Billiards, 1976-78

Billiards, 1976-78

Since the 1960s, Jacqueline de Jong has evolved a complex and versatile body of work that is articulated through varied forms and formats, finding its greatest concentration in painting. De Jong’s practice makes contact with several touchstones of the post-war avant-garde but also forges its own counter-narrative, one that is distinctly shaped by her intellectual vigor, aesthetic acuity and irreverent spirit. At its core, de Jong’s work is an account of what she recognizes as three dominant ingredients of humanity: eroticism, humor and violence. Billiards, 1976-78 marks Château Shatto’s second solo exhibition with Jacqueline de Jong and the first occasion that the artist’s ‘billiards’ series has been the subject of a dedicated exhibition since the paintings were initially shown. The exhibition opens concurrently with de Jong’s retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum, which also includes examples from this series. In the game of billiards, many of de Jong’s intrigues align: structurally, it is a game with an underlying system determining rules of exchange; semantically, it is rich with innuendo and the suggestion of sex; and formally, the billiard table reproduces the rectilinear plane of a painting. What is depicted in these works is not the tactics or outcome of the game, but the latent tensions and interpersonal dynamics that play out in this ‘wordless theatre’. While the game itself doesn’t require dialogue, it’s the names given to the objects and actions of billiards that account for at least some of de Jong’s attraction to this subject. In a catalogue from a 1977 exhibition of ‘billiards paintings’ at Gallery Brinkman, Amsterdam, de Jong remarks: Billiards is bursting with eroticism: a game played with cue and balls, with terms such as massage, piqué, touché. The cue tip, which is twisted into the blue chalk. The space between visual representation and linguistic expression concerns de Jong throughout the span of her six decade practice, and is neatly inflected in these works

Billiards, 1976-78

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