Date I just truly want to listen to you and myself genuinely, please doudou

19.03 – 14.04.2024

Project Project

I just truly want to listen to you and myself genuinely, please doudou

Kiefer Hablitzel | Göhner Art Prize 2023


Jeanne Jacob (*1994, Biel/Bienne), writes, performs and paints.

Jeanne Jacob’s oil fables tell of the potential tensions and contradictions contained in affect, and attempt to paint emotions for which words sometimes do not yet exist. Her figures engage in dialogue on the threshold between theory and practice, where ideals come face to face with the more formidable and ambiguous experience of reality.

Her practice proceeds by intuition, as if gathering things at random. She lets the act of painting itself be her guide. Working with no preconceived composition, she lays down one layer after another, which is at times apparent in the final work, using oils, spray paint and graphite to produce different textures, colours and degrees of transparency. The two central pieces in this exhibition are painted against a coloured background left uncovered in some places, resulting in a certain pinkish tone.

The exhibition layout deliberately includes space for silence and listening. The small-format paintings gravitate around the two main canvases like satellites, tracing aesthetic and narrative linkages. Jacob mixes styles and references with no attempt to hierarchize them. The characters in her work may be fantasy creatures (two-headed beings, monsters (1), plants, humans or animals. Their faces are highly expressive, with features drawn from comic books, realist drawings or sketches.

Jacob’s paintings unfold outside of time, like dreams. Several calm figures appear at the edge of a pond (2). In the water, facing them, two bodies are having sex, or maybe expressing tenderness, or flirting. On their left is a swarm of death-headed ants and a bird whose song may be a warning about some threat emerging out-of-frame where the sky has already darkened. Ambiguity reigns in Jacob’s painting. Apparently contradictory sentiments intertwine, and we can glimpse a certain porosity between the various animate and inanimate objects (3). Like the hand of the character looking at us that changes into something almost like a leaf, as if mimicking its surroundings.

Là où les canards coiquent (4) was inspired by the artist’s reading of the Octavia E. Butler (5) novel Parable of the Sower: “All that you touch, You Change. All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change”. Here Jacob is seeking to translate the impermanence of the emotional states of the

characters represented, rendering them by means of a painting technique that blends and superimposes distinct realities (6). In a more autobiographical or personal vein, sometimes drawing on her own experiences, she presents her cat in human form, her caricatured chosen family, her somewhat ambivalent relationship with her status as an artist and her own self-mocking amorous desire.

In fact, Jacob almost always inserts jokes or ridicule in the titles of her works or the paintings themselves. She has poignancy and grossness sitting at the same table, and toggles quickly between serious and light-hearted tones. For instance, the small painting whose title, C’est toi la grande bouffe (7) brings to mind hedonism and flirting, hangs beside Vieux os (8) which communicates a refusal to give birth in a dystopian world. Nearby, a character plays with our expectations by placing her breasts on the edge of the frame (9).

I just really want to listen to you and myself genuinely, please doudou (10) is an invitation to engage in a dialogue and speak the truth. To honestly listen. And to reflect on the effort – in terms of imagination, attention and empathy – required to construct a more desirable reality in a world that doesn’t resemble us. This humour has its uses: when these attempts turn out to be pathetic failures, it provides a touch of consolation.

U.U. (11)



(1) Looking Back, oil on canvas board, 24×18 cm, 2023

(2) Au bord de l’étang, oil, spray and graphite on canvas, 270×310 cm, 2024

(3) Nachkommen, oil on canvas board, 24×18 cm, 2024

(4) Là où les canards coiquent, oil, spray and graphite on canvas, 270×310 cm, 2024

(5) Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower, 1993

(6) It’s also the case in En comptant les moutons, oil, graphite and varnish on canvas board, 30x24cm, 2024

(7) C’est toi la grande bouffe, oil and graphite on canvas board, 30×24 cm, 2024

(8) Vieux os, oil on canvas board, 30×24 cm, 2024

(9) Waiting at the Window, oil on canvas board, 24×18 cm, 2023

(10) Doudou is a nickname close to darling in French

(11) U.U. is an anonymous collective with variable geometry that considers anonymity a powerful tool.


Book launch Tu vois je m’occupe de tes oignons
Wednesday, 27.03.24, 6pm
with a performance by Beatrice Beispiel, 8pm

CAN team:

Martin Jakob, Sylvie Linder, Nicolas Raufaste, Liza Trottet, Sebastian Verdon