapshot-like tale bordering with pop art, concept and literature, by mixing photography, painting and other techniques. After studying Architecture at La Cambre (1979), he collaborated in the magazine Soldes-Fin de Série, he produced record sleeves for the Disques du Crépuscule & Factory, as well as posters and drawings for Plan K (Joy Division, Tuxedomoon…).

He subsequently turned to fine arts. He represented the French Community of Belgium at the Venice Biennial in 1986 and exhibited in New York , Paris, Copenhagen… From 1987 to 2011, he was a teacher for the workshop “Images dans le milieu” at l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts ARTS2 of Mons. In the most recent years, he mainly focused on art in the public space: for instance, he produced a thousand meters square project for the metro station Heysel (Brussels 1998-2002), a permanent installation for the Belgian Embassy in Berlin (2001), an urban labyrinth in homage of Marguerite Yourcenar (Brussels 2004), a “Monument de tout le monde” for the gay community (Bruxelles 2077), the metro station La Madeleine in Jumet (2013) and a fresco in tribute to Evelyne Axell in Namur (2017).

Amongst his solo exhibitions are: 1986 “Le dernier des Humanismes”, Venice Biennial (Italy); 1986 “Before & after the beauty”, Galerie Alexander Wood, New York (USA); 1989 “Immortalité-Immoralité”, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; 1992, Joesuun Taidemuseo, Finland; 1994 “Un jeu de l’Art”, Galerie Albert Baronian, Brussels; 1999 “Greatest Hits of Ma Vie”, FRAC Normandie, Caen, France; 2002 “The last show”, Galerie Albert Baronian, Brussels; 2009 “I love Proust”, Espace Uhoda, Liège; 2012 “Private Party”, Espace 105 Besme, Brussels; 2018 “L’exposition qui n’a jamais eu lieu”, C.A.C.L.B. Montauban.

He also took part in group exhibitions such as: 1986 “Au cœur du Maelström”, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; 1989 “Le sentiment de la Catastrophe”, Le Botanique, Brussels; 1991 “Les mots et les images”, MUHKA, Antwerpen; 1995 “Le paysage retrouvé”, Galerie Renos Xippas, Paris; 2006 “Pictos”, ISELP, Brussels; 2008 “Corpus Delicti”, Palais de Justice, Brussels; 2014 “Art Public”, Tournai; 2020 “Surprise ! IDM+JFO”, BPS22, Charleroi.

Ov27 Jfo Duo1

Jean-François Octave

Jfo Texte À Lencre Journal 1981
  • Journal, 1981
  • text in ink

Jean-François Octave

Jfo I Phone Painting 2021
  • D'après "Dois Irmãos" de Yolanda Lederer Mohalyi, 2021
  • iPhone painting