François de Coninck, “J’ai de la chance”

François de Coninck, J’ai de la chance

Watercolours by Damien De Lepeleire.

Artist Book. 64 pages printed on Munken Bioset 150 gr. paper. Format 22 x 18 cm. Hard cover. December 2020.


J’ai de la chance offers us a dizzying dive into the existential, emotional and sexual loneliness of a hyper-connected world. Who has never, out of curiosity, weariness or despair, asked Google a question to which there seems to be no answer? François de Coninck asked Google from several computers (and therefore from different user profiles), with queries such as: “Why my husband”, “Why my wife”, “Why girls”, “Why desire”, “Why artists”, … and one is forced to note an astonishing similarity in the suggestions returned, all profiles combined. J’ai de la chance thus raises fundamental questions about the place Google has taken in our daily lives, at a time when increasingly intrusive voice assistants are multiplying. The project’s particularity also lies in its form: the author then sent his screen captures to Damien De Lepeleire, who transposed them into watercolours. This work is part of a more global approach to reinterpreting the concept of Still Life: rather than painting apples and pears in dishes, Damien De Lepeleire paints letters. This practice of freehand typography, which evokes the art of calligraphy, does not allow for any repentance and produces a result that is imperfect by nature (the size of the letters, or that of the spaces that separate them, are variable). This imperfection appears to be a counterpoint to the digital rigour of fonts as they appear on a screen. But after all, didn’t Steve Jobs often remind us that, without his passion for calligraphy and typography, the Mac would probably never have existed?”

Pierre-Yves Desaive, art historian and critic, curator for contemporary art at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

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