Marja-Leena Rathje
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Jean Detheux


Still from 'Sogna Sakha 2005' © 2006 Jean Detheux

Back in July, I wrote about Belgian-Canadian artist Jean Detheux, who creates wondrous works entirely digitally after giving up painting for health reasons. If you missed it, please go read it first and then come back here.

Through the magic of the internet, Jean Detheux chanced upon my article and sent me a nice email thanking me for my words. He also wrote that his work has evolved since that last interview of several years ago and that his new material (animation and interview) can be seen here. I enjoyed looking at his new animations set to music.

From the interview, I learned that Jean has produced some films for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). This piqued my interest even more since I've written here about the NFB and Norman McLaren a couple of times. Jean gives a nod to McLaren by calling his DVD "Volatile materials"**, containing his two NFB films, as an "abstract animation after McLaren." It is amazing to compare McLaren's hand drawn films from the 1940's to today's digital animations, to see the march of technology.

Have a look at the NFB site - there's a a short biography, and some stills from Liaisons and Rupture. I think these are beautiful glimpses of what must be gorgeous films.

I asked Jean if he's still teaching as well. He wrote: "I was just asked to conduct a master-class at the NFB theatre (in Montréal) in celebration of the "International Animation Day" on the 28th of October. This will be made of three parts: a lecture/master-class, followed by the projection, in HD, of my 2 NFB films, "Laisons" and "Rupture," followed by yet another "happening," during which I hope to be able to improvise images/animation while 2 great musicians, Joane Hétu and Diane Labrosse will improvise their music."

**Jean adds: 'the "Volatile Materials" DVD contains also works by Chris Hinton and a few others, so it is not "mine" only even if it holds my 2 NFB films'.

Marja-Leena | 14/09/2006 | 3 comments
themes: Films, Other artists


If I weren't so tight I would snap that DVD up. I'm already frighted by my behaviour of hanging around the HDTVs in the back of Walmart, what would the combination of the two lead to? Probably only my smoking shoes would be left behind.

I loved the Norman McLaren films when I saw them ages ago and some other early experimental animations. Sometimes I feel that more sophisticated technology hasn't always produced more interesting work.
Will look at more of Detheux's work, have only seen snippets. Thanks for this, M-L.

Bill, I know what you mean about being tight! I'd really like to get that DVD, plus the McLaren set. I need to sell more prints, sigh.

Natalie, I wonder if we appreciate the older works more because people like McLaren were the fathers of animation, who set the path for later artists. Yet, though I'm no expert on film, I wonder if today's digital experiments are not also another new frontier in the film field?