Directed by: Virgile Novarina
duration: 60 minutes
format : DV CAM
image format : 4/3
mixing : Philippe Jacquet
year : 2011
Special Jury Award, FILAF 2012 (France)
International Documentary Award, CGIFF 2013 (USA)
Best Short Documentary, ReelHeART International Film Festival 2014 (Canada)
Available in DVD
Available in VOD

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a film

Painter of international renown, Jean Olivier Hucleux (1923 - 2012) was one of the pioneers of the hyperrealist movement which grew in Europe and in the United States from 1969: at that time, Hucleux already painted scrap yards with a stunning precision. Those were later labelled as hyperrealistic. From 1974, Hucleux started to paint a major series of life-size portraits of anonyms, writers and artists including the portraits of: Camille and her father, the twins, Samuel Beckett, Antonin Artaud, Jean-Pierre Raynaud, Jean Le Gac, Roman Opalka, Erik Dietman, César, Arman, Warhol, Giacometti, Duchamp...

In parallel, since 1980 Hucleux has been producing "deprogramming" drawings that he creates intuitively, without any plan, trying to get to a forgotten memory, hidden in the brain of all men. In 1990, he began the Squares series, drawn with Indian ink on the back of a square canvas of 2 X 2 meters.

From 2005 to 2009, Virgile Novarina regularly visited him, camera in hand, in his house filled with singular works and objects. This film is the first documentary entirely dedicated to this unique artist. There, Hucleux spontaneously shares his passion for painting, his encounter with Vlaminck, the choice of his artist name, his dyslexia and his extraordinary gift. He invites us to a journey through more than 60 years of creation, from his early childhood drawings to his last work in progress.

Hucleux Retrospective at the Beaux Arts Museum in Dole, 2009

The work of Jean Olivier Hucleux was revealed to the art world on June 30th, 1972 in Cassel, during the unveiling of the great exhibition "Questioning reality - pictorial worlds today. d5, documenta 5". Seven years later, Pontus Hulten, director of the Musée National d'Art Moderne, invited Hucleux to show his work in "Copie conforme ?" at the Georges Pompidou centre, alongside Chuck Close and John De Andrea. His portrait written by Hulten, focuses on the unfinished character of the work "Upon consideration, only a closer examination of the painting can reveal the metaphysical vision of a completely transfigured reality... By his own admission, Hucleux wishes he would never have to stop. He could continue and prolong this cold, visionary penetration of the image. Living, ad infinitum, the continuous experiment of day and night, from shadow to light. Experiencing it until knowing no more, being the painter who is experiencing the unreached consciousness of the after, of the beyond". If there is a reproduction of the image, it is only to go beyond representation, to evacuate the multiplicity of appearances, the anecdote, and remove what is opaque. The work of Hucleux consists in going "towards what will be never be a result nor a picture, but the process of painting itself, the retrieved intensity of a presence".

Camilo Racana, Catalogue of Hucleux retrospective at the Musée des beaux Arts de Dôle and the Villa Tamaris, 2009 (extracts).
After studying Mathematics and Physics, Virgile Novarina (born in 1976) devoted himself to the artistic exploration of his own sleep through writings and drawings, and the sleep of others through photographs and videos. He has published six books of "Ecrits et dessins de nuit" (Night’s Writings and Drawings) and has exhibited his work in France, Germany, Portugal and the United States. Since 2006 the very act of sleeping has become an integral part of his work, through the “En Somme” (French language pun, meaning "all in all" or "sleep in progress") series of performances, during which he sleeps publicly in shop windows, galleries or museums.

In 2002 Virgile Novarina befriended Jean-Olivier Hucleux, whom he regularly filmed from 2005 to 2009. "Jean Olivier Hucleux, du travail à l'oeuvre" (from the work to the artwork) is his first documentary. Previously he made "Autour du sommeil" (Around sleep 2004, 12 min.), a short film unfolding on the course of one day whose only characters are sleepers and yawners.

Website of the film Around Sleep (12', 2005)
Website of the film Deep into Sleep (39', 2016)

Virgile Novarina and Hucleux (photo: Monique Pignet)

Works & Process is a collection of monographic DVDs dedicated to contemporary artists, published by a.p.r.e.s production and headed by Gilles Coudert. Each monograph proposes to discover and understand the approach of a creator through different documentary takes, including some of the artist’s unpublished films and archives. The first titles have been dedicated to Daniel Buren, Fabrice Hyber, Tadashi Kawamata, Bernard Lallemand, Francis Alÿs, and Kimsooja.

Hucleux DVD features:

1) Jean Olivier Hucleux, From the Work to the Artwork, 2010, 60', by Virgile Novarina

2) The Question of the Double, 1996, 12', by François Garcia
As part of a cycle of lectures entitled "The Question of the Double" held at the school of Fine Arts in Le Mans, in 1996, François Garcia filmed Jean Olivier Hucleux drawing a lead pencil portrait of Didier Mauger.

3) Digital Deprogramming, 2005, 5', by Alban Roul
After twenty years of research with deprogramming drawings, jean Olivier Hucleux started using the computer to further his approach, with the help of his son Jean-Louis. During the "Digital Deprogramming" exhibition held at the Galerie Edouard Manet in Gennevilliers from November 25, 2004 to January, 8, 2005, Alban Roul filmed the conference given by the artist and his son.

More information on the Works & Process collection :

More information on the Hucleux DVD and orders :
The International Art Book and Film Festival (FILAF) aims to bring together, to celebrate and to award prizes to the best books and films covering art, which have appeared all over the world in the last year. The festival takes place in the historic centre of Perpignan, a city in the south of France, on the Spanish border, right next to the Mediterranean Sea. The festival focuses on international creations from the French and English speaking worlds in a very wide range of domaines : contemporary art, photography, design, dance, cinema, modern art, ancient art and primitive art. FILAF is an independant festival organised by The COGITO Association.

Films in competition :

Marina Abramovic, The Artist is Present, Matthew Akers, 2011, USA
Orsay, Bruno Ulmer, 2011, France
Mendelsohn’s incessant visions, Duki Dror, 2011, Israël
Charlemagne Palestine, The Golden Sound, Anne Maregiano, 2011, France
Jean Olivier Hucleux, du travail à l’œuvre, Virgile Novarina, 2011, France
Eames, The Architect and the Painter, Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey, 2011, USA
Les Authentiques Fausses Têtes de Modigliani, G. Donfrancesco, 2011, Italie
Léonard de Vinci, la restauration du siècle, Stan Neumann, 2012, France
Gerhard Richter Painting, Corina Belz, 2012, Allemagne

FILAF 2012: directed by Sébastien Planas and organised by the COGITO association at the cinema Le Castillet and the Centro Espagnol. Jury 2012 : Xavier Cannone, Fabrice Hergott, Guillaume Houzé and Pierre Thoretton. President of Honour : Catherine Millet. Guest of honour : Nathalie Heinich.

FILAF d'Or : Mendelsohn's incessant visions, Duki Dror (Israël)
FILAF d'Argent : Marinia Abramovic, the Artist is Present, Matthew Akers (U. S. A)
Prix spécial du jury : Jean Olivier Hucleux, du travail à l'œuvre Virgile Novarina (France)
Coup de cœur du FILAF : Somewhere to disappear, Laure Flammarion (France)
Prix d'honneur du FILAF 2012 : Adrian Maben (UK), pour l'ensemble des ses films sur l'art

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Embracing art & ecology, the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival (CGIFF) takes place in the pristine Pacific North West along the Columbia River. Founded as the Washougal International Film Festival in 2008 by Breven Angaelica Warren, the festival combines public screenings with small forums to engage in a dialogue of social issues and cultural exchange through the powerful language of film in all genres. In 2013 the CGIFF will be held in downtown Vancouver, WA focusing on historic as well as new parts of the city.

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Official sélection (over 60 minutes) :
Alberton B. Paine (New Zealand)
Aqua Seafoam Shame V. Grey (Canada)
Beyond the Grave D. de O. Pinheiro (Brazil)
Call of Babylon J-W. Noble (UK)
The Cardboard Bernini O. Stone (USA)
Circle the Wagen R. S. Green (USA)
Death By China 2,0 P. Navarro (USA)
The Descending K. Thompson (USA)
Forget Us Not H. E. Connell (USA)
A Furever Finkel 80m (USA)
I am Secretly an Important ManP. Sillen (USA)
I Love You, Apple, I Love You, Orange H. Kim (USA)
Jean O. Hucleux, from the Work to the Artwork VN (Fr)
Kathy’s Love A. Troyanskaya 60m (Russia)
Kosmopolites H. M. Straubinger (Indonesia/Austria)
Last Paradise, Global Quest C. Neeson (NZ)
Pasadena W. Slocombe (USA)
Reality Is What It Is S. Zimbrek (Croatia)
Salt ‘Sal’ D. Rougler (Chile)
Saturnalia G. Mercado (USA)
Talking Story M-R. Phan-Le (USA)
Target of Opportunity J.D. Leete (USA)
Thursday’s Speaker G. Hebert (USA)
Transmigration S. Schiffer (USA/Brazil)
Tribewanted Sierra Leone J. Sarno (USA)
Twice R. Fritz (USA)
Tyme, Aspects of Home N. Bosworth (USA)
Where Have All the Mermaids Gone N. Kramer (USA)
Kiggins Cinema, CGIFF Headquarters, Vancouver Library, Awards Ceremony in Vancouver, WA

Best of Fest: Forget Us Not
International Documentary Award: Jean Olivier Hucleux, from the Work to the Artwork
The Bullet Award: I Love You, Apple, I Love You, Orange
Walt Ratterman Humanitarian Award: Talking Story
Narrative Feature: Thursday's Speaker
Founded two years ago in Philadelphia by the filmmaker Fel Angel, the Creative Arts Film Festival (CAFF) is an annual international online film festival that is designed to showcase and promote filmmakers. Creative Arts Film Festival runs every December online. They are 7 categories : Animated film, documentary, drama, experimental, horror, science fiction and thriller.

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2013 Documentary Films selected :
Encounter in a Forgotten Country, by Hanspeter Aliesch, 58 mins, Switzerland
Jean Olivier Hucleux, from the Work to the Artwork, by Virgile Novarina, 60 mins, Fr
Leading Lines, by Paulina Piwowarek, 8 mins, Canada

ReelHeART International Film Festival is worldwide independent film festival held every June in Daniels Spectrum, Toronto, Canada. Daniels Spectrum (formerly Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre) is a platform for cultural exchange and collaboration. It is a place where people come to be inspired, to learn, to share, to create. It showcases artistic talent, acts as an incubator for creativity and a workshop for social and cultural innovation. There are 13 categories of Competition. Feature and Short Narratives such as: Drama, Comedy, Black Comedy, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Film Noir, Satire, Animation, Experimental, Music Videos, as well as Feature and Short Documentary, Profiles, Underground and more. ReelHeART brings a cultural mix of dedicated sponsors, media and filmgoers to our events and establishes long-term relationships. This adds to the cultural and creative exchange from planning stages to launch of every Annual ReelHeART International Film Festival (ReelHeART).

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2014 official selection (over 60 min):
45 RPM Dir. Juli Jackson (USA)
Seven Days (שבעה ימים) Dir. Oded Raz (Israel)
Jean Olivier Hucleux, du travail à l’oeuvre Dir. Virgile Novarina (Fr)
A Song for You Dir. Silvia Malagrino and Sharon Karp (USA)
William’s Lullaby Dir. Nicholas Arnold (Canada)
Alumbrones Dir. Bruce Donnelly (Brazil, USA)
Breaking Through Dir. Cindy L. Abel (USA)
Perfect Strangers Dir. Jan Krawitz (USA)
IGGSTOCK Dir. Tracy German (Canada)
Across Dot Ave Dir. Mark Ezovski (USA)
Common People Dir. Stewart Alexander (UK)
Une Histoire Banale Dir. Audrey Estrougo (Fr)
Confessions of a Womanizer Dir. Miguel Ali (USA)
Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus Dir. Tim Mahoney (USA)
ReelHeArt International Film Festival (RIFF), Daniels Spectrum, Interview for Katie Chats, Q & A

2014 Best Short Documentary: Jean Olivier Hucleux, from the Work to the Artwork

Created in 2011 by Peter Murfet, Richard Harris, Emily and Christopher Abbott, the Southampton International Film Festival (SIFF) wants to celebrate the diversity of film culture and to showcase new talents in all areas of filmmaking. The SIFF likes to facilitate films that show off a huge array of artistic talent getting their moment to shine on the big screen and connect with an audience. There are four categories: Feature Film, Short Film, Documentary and Animation.
More informations :

2014 Documentary selection:
A Curious Life, UK. Dir: Dunstan Bruce
Out of Nothing, USA. Dir: Chad DeRosa
LoveTrips, Austria/Switzerland. Dir: Carlo Pisani
Senza Tregua, Italy/Switzerland. Dir: Dimitris Statiris
A Different Kind of Farm, USA. Dir: Caroline Harding
Jean Olivier Hucleux, du travail à l'oeuvre, France. Dir: Virgile Novarina
Roger McGowen, Condamné à Mort # 889, France. Dir: Nicolas Pallay
Nominations for Jean Olivier Hucleux, from the Work to the Artwork : Best Directing in a Documentary, Best Editing in a Documentary.

Screenings at the Odeon IMAX Cinema, and at the University of Southamtpon. Awards night in the St Mary's stadium.

2014 Best Short Documentary: Virgile sleeps, Dir. Jean Seban, France
2014 Best Directing in a Documentary: Out of Nothing, Dir. Chad De Rosa, USA
2014 Best Editing in a Documentary: Roger McGowen, condamné à mort #889, Dir. Nicolas Pallay, France
2020 Saint-Gaudens Les Rencontres du film d'art, January 23 - 26, Cinéma Le Régent, 16 Rue de l'Indépendance, 31800 Saint-Gaudens, France.
2018 Alençon Scène Nationale 61, exposition Recto Verso, 30 mars. Plus d'infos :
2017 Montpellier Drawing Roomn La Panacée, 13-19 septembre. Plus d'infos :
2016 Flers Galerie du collège Jean Monnet, du 5 décembre 2016 au 6 janvier 2017, exposition "Jean Olivier Hucleux & Virgile Novarina, une amitié artistique", dans le cadre du réseau PANORAMA. 193 Rue de Domfront, 61100 Flers. Plus d'infos :
2016 Tours Auditorium du lycée Saint-François, Monday june 6th, 10:30
2016 Cali, Colombie Instituto de Bellas Artes, Av. 2 Nte. #22 Norte28, April 26th, 15:00.
2016 Cali, Colombie Cinémathèque du Musée de la Tertulia, No. 5- Oeste, Cra. 1 #3 Oeste105, April 25th, 18:30.
2016 Cherbourg Galerie du lycée Jean-François Millet, 8 - 31 march, exhibition Jean Olivier Hucleux & Virgile Novarina, Réseau Panorama, rue de Bougainville, 50130 Cherbourg-Octeville.
2015 Tours Auditorium du lycée Saint-François, May 19th.
2015 Berlin Berlin Underground Film Festival, March 8th.
2015 London International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema, february 26th, 11:00, Screening room 1, West Ham Conference Centre, Boleyn Ground, Green Street, London E13 9AZ.
2015 Vimoutiers Galerie d'art du collège Arlette Hée-Fergant, Art Gallery, Arlette Hée-Fergant High School, february 2nd 14:00.
2014 Thrissur, India IMA International Film Festival, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Hall, Thrissur, 680020, Kerala, december 9-11th.
2014 Southampton, UK Southampton International Film Festival, Screen two, University Rd, Southampton SO17 1BJ, Sunday, October 19th at 14:45. The Will of Henri Bourneuf, 15 mins, UK. Dir: Louis Jopling, Jean Olivier Hucleux, from the Work to the Artwork, 60 min, France, Dir: Virgile Novarina. £5 for a festival single day pass.
2014 Soissons West Arsenal Museum, rue Saint Jean, France. 09/12 - 11/16. Screening in the exhibition "Jean Olivier Hucleux, à la pointe du crayon". Free entrance.
2014 Toronto, Canada Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street East, Toronto M5A 2B7, Tuesday, june 24th at 7:00 pm, "Marie et les Gargouilles", Dir. Nicholas Trame (Fr), "Mousse", Dir. John Hellberg (Sweden), and "Jean Olivier Hucleux, du travail à l’oeuvre" Dir. Virgile Novarina (Fr). Tickets $ 12 Each.
2014 Tours Amphithéâtre du lycée St François, 20/02 14:00,
2013 Chauny Espace Rabelais, 25/10 20:30.
2013 Chalon-sur-Saône Musée Vivant Denon, 11/10 - 3/3/2014.
2013 Vancouver, USA Public Library, 17/08 14:00, Columbia Gorge International Film Festival.
2013 Paris Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), 75005 Paris, 17/06/2013 20:00.
2013 Bremen Galerie Mitte im KUBO, Beim Paulskloster 12, 28203 Bremen, Deutschland. 24/05/2013 - 14/07/2013.
2013 Sérignan Musée Régional d'Art Contemporain Languedoc Roussillon, 146 avenue de la Plage, 34410 Sérignan, 18/05 21:30.
2013 Paris Atelier Z, Centre Culturel Christiane Peugeot, 62 avenue de la Grande Armée, 75017 Paris, 18/05 16:00.
2013 Aurillac Musée d'Art et d'Archéologie, Les Écuries, 37 rue des Carmes, 16/05 10:00.
2013 Samois-sur-Seine La Samoisienne, 7 bis avenue de la Libération, 30/03 20:30.
2012 Perm, Russia Museum, "Contemporary French Painting : combinations of history", 2/11 - 16/12:
2012 Moscou National Center for contemporary Art (NCCA) :
2012 Saint-Denis Université Paris 8 :
2011 Paris Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris (ENSBA) :
2011 Paris La Matrice :
2011 Chartres Amphithéâtre du Lycée Marceau :
2011 Pontault Combault Atelier de la Cour Carrée :
2011 Saint-Denis Le 6b :
2011 Paris Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia (SCAM) :
2011 Chartres Les P'tits Papiers, Friday, February 11, 2011 at 9pm free entry. Screening organised by the iCi & Là association, 23 rue de la Clouterie, in Chartres. More information :
2011 Paris Agence du Court Métrage, January 7th, screening preceded by a short film by Jean-Christophe Cohen.
2010 Bruxelles Galerie Sans Titre - 100 Titres, from November 6th to December 24th, uninterrupted screening from Thursday to Sunday from 2pm to 7pm as part of the “Jean Olivier Hucleux, Dessins : Portraits, Square, Epiphanie, Déprogrammations” exhibition, 2 rue A. Cluysenaar, 1060 Brussels. More information :
2010 Auxerre Théâtre - scène conventionnée d'Auxerre, June 10th. For the launch of the exhibition « Les chemins du dessin », le Centre d’art de l’Yonne et le Théâtre, scène conventionnée d’Auxerre have been showing a preview of the documentary on the work of Jean Olivier Hucleux directed by Virgile Novarina. This film enables an encounter with a complex artist whose most recent work is being presented in the service quarters of the castle of Tanlay until September 26th, 2010.
2009 Paris Grand Palais, fiac 2009, from October 22nd to October 25th, looped screening of the chapter “Public gardens” at the Guillaume gallery booth. More information :

Grand Palais (Paris), Théâtre (Auxerre), SCAM (Paris), Lycée Marceau (Chartres),
ENSBA (Paris), Université Paris8 (Saint-Denis), NCCA (Moscou), Castillet (Perpignan)