Because of grief, injury or perhaps vexation, she cried. Her last tear purifies her soul from all bitterness and dissipates the turmoil. She regains confidence, finds peace, a certain philosophy and the courage to love life. She takes a deep breath and raises her head, radiant, beautiful, serene.
The theme could recall a famous ‘Crying woman’, where Picasso expresses his view of a woman who makes ‘her’ scene. A view of a man overcome by all this agitation, put off by the ugliness of facial expressions and groans, disgusted by the torrents of tears and nasal secretions which the hysterical ballet of the handkerchief accentuates. Although powerful in its expressiveness, Picasso’s painting remains painful and negative as it makes a grotesque observation of woman.
With the unexpected choice of the moment of the last tear, Joukhadar decided to show in this ‘symbolic work’ a woman neither weak nor grotesque. He pays tribute to the feminine soul perceived in all its delicacy, its sensitivity and its subtlest nuances.
‘Just after the last tear’ is a typical example of Joukhadar’s approach to the essential: everything superfluous is suppressed, without falling into an aesthetic dryness or a sad aesthetic destitution.
A brown, an austere and autumnal colour, expresses the sweet melancholy of this beautiful soul. In contrast, the fresh blue of the torso expresses the freshness of a puff of deep air that puts an end to the warm tears; it is also the blue of a recovered peace.
Some optimism and positive ideas tint the ambient air with a yellow that illuminates the atmosphere like an autumn afternoon sun. Its beneficent reflections begin to illuminate the forehead, seat of thought, and little by little the rest of the face, a reflection of feelings.
‘Just after the last tear’ is designed to be encompassed by a single glance. Any distracting or secondary element has been removed; the eye is invited to plunge towards the face. The trunk, free of any anatomical or dress detail, is a vaporous blur reduced to the strict minimum.
The exaggeratedly elongated neck emphasizes the reaction of this woman who raises her head and rises above all resentment. A hasty approach might make one think of a tribute to Modigliani in whom all the corporeal elements are systematically elongated, the trunk, as well as the neck or the face, abstracted from the subject. But for Modigliani, it is a stylistic characteristic, a signature, not an element of occasional expression as conceived by Joukhadar.
The coiffure is reduced to a kind of brown crescent accentuating the graphic character of the face, where a subtle play of curves appears: those of the eyes, those of the eyebrows that extend to the edge of the face, that of the forehead and the cheekbones, which can continue in the mouth.
The triangle of the eyes and the nose is very flared; it is inscribed in a horizontal oval opposite to the vertical oval of the head. If the eyes were closed, the upper curve defining them would have been non-existent or at least blurred. The eyes are wide open as indicated by their marked outline. The iris and the pupil would have uselessly caught the eye by their concentricity; they were suppressed to express a distraught look in an inner world. By a subtle play of shadows the eyes give the impression of looking straight, not at the viewer but at a sky above the line of the horizon.
These eyes reduced to the essential can seem paradoxical to those accustomed to the joukhadarian ‘signature-eyes’: crystalline, limpid, spectacular. A paradox typical of the ability of Joukhadar to disregard his strengths to favour expression and aesthetics.
It is only by approaching the work that one sees emerging, beyond the first impression, a world of nuances. Thus the last tear, barely perceptible, reveals itself. It is rendered by a surplus of liquid coming to wash the edge of one eye, it flows along the cheek, from the lips to the edge of the chin. Allusion to a famous portrait?
As we get closer to the work, we discover a whole complex of half-tone expressions rendered by brush strokes that are particularly assured and astute, such as a slight contraction of the zygomatic arches and the chin. Scarcely a few brushstrokes were sufficient to render the relaxation of the lower lip, the beginning of a smile, and the quivering of a delicate nose.
In this inner dialogue between sweetness and strength, the smile, scarcely sketched, seems to bear the conclusion of this moment of humanity.