In the 1960s, Dubuffet began one of his most important series of work with the consciously absurd title L'Hourlope that embodied a style and cycle that reflects the culmination of Dubuffet's pictorial ambitions. First done in paintings, Dubuffet gave L'Hourlope corporeal form in Personnage Assis II, 1967, one of the first overtly figurative sculptures of this series. The compulsive geometric patterns born from the artist's thoughtless pen doodles during a phone conversation visually connect the paintings, drawings, and sculptures of this series and bind them together to form one masterful work and theory. As painted three dimensional works, sculptures such as Personnage Assis II, 1967 were to be seen as drawings which extend and expand into space and as figures unable be confined to a constant dimensionality.
Personnage Assis II, 1967 has a deceptively cheerful surface that turns dark and sinister within the contortions of the patterned shapes and mutilated form. The function of color in the L'Hourlope series is to radically remove the objects from the perceptual world through its arbitrary palette restriction that eliminates neutral figurative colors in lieu of flat primary colors. Perception is altered through numerous aspects in Dubuffet's work to the point that all relations of the work to reality are challenged. As stated by Magrite Rowell, "Dubuffet's images, although endowed with an undeniable concrete presence, are in fact the transcription of illusions. Concrete reality is not their source. Although figurative in form, the work insists on deliberate delusions to which the artist has given shape, substance, form and presence." (M. Rowell, Jean Dubuffet: A Retrospective, exh. cat., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1970, p. 27).
The sculpture is hauntingly playful, the visual patters contrasting with the distorted form to evoke a figure more savage than jesting. The unclear boundaries between the real and fantasy, beautiful and grotesque, sanity and compulsion are all explored in Personnage Assis II, 1967, ideas for which Dubuffet is best known and explored throughout his oeuvre and are supremely present in this particular important sculpture. The gray areas between such binary categories are of the utmost importance to Dubuffet as noted in the Guggenheim retrospective catalogue: "The very particular point [of the mind] where an equivocation between the imaginary and the real arises, that point between the domain of evocations and that of objects, posing the greatest threat of slipping from one to the other, that point produces in me uneasiness and discomfort but at the same time it exerts a fascination over me to the point of not knowing if I fear it or if I seek it out and solicit it" (Ibid, p. 29).