‘The works connected with the Hourloupe cycle are linked closely to one another in my mind; each of them is an element intended for insertion into a whole. That whole aims to be the depiction of a world unlike ours, a world parallel to ours, if you like; and this world bears the name L’ Hourloupe’ (Jean Dubuffet quoted in R.Bouvier (ed.), Jean Dubuffet: Metamorphoses of a Landscape, Fondation Beyeler 2016, p. 166).
Consisting of detailed and intricate cellular patterns of red, white and blue, executed in 1966-1967, Épanchement du logos is a hypnotic large-scale sculpture, an outstanding example of Jean Dubuffet’s latest and most celebrated series, L’Hourloupe (1962-1973). With its complex combination of coloured segments, in which space is no longer constructed around a visible centre, the work quivers with vivacity and movement. Originally conceived as a series of scribbles in red and blue ballpoint pen on a white background, Épanchement du logos soon acquired physical materiality as Dubuffet turned the ephemeral doodles into a three-dimensional sculpture, creating a large corpus of sculptural works that proliferate throughout the entire cycle of L’Hourloupe. Dubuffet defined works from the series as ‘unleashed graphisms’ or ‘drawings which extend and expand in space’, rather than painted sculptures (J. Dubuffet quoted in M. Harrison, L. D. Rosenfeld, Artwalks in New York, New York and London, 2004, p. 6). As we gaze into the multiple tessellating segments, each cell of Épanchement du logos invites the viewer to take a new approach to the artwork. As the artist has described, ‘the aim is to bring together in a single gaze various different moments of the gaze. The result is a mechanism similar to what in music we call polyphony … It seems to me that anyone who wants to communicate an idea of what is happening in his or her mind at any time can only do so by way of a cacophony of dissonant elements’ (J. Dubuffet, quoted in D. Marchesseau, Catalogue Dubuffet, exh. cat. Fondation Gianadda, Martigny 1993, p.160).
Épanchement du logos perfectly captures the raw purity and energy that distinguishes the entire series of L’Hourloupe. This new cycle represented a departure from Dubuffet’s traditional pictorial practice and a move towards the invention of a new language, which refined the artistic process to a few hues of colour and minimalist shapes that slotted into one another like a puzzle. L’Hourloupe represented an experimental series for Dubuffet, as it was the first time he worked with three dimensions as a painter and a sculptor, producing a significant number of works employing materials such as polyester, polystyrene and epoxy resin. The artistic and technical process of Épanchement du logos stemmed from a previous work by the artist entitled Paysage avec quatre personnages, created in 1961 in conjunction with the now-legendary Paris Circus series. The playful spectacle of the present work reached its culmination in the monumental and architectural installation, Coucou Bazar, created in 1973 and exhibited in prestigious major retrospectives of the artist at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Grand Palais, Paris. By allowing his winding lines to seize the third dimension, Dubuffet’s revolutionary art practice built an alternative reality, inhabited by symbols or, as he used to call them, logos – a sort of temporary language subject to artistic creation. As he explained: ‘The works connected with the Hourloupe cycle are linked closely to one another in my mind; each of them is an element intended for insertion into a whole. That whole aims to be the depiction of a world unlike ours, a world parallel to ours, if you like; and this world bears the name L’ Hourloupe’ (Jean Dubuffet quoted in R.Bouvier (ed.), Jean Dubuffet: Metamorphoses of a Landscape, Fondation Beyeler 2016, p. 166).