Jean-Luc Parant


Born in 1944 in Tunis, Tunisia.

Died on July 26, 2022.

A multi-technical artist, Jean-Luc Parant is a sculptor, draftsman and writer. Trained at the Ecole Boulle from 1961 to 1966 in wood sculpture, he realized in parallel of his studies his first wax paintings in relief in 1962/63 and organized his first solo exhibition at the Colbert Hotel in Torcy that same year. In 1971, he created his first balls as so many projections of eyes devouring space and the world and called himself «manufacturer of balls and texts on the eyes». This elementary repertoire he chose for himself, balls and eyes, shaped his relentless artistic and literary work made of «obsessional obstinacy» (Alain Jouffroy). Jean-Luc Parant has always pursued a double work of artist and writer quite singular, fascinated by the questioning around the passage of the plan to the volume, the spirit to the matter and the visible to the touching. In 1973, he published his first text on the eyes entitled Les boules intouchables. Of all sizes, often black, spherical shapes and covered with asperities, its balls can be left naked, or notched with numbers or words, or even covered with paper. Often presented in situ, its environments can sometimes take a monumental form as was the case at the Museum of Modern Art in Villeneuve d'Ascq in 1985 with 100,001 balls or at the first Biennale de Lyon with Éboulement (1991).  Creator of the Maison de l'art vivant and honorary president of the Marché de la poésie in 2018, he is the author of a hundred books and has exhibited, among others, at the Maeght Foundation, the Centre Georges-Pompidou and the Musée d'Art moderne de la ville de Paris.

Seven solo exhibitions by Jean-Luc Parant took place at the gallery Lara Vincy: Boules? in 2004, Bibliothèque idéale in 2006, (L)ivre de nuit in 2008, Parantosaures in 2010, Mots et Merveilles in 2012, Les seuls frontières sont les frontières animales in 2014 and À quatre mains in 2016.

“So there were paintings that were already wax paintings, on boards: they were wax bas-reliefs. ] In these bas-reliefs, the eyes already played a very big role. And then, little by little, the wax passed to the other side of the support board: it became double bas-reliefs, with two sides. It was from that moment that it evolved towards the ball: there was a moment when he made large boards with bellies, that is to say that the relief became stronger and stronger, so much so that there were half-spheres on the board. And the quite normal evolution was to move to the sphere: there really, the wax completely devoured, covered and ate its support.”

Michel Butor in a 1977 interview with Michel Sicard about Jean-Luc Parant in "Jean-Luc Parant, Imprimeur de sa propre matière et de sa propre pensée", collectif, éditions José Corti, 2004.

“The first ball was too big a board, where the eyes, which I tried to represent as if they were real, were too swollen and covered the face and back, the right side and left side, the top edge and the bottom edge of the board.

The first ball was a painting that had no bottom and top, no side, no sense. I then left the support of the painting, I separated from the flat surface on which I worked as if the earth had become round, I made balls. The first balls still had the drawing of the men then the eyes, then they were self-sufficient, they simply became males and females. [… ]

The ball is the painting that has become touchable. The painting is the ball that has become untouchable. As if sculpture was painting for the hands and painting for the eyes. When a shape becomes invisible it curls, when it becomes visible it flattens. Touching, the ball earth becomes invisible under our feet; untouchable, the sun flat becomes visible before our eyes. We touch and everything is ball around us, as we see and everything is flat; or we cannot touch and everything is flat, as we cannot see and everything is ball.

The picture without the ball is sight without touch, it is light without darkness, and without darkness light illuminates nothing, it is only fire that burns everything.

I make balls to make the night and I make paintings to make the day. With my balls and my paintings, I have both sides of the earth under my feet, I have both sides of my body under my hands and under my eyes.”

Jean-Luc Parant in a 1999 interview with Nadine Gomez-Passamar in "Les yeux les boules, les boules les yeux", editions of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1999.


Le Fou parle, 2008, Jean-Luc Parant

Jean-Luc Parant

Le Fou parle, 2008


The "phrasinfinite" in Jean-Luc Parant is as driving an element as insomnia in Kafka, schizophrenia ..

From the infinitesimal to infinity, and back - Portrait of the artist in ball, 2007, Jean-Luc Parant

Jean-Luc Parant

From the infinitesim..., 2007


Far from a simply chronological compilation of works by Jean-Luc Parant, this book presents a themat..

Le Grand Livre de Jean-Luc Parant, 2000, Jean-Luc Parant

Jean-Luc Parant

Le Grand Livre de Je..., 2000


Born in 1944 in Tunis, Jean-Luc Parant, painter and sculptor, is the author of a vast and quite sing..

Mémoire du Merveilleux, 2015, Jean-Luc Parant

Jean-Luc Parant

Mémoire du Merveille..., 2015


Presentation of the work of Jean-Luc Parant (born in 1944). French sculptor, writer and poet.298 col..

Mots & Merveilles, 2013, Jean-Luc Parant

Jean-Luc Parant

Mots & Merveille..., 2013


Jean-Luc Parant is the author of hundreds of texts on the eyes and hundreds of thousands of balls, w..