Jean-Michel Meurice (Lille, France 1938) is a cinematographer, painter and graphic artist. After his youth in Lille and Béthune, he attended the École des Beaux-Arts de Saint-Luc in Tournai. He is one of the co-founders of the ARTE television channel and lives and works in Paris. In addition to his paintings and graphics, which are increasingly appreciated, he also has a background in journalism and making documentaries.
In a better-known documentary, he immersed himself in, among other things, the functioning of the financial markets prior to the crisis of 2008, but the emphasis in his choice of subject is often on art and culture. Early on he filmed artists in their studios, including: Bram van Velde, Simon Hantaï, Pierre Soulages, Sonia Delaunay and Pierre Alechinsky. At the beginning of his career, he worked for several well-known French magazines, including Le Nouvel Observateur. From there, he gradually broadened his field of work to include television. From 1985, Meurice was involved in the establishment of the culture channel La Sept, which was renamed ARTE in 1991. The station’s co-founders are Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Guy and Georges Duby.
In his own art he initially (1960s and 70s) focused on colorful work that often consists of bands of contrasting colors and surface treatments with scratches, splashes, traces and stripes. In this context, he was also co-founder of the Supports/Surface movement. At that moment he also starts working with surfaces such as shower curtains that provide him with a ready-made pattern. From the eighties he focuses more on applying stencil-like patterns over landscapes. Those patterns sometimes represent organic shapes such as leaves and flowers. He also uses elements of artworks he photographs while traveling as a basis for patterns. In the creation of many of the patterns, he is sometimes strongly inspired by the motifs from Matisse’s work.
“I always think carefully about my next painting before I start. Like a battle that you must first observe from above in order to organize its course before throwing yourself blindly into the fray, with the only prospect of which is the determination to emerge victorious, that is, alive. You can also call it a process of concentration (if we continue the metaphor, concentration of your armed forces). Those armed forces are art books and reproductions. And also photos that I take during my travels of details of works of art that act as sketches because they represent what appeals to me in those works, because they raise questions or give me an idea.”
Meurice’s work can be found in prominent collections such as those of the Musee d’art in Toulon and LAAC in Dunkirk, but also in numerous institutional and private collections. He won several awards for his work.