Art : knowledge, reflections, action

Prior to that extraordinary night, Joukhadar had not really been interested in 20th century art. He was familiar with and very sensitive to Chinese art, to Middle Eastern art with its marvels of craftsmanship, but also to the various forms of Western art. His deep interest in archaeology also made him sensitive to the artistic production of antiquity.

He could be moved by a Buddhist rock painting as well as a Lalique vase or the portraits of Al-Fayum. He could become ecstatic before a Phoenician glass mosaic plate or a small Inca statue, dream in front of an Assyrian bas-relief, or spend hours meditating over the symbolism of a Gothic monument.

From this turning point in his life, he began to actively participate in the art of his time, following a fundamental line of thought: What is indeed the mission of the artist, the justification and the value of a work of art? How can one contribute intelligently to the corpus of art?

Thus, driven by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, he began a detailed and passionate exploration of psychology and philosophy, from the pre-Socratic thinkers to Koehler and Alain. In parallel, he deepened his knowledge of art history so that, very quickly, he possessed a global cultural and artistic background. As he later received his diplomas in History of Art and Archaeology from the Sorbonne in Paris, his command of the field made him an expert in areas as diverse as the symbolism of geometric patterns in Islamic art, Ayyubid architecture or the Italian Renaissance.

Joukhadar’s thoughts on art allowed him to set himself apart as soon as 1971, when he established the refined and distinct canons of ‘symetrism’, the first style he defined.

At the same time, from 1972 to 1974, he produced a first series of masterpieces totally different in style: the “War – Extroverted” series. The sketches exhibit a true mastery of watercolour, a most rebellious and subtle technique.

This was just the beginning of a long list of works in a disconcerting variety of styles, the manifestation of a most atypical artist. Over the next ten years, Joukhadar creates more than 600 works of art, intensely and simultaneously in styles that are surprisingly mature and diverse. It is hard for anyone to believe that this virtuoso in the use of colour and figurative painting is the same artist who produced abstract, extremely refined, almost monochrome works.

Indeed, from 1972 to 1985, Joukhadar produces works of a refined realism that seem to come from a by-gone age, technical jewels, marvels in the art of ink, watercolour and pastels. The ‘Thirty Three Variations on a Theme’ and the ‘Symbol Portraits’ are perfect examples.

However, these works are on the fringe of his main pictorial production, which is driven by radically opposed aesthetics. Based on a highly intellectual and philosophical approach that is almost gnostic, the styles of ‘Evolution of a Pattern’ in 1977, the remarkable ‘Continuous Line’ in 1978 and the esoteric pattern ‘Mim-Ha’ in 1979 are a humanistic and initiatory shortcut to understanding the world.