Executed in the winter of 1955, Raisons et Lieux ("Reasons and Places") is one of the first of Dubuffet's Tableaux d'Assemblages ("Assembled Paintings") an important series of work that preoccupied the artist from November 1955 to December 1956 and which formed a major breakthrough for the artist. Writing shortly after the completion of these works Dubuffet recalled his excitement over their potential and their importance for the future development of his art, as follows:
"I looked forward to making all sorts of experiments with different textures, spots, maculation's, etc. cutting out the parts that pleased me, and assembling them as I chose... I was so anxious to get started on these new works that, in spite of my intention of waiting for new quarters, I began a whole series of preliminary paintings to be used in these assemblages... As soon as I began the cutting up of these canvases, I felt that in this method I was going to find what I had looked for in vain from other methods, very nearly the same effects as those obtained in the butterfly-wing collages. Very similar too were the series of colours in these new paintings, in which colour was diffused in the same way over the whole picture, so that the exact colour was forgotten, eluded analysis, producing a bright pearly shimmering, but by means of what colours it was impossible to say. I had already noticed while making the tiny assemblages of wings, in which so many different colours produced an overall effect of a diaphanous irridescent haze, impossible to analyse and richly luminous, that here I had found a system of using colour diametrically opposed to the decorative use of large areas of strongly contrasting brilliant colours, adopted by painters for the last sixty years..."
"By this totally different use of colour, taking from it all decorative property and aiming only at obtaining an effect that would be striking simply because of the feeling it gives of intense life, I was opening up, it seems to me, a vast new field of research. It was in this direction... that the Tableaux d'Assemblages were orientated from the beginning, and have continued to be ever since... In addition, this new assemblage method, from the very beginning, seemed to lend itself perfectly to the treatment of those subjects which had preoccupied me for months past, being the grasses and tiny plants growing along the roadside... the gardens and soil rich in humus covered with twigs and decayed leaves with their very complex textures, and finally stony mountain soil overgrown with a small modest vegetation - wild thyme, moss and lichens - carpets of coarse turf... Now my Tableaux d'Assemblages had these same themes as their subjects... I feel quite sure at the moment of writing these lines that after a whole year given up to these exercises, whatever paintings I may choose to paint from now on will be strongly marked by this technique even if they never make use of it. In any case I shall undoubtedly return to it periodically as a source of stimulation and renewal" (J. Dubuffet quoted in Dubuffet, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1962. pp. 116-123).