French Rule: Jean-Baptiste Andre at DiverseWorks

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Jean-Baptiste Andre

Jean-Baptiste Andre begins Interieur Nuit looking like a dazed boy just waking up to find himself trapped in plain wood room complete with one tiny window and two small lights. At first, Andre orients to his environment with a sense of childlike wonder. His protean feet dance to show off his remarkable dexterity and ingenious choreography. Once Andre actually starts moving through space–look out. Andre dances with astounding grace, executing moves I didn’t know were humanly possible. He is as comfortable dancing on the wall as he is on the floor. Also, he spends a considerable amount of time standing on his hands while his legs wobble freely in the air. He seems immune to the laws of gravity as his unstudied style amazed and amused throughout the piece.

Enter the camera, adding an entirely new perspective. In one sequence, he balances on the wall in such a way that the camera places him causally sitting on the floor. The piece takes a sinister turn when he encounters a pile of clothes and attempts to put them all on resembling some kind of crazed rag monster. Still, he creates wondrous, almost clown-like, movements within the clothes. The piece ends with a stunning close-up of his hands and feet projected on the wall in a tender ballet. In the end, he transcends entrapment through his relentless probing of visual and kinetic possibilities.

Reprinted from the Houston Press.


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