The Heurgon Saint Honoré space opened the second opening of its cultural calendar with an exhibition dedicated to Jordan Saget. At the heart of Arnaud and Benjamin Cymerman’s Paris flagship of watches and jewelry, a street artist took over the windows, ground floor and first floor during a live happening in June. His works can be discovered until October next year.
Based in Paris, he developed a unique visual style based on a trio of mysterious lines. Since 2015, he has been roaming the streets drawing his curves with chalk, brush and finger, without ever signing his works, already almost 2000 ephemeral or permanent creations. His works were the subject of exhibitions and collaborations with, among others, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Agnès b., Le Printemps, La Samaritaine…
Culture Franceinfo: when were these lines born? What was the trigger?
Jordan Saget: It’s hard to remember the genesis. It started on paper. Since childhood, I have been looking for some kind of magic formula that would represent reality, perhaps to better understand what is around me. At school I really liked math, geometry: I made squares, added a triangle, tried to make rules… I stopped after BAC.
Later in my 30s, I went through a tough time working in restaurants as a sommelier. I continue to search for the formula, except I have completed seven years of Tai-Chi-Chuan in the meantime. So I change the paradigm, leave the straight line and make the first curve, the second, the third. It’s clear, I found my magic formula! (smile). It was terribly ugly, but I had no choice but to practice. I started on paper, but the artistic approach was born on the street. 99% of my orders came from the street, so I’m still going today!
Why this repetition of three curved lines that give movement to your pieces?
When I discovered my golden rule in 2012-13, I looked for variations on paper. The first curve is the number 1, it is a unit: I didn’t want to deal with that, there was too much. With the 2nd one, I could immediately see that it was frozen and that it was visually not working. The third was imbalance that creates balance, it is life. This was evident graphically.
Do you remember the first time you tracked them down the street?
It was in the Church of the Holy Trinity, where the stairs are. It’s not comfortable at first, so I chose chalk, simply because I didn’t want to get in the way and for it to be erased if it was ugly. That day I understood that drawing a line changes space. It is extraordinary! There I started drawing a new approach to dressing Paris. When I look at photos of my first lines, I wonder why it resonates so well with Paris: but it’s obvious, Paris, art nouveau, curves, lines, arabesques, it matches!
How did you go from chalk to finger ?
The paper was followed by chalk on the floor and wall, then Meudon whitewash on the windows (a product used yesterday to clean glass surfaces) and a series of yellow writings with paint around the holes littering the floor.
It was in 2020, when I was walking down the street where I created the work two years ago, I saw that “toyé” (erase the label or overwrite) my fresco with their finger because they didn’t have to have a marker for it. This led me to the idea of drawing only with my finger. I was thinking about the windows that we will make opaque and I tried applying a thin film with a roller. That’s the difference: it’s translucent, letting light play through shadows.
How do you choose places to display your works?
That’s the easiest. Little by little it becomes instinctive, I see them (my lines), at the moment I go to draw them and I know it will work. The easiest technique is to have the equipment with you. There are times when we think: now is the time to do it!
Did you draw on the no-ad billboards at Concorde tube station?
It is simply one of my fondest memories. In 2015-16 I saw this row of polished concrete panels in the big corridor of this station under construction, I touched them, tried the chalk and it was super nice to work with. I didn’t draw much on the subway so I was worried, but I see there’s no camera! It lasted a week: people who saw me at 8 o’clock in the morning said to me – when they came from work in the evening – are you still here? I loved it, it was like having an incredible exhibition. One day I came in at 2 in the morning to draw on the floor. When the workers who worked there found out that it was me who had covered the areas dedicated to posters, they told me it was wonderful and let me in.
AGAINST will you also divert ads away from bus stops?
This is the second period after the Cretaceous. One day I had an epiphany: I told myself that there is an area that we have forgotten in the city, a window. Thus came Blanc de Meudon. I ended up with a bunch of publicity where I wanted my lines to resonate. They are mostly luxury ads: they are the ones that I find the most beautiful with their elegant and poetic lines.
You produced a live show for Heurgon. How did this meeting go?
I’m quite in demand after shows, but in Heurgon it was interesting to wear jewelry. The result, it is very beautiful, it works very well, especially the metal bracelet that surrounds the beam. The two Cymerman brothers are exceptional, they gave me carte blanche.
If, as in Heurgon, your work can be permanent, in a public space, is it fragile and ephemeral?
Yes, I thought chalk fades. I made so many in Paris that I never returned to the same place: when I passed one of them again two years later, I realized it was still there! On the walls, the chalk is hard in places. I wanted to delete it because it was less beautiful than before. Then I was inclined that she was not less beautiful, but much more beautiful: she had grown old, tarnished, lived. The oldest is on the wall in the rue du Pélican: it was five years ago when I met Jean-Charles de Castelbajc.
Fragility is not fleeting. The oldest one in Meudon white is at my house: she is five years old. It’s fragile because it fades, but it may still be there in 100 years!
Apart from the street, do you also exhibit your works in other media?
Yes, there is a painting here in Heurgon. But I only make them to measure. I created stained glass windows including a rose window in the deconsecrated church of Lardières in Méru (Oise). Soon I will have a project in the sacred church of Joigny (Yonne) with Father Matthieu. It’s very powerful for me.
I also do marble work with my brother Meilleur Ouvrier de France and stonemason: I like to work with artisans and think that in 300 years it will still be around.
On the Loire route by bike in front of Château de Villandry, I will draw over 50 meters and it will take. I also made clothes (dresses, t-shirts) with Agnès.b and I sell trinkets on my website.
You never signed them?
Not signing was one of the best ideas I had. I didn’t want to add more, for me the lines are already signatures. I didn’t want people to think: someone is trying to say something, but what could it mean? But I always sign on the back of my paintings because signing on the front gets in the way… and signing across the street will be complicated! (laugh). The goal is to highlight the lines rather than me!