Coucou Bazar

  "Probably will do you blame my "spectacle" to be outside categories. It is of course its status is ambiguous and that one wonders if it is for theater lovers or for painting art lovers. Its author is a painter, not a playwright nor a choreographer; painting is her only inspiration; it is like a development of painting, animation of it. It's like a painting that would cease to be just a picture to watch, but that would take real existence and welcome you in its in (...)"


Coucou Bazar - an animated painting - directly taken from the cycle of L'Hourloupeby Jean Dubuffet - was performed for the first time in New York from May to July 1973 at the occasion of the retrospective exhibition of the artist at the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum. A second version was produced in the following September as part of the Festival d'Automne de Paris accompanying the retrospective exhibition at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, taken from that of New York. Finally, a third and final version of the "spectacle", produced by FIAT, to be performed in Turin in 1978.

The "spectacle" lasts one hour and consits of a series of paintings animated by different actors-dancers. The music of the first two versions (New York and Paris) was composed by the Turkish musician, Ilhan Mimaroglu, whereas that of the version in Turin uses various recordings and musical experiments by Jean Dubuffet.

The elements of Coucou Bazar are, firstly, that Jean Dubuffet titled praticables and secondly, costumes.

The praticables

The praticables are made from a panel of klégécell (a kind of wood), layered in resin and painted with a coat of a vinyl acrylic. The subjects are enlargements of drawings (characters, animals, decorative elements, etc...) that the artist had prepared beforehand.
The praticables were executed by his assistants between 1971 and 1973. Some of the praticables are mounted on wheels or animated by machinery. Others, which are lighter, can be moved by animators concealed behind.
Dubuffet designed 175 praticables, only part of which took place in the "spectacle".
All currently gathering in the Dubuffet Foundation in Périgny-sur-Yerres includes 98 praticables.

The costumes

The costumes, worn by the actors, are composed of various interchangeable elements : masks, hats, dresses, gloves and boots made in various materials: rayon or painted coton, resin, latex, etc...
There are twenty different characters wearing costumes and animating slowly on stage. All the costumes are conserved and now exposed at the Dubuffet Foundation in Périgny-sur-Yerres.

The Cartoucherie de Vincennes

As early as 1971, before the extent of this project Coucou Bazar (whose first praticables were realized in the rue Labrouste studio), Jean Dubuffet was looking for larger studios capable of supporting the preparations for his " spectacle" and also other work in hand, in particular the projects for sculptures in stratified resin.

At the same time, the agreement for a major retrospective exhibition, which will take place in 1973 at New York (the Guggenheim Museum) and at Paris (Galeries Nationales de Grand Palais) is officially given.

Informed of the needs of Jean Dubuffet, the Centre national d'Art contemporain (CNAC), responsible for organisation of the exhibition in Paris, offers to the artist a large disused building, situated in the old Cartoucherie du Parc Floral de Paris, in Vincennes.

After an agreement with the City of Paris, the owner, the Ministère des Affaires culturelles graciously offer freely available Dubuffet buildings in the state where they are. The studio begins operations in the month of November 1971 after extensive refurbishments. Most elements designed for the "spectacle" Coucou Bazar will be produced and stored there. The studio of the Cartoucherie will be left in 1979 and all items moved to the artist's studio at Périgny-sur-Yerres, in Val-de-Marne.

For more

Fascicule 27   Jean Dubuffet Coucou Bazar   Coucou Bazar J. Dubuffet
Jean Dubuffet - Expériences musicales   CD Coucou Bazar

Jean Dubuffet during rehearsals of <em>Coucou Bazar</em> in New Yok, may 1973 (photo R.R.Mates & S.Lazarus)
A show Coucou Bazar in Turin, 1978 (photo K. Wyss)
Poster of Coucou bazar, show in Turin, 1978 - coll. Fondation Dubuffet
Nini la Minaude, 1973, costume for Coucou Bazar - coll. Fondation Dubuffet Jean Dubuffet at the workshop of the Cartoucherie de Vincennes, 1977 (photo K. Wyss) Jean Dubuffet at the workshop of the Cartoucherie de Vincennes, 1977 (photo K. Wyss)
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Le Dilettante, 1973, praticable for Coucou Bazar - coll. Fondation Dubuffet
Le Triomphateur,1973, costume for Coucou Bazar - coll. Dubuffet Foundation