Jean-Noël Chazelle

Chazelle’s paintings mix science with philosophy and poetry into a visual alchemy. While taking his first steps, he met Montserrat Dalí who encouraged him to paint, he was supported by the family of Catalan philosopher Francesc Pujols  and delved into more profound philosophical depths which were subsequently captured through any possible art form. 

Jean-Noël Chazelle

With a background in performance, he has fashioned a series of paintings that move as much as any human before a crowd and change with that movement. The painter captures the space in between us. He draws inspiration from the Ancient Greek world, his arealistic origins and the idea of the atomic perspective, connecting the larger vision of the Universe with the much smaller inner one; he discusses the rebirth and the perspective of the transformation for the chrysalis which while being afraid of evolving, it is actually liberated from the very act of evolution itself, an aspect which, nowadays, seems almost necessary to be achieved by the entire.

Jean-Noël Chazelle

When was the first time you realized that you were ready to become an artist? 

I understood that very early, without conceptualizing it. In my very first memories, I was placed in a circle of infinite muses, a circle of women singing harmonics and drumming vegetables to make flour. As children, we were placed in the middle. This was the time I realized I wanted to be invisible in between matter. I started taking photographs at age five, all blurry...To state my father: “I want to capture the invisible”. I was born in Dakar,Senegal. I’m a French-African-Catalan.

You were a performance artist at the Cledalique Gallery in Cadaqués, Spain, established by Salvador Dalí and Miette. Could you tell us a little bit about it?

The Cledalique was founded by Miette and Salvador Dalí. It was a gallery on top of the hill, in front of the church of Cadaqués. I have been in charge of creating performances for 7 years, with total freedom. The very first one concluded with a concert of Rostropovich inside the church; the priest was so touched that he blessed me at the end of the performance; we had the support of the Pujols family, the great Catalan philosopher who defended Dalí, Miró and Gaudí. Montserrat who was the closest to Salvador was very supportive and encouraged me to get involved with painting. Montserrat, Miette and Teeny Duchamp created a concept called Arealism, and they wanted me to become the continuation of it. Arealism is neither over (surrealism) nor under (underground) but near and different,because it involved the invisible, the unknown that is bombarding everyone with infinite particles, vibrations that connect the smallest to the bigger, the multidimensional. Later on, Miette showed a video from a performance to Teeny Duchamp, in Paris. It was a homage I created for her husband,Marcel; she really enjoyed it and commented: “Marcel would have loved that”. It was a woman dressed with selected articles from newspaper, on top of broken glasses, scattered on the floor. I was doing a reading by undressing her slowly from the newspaper articles; an aleatory poem made from everyday facts.

Dalí was for me a driving force, an ode to human freedom and creativity. I spent my days and nights in Cap de Creus (near Cadaqués, in Catalonia), the exact place where he draw inspiration to create his surreal paintings. I had a main vision there that opened for me the door of the fourth dimension. The connection between the smaller and the larger.

1992-The bath of Immortals with Montserrat

Later on, I met neuroscientists in Beverly Hills, since I worked with David Dubin, who confirmed to me the exact vision I had. Indeed, cosmic particles were bombarding the brain every second and depending on our way of reaction or interaction, our brain can become an ocean reflecting the cosmos.

Chazelle was back to Cadaques where he started With "the bath of immortals": A performance in 1991

 Mstislav Rostropovich played Violoncello, the Pujols family, Montserrat Dali came and hydromel was served.

17 years after his first series of paintings on paper in 1997 a second series is now processing in Cap de creus place where he got "the eagle eyed vision":

The door of the forth dimension

In your work, there is always a journey from the personal universe to the Universe, the importance of the shadow as a part of the body, the re-composition of the form as an interface to human evolution through the space-time continuum. Do share your thoughts. 

I used to say, then I wrote it into my poems: “the shadow is a body sung by the moon”. The skin is just a filter from the inner to the outer. The way we envision reality is very limited, the three-dimensional representation is wrong. The body is vibrating; it cannot be defined by a flat surface. This is just a nihilist approach, something full of nostalgia and close to depression. We’re so frightened that we like to define the surface of what we see as not moving, as being really stable, when it is not; the surface is in fact moving, vibrating, making very strange things, but our brain stabilizes all that. I think the more we are going to evolve and develop humanity, the more our perception is going to evolve, and I just think the weight, the equilibrium that we have established, is something that is ruled by fear. Infinity is here kissing everyone. That’s how I got more involved into Hyparxis. The neo platonic Greek concept, Francesc Pujols and H iparxiologia or the science of existence.“The angel is the tree awake in the sky” he used to say.

How do you spend the quarantine?

Like every other day; “Confinement is the normal state of the literate”, used to say Albrecht Durer (1471-1528). I had a stock of material and decided to develop an Idea that Miette gave to me a long time ago: “Drawer paintings”. I started small pocket artworks for libraries or for travels, which you can carry in your suitcase. I wrote Poems and created even more. 2020 is a year of 13 moons. I started my very first series of Canvas in 1999, a year of 13 moons.

Tell us a little bit about your book “Star-Blood”

“Star-Blood” is my very first poetry book, published by Poet Republik in California and was translated into English and into French. We made a first reading in Berlin with the Allen Ginsberg Trust and the Burrough S. Estate. My editor, Maria Teutsch, from the Henry Miller Memorial Library commented on my writings: “As a poet, Jean Noel creates landscapes of the soul: a river of color flowing and reminding us that as humans, survival is not enough: there is so much more to life; galaxies within galaxies waiting for us to explore. His art reminds us that there is a life force waiting to explode inside each one of us, if we dare to milk it from the blood of stars.”

What is more important to you: the essence or the underlying reality? “Pique Dard soleil” ...What does the Sun mean to you?

The essence is the only matter of importance, the inner fire; this painting has, like all my artworks, a title from my poems. Pique Dard soleil  states: 

“Sting away, Sun. 

Night is my ally. 

Whistle absurd tunes, but silence is the law. 

Emptiness: my heart sparks. 

The invisible dance of the universe”.

The inner fire is the main treasure you have, the one that no-onecan steal. However, do not think that consumerism will not do its best to steal it from you. Then, you lose your verticality, then you become haunted by your own reflection.

Which is the meaning of “the infinite chrysalis metamorphosis” that nowadays is so relevant because the entire world needs to experience a rebirth?

“The infinite chrysalis metamorphosis allows the human being to pass through.

The exact projection of these fears on the screen of our lives, the lost reflection recovered by Narcissus. Then, begins a dance on the sea foam, the epic voyage. Myth is within hand’s reach. Wind is on the nape of the neck, naturally recapturing fire.”

Which is the deeper meaning of chaos in your work?

I really wanted to transcend the manipulation of history and concepts, because they just regulate our vision and they make us really sad about reality, because that’s not enough from what we could consider; I wanted to have a different vision compared to a man who was walking on Earth, looking at everything from the human level. I think we have to watch things from another level, a cosmogenic level, not only at human level. It’s closer to reality to perceive things at the cosmos level than at the human level.


Jean-Noel Chazelle is a French artist living in Paris. He works on multiple supports (paintings, sculptures, performances, installations) and various media (photos, movies, sound). After 7 years of performances in Cledalique Gallery, created by Salvador Dalí and Miette in Cadaqués in the north of Spain, and encouraged by Teeny Duchamp, he returned to painting and begun to experiment with acrylic paint on plexiglass, in 1997. He went to the United States after his first exhibition at Sacha Tarassof who associated him with Support Surface. Jean-Noel has a large collection of artworks in permanent display in Noama, a museum in Massachussetts, located in front of the MASS MoCA.

His works have been included in numerous collections: the one of the DeRosa family that belongs to Guggenheim, the Bob and Mary Decelles collection in Miami, the Bo Peabody collection in New York, the Carole Levy collection in Los Angeles, the Joel Cohen collection, as well asthe Claude Klotz collection in Paris. He was the last artist to be included in the Joseph Nahmad collection. His first poetry book was published by Poet Republik, a California-based micro-press. In October 2019, he exhibited in Berlin and read his poems at the William S. Burroughs Estate, the Allen Ginsberg Trust and the Henry Miller Memorial Library at the Sprechsaal Gallery.