Last journey

Jean-Olivier Hucleux – Friedhof V

Jean-Olivier Hucleux, Friedhof V, 1977, mixed media on wood, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, photo: Carl Brunn

The ongoing series Cimetières [Cementaries] by Jean-Olivier Hucleux is exhibited at the Documenta 5 in Kassel in 1972 and is expanded five years later by Friedhof V from the Ludwig Collection. 

The large-format work shows a hyperrealistic snapshot of the graveyard in Andrésy in minute detail: The view of the back of a slightly hunched over, older woman with a watering can is in the foreground, behind her are the neat rows of graves. With its level of detail, the picture appears to be photographic, but the close observation of the peaceful and quiet scenery instills doubts: The simultaneous presence of sharpness and blur, inconsistent shadow plays, and odd perspectives are challenging one’s perception. These painterly inconsistencies contrast with the peaceful silence depicted but correspond with the content of the picture and the set of questions it raises: What happens after death?