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Jean-Paul Céalis

Jean-Paul Céalis
  • 1942 - 2019
  • France
  • Actor
  • Artistic director

"A graduate of the Ecole des Métiers d’Arts, Jean-Paul Céalis won a scholarship to study at the Warsaw Institute of Fine Arts in 1964-65, joining the famous workshop of print maker Henrik Tomaszewski. The sense of innovation which defined the Czech and Polish cultural scenes in that era - the Grotowski theatre being a good example – and a period of further study at the Institut d’Environnement – freshly founded in the wake of May 1968 – inspired him to explore the possibility of creating objects and situations which would bring together, and challenge, multiple aspects of creativity.
In 1969 he joined the teaching faculty at the École des Arts Décoratifs, where he remained until 2004, becoming one of the institute’s leading professors: inventive, generous, exacting and always willing to work with colleagues to create new approaches to teaching which broke with the stifling traditionalism of the pre-68 era. He spent more than thirty years championing this multifarious, endlessly playful vision of creativity, a million miles away from peaceful conformism.
Adept at hand-making his own unique creations, from 1972 onwards Céalis produced a series of performance-objects exploring the dialectical relationships between spaces, bodies, objects and light. Some of the most notable examples include Jardin à la française, Mémorial and Chute de tension. These are resolutely physical works, challenging our everyday surroundings by mistreating, upending, overturning and enfolding objects and their relations to the body and behaviour. Some of his creations, including the Collective Bib, the Waistcoat Vivarium and the Roly-Poly Jacket were created and tested in collaboration with students from ENSAD.
Source: ENSAD - François Vermeil (February 2019)"