‘Furr’s latest series Jouissance was born after viewing an artificially generated explosion in a lab, a visual that remained with him as a conceptual framework. Referencing the spectacular ending of Zabriskie Point, a five-minute sequence of a single explosion, repeated in super slow motion, demonstrates the abstract quality of film itself. Actual objects are transformed into a riot of color and form.

Taking it further into contemporary language, Christian became interested in the elemental quality of the “fake” explosion, the special effects used to create “reality”. Employing a traditional treatment of the subject, he adopts Warhol’s fascination with mass-production, making multiple versions of a single image. Diamond dust and artificially high color are used to enhance the “special effects”: each canvas is a unique variation, with the artist’s hand and eye altering the single image into an infinite kaleidoscopic view of a one-time event.

The literal translation of Jouissance is physical or intellectual pleasure, delight, or ecstasy. According to the artist, it is the duality of both mind and body that led him to the title for this painting cycle. Intended as an ongoing series, he will continue to explore perception of the artificial and the actual, eventually working with each of the four essential elements in Western culture: earth, air, fire and water. As always, Christian will push the limits of traditional painting while at the same time taking the underlying concepts to new heights.’ – Fran Kaufman 2015

‘There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.’ 

– Mark Twain

Jouissance is a loaded word. ‘In French, ‘Jouissance’ means enjoyment, in terms both of rights and property, and of sexual orgasm — the latter has a meaning partially lacking in the English word “enjoyment”.

The titles from these works come from the poets. They worked in words, I work in images, I want the two to work in unison. I suppose its about the common search for the sublime in abstraction. Transcending human form what lies beyond?

Wordsworth defined “poetry as the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. He said that “it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” This definition comes from the idea of the poet’s creative process. That creative process begins directly from personal experience. When someone has a memorable experience, they sometimes express it by writing or painting and it is composed with a meaningful and beautiful word in mind. In this case the word for the series is ‘Jouissance’

‘For my mind would overflow with tenderness’ Is taken from a letter by Stuart Sutcliffe talking about his love for Astrid Kirchher

‘I do love a girl but I will speak little of her for my mind would overflow with tenderness’

I saw a film of computer generated explosion at a VFX company and when I slowed it down and played it backwards and forwards it looked poetic to me like a painting. I decided to paint it.

Some time later I was doing yoga and relaxing after practise and our French teacher was talking about yogic Buddhist philosophy. There are three Gods all equally important. Brahma as creator, Vishnu as preserver or protector, and Shiva as destroyer/transformer the God of destruction thats when the image of the explosion appeared to me in colours. At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless.

I needed to paint the artificially generated explosion first to make it real – because it turns it into something else. It is originally a shadow of something. By that I mean it is a fabricated image or sequence of images of an explosion made by man – generated with non existent particles by software on a computer. It doesn’t happen in reality. When I paint it, it does ‘happen’, It’s organic and the process of physically making it removes it from a thing that doesn’t actually exist to one that does. The irony is, it is an artistic image of something that is ceasing to exist that will exist forever.

After the original oil painting comes the hand finished coloured works.

If it goes into blackness in a square it’s more about ephemerality of life.

The final diamond dust is the result of the following process:

I paint an artificial digital image of an explosion created with a particle system. The original oil painting is scanned then I alter it digitally and colour it. This altered image is then printed and if is on canvas I paint over it. Then diamond dust is applied on top.

I love ‘Zabriskie Point’ by Antonioni the director of ‘Blow Up’. It ends in explosions and it influenced this series too.

I suppose you could say that ‘Jouissance’ is an image of an intellectual conception of cosmic order.

It’s about the elements and it is a Vanitas symbol. The explosion as a symbol or motif could be seen as the logical conclusion of artists fascination over the centuries with ‘De Natura’, ‘Vanitas’ and ‘effect’.

If Velazquez or JMW Turner were around today I think they would be painting explosions too.

My Jouissance vision conjures up many possibilities :  celestial sensation, ecstacy, spirit, destruction, ephemerality, a gem stone, orgasm, blossoming flower, fertility and a symbol for the release of energy and emotion that is life itself in an instant…

– The joy of life. Release of Energy that is life.

‘All that is solid melts into air’ – Karl Marx

‘Pretty soon I’ll be blown away’ – Beach Boys

‘I still love explosions to this day’ – Ginger Baker

‘The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it …’ – Bukowski

‘The very centre of your heart is where life begins, the most beautiful place on earth’

– Rumi

‘One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star’

– Nietschze

– Christian Furr 2015