Jacques Charlier is an autodidact who studies art and the strategies of the art market. He systematically analyzes his collection of biographies, dictionaries and catalogues. As far back as the early sixties he started to construct ‘mise-en-scènes’ with discarded objects. In 1963 he starts to collect professional photographs made by the Technical Department of the Province of Liège, where he lives. His approach of the photographs is a response to Pop Art and the Nouveau Réalisme. In the eighties he starts to make remarkable satires about new trends in art with compositions of paintings and small statues. He creates ‘Chambre d’Ennemi’, a work for ‘Chambre d’Amis’, the exhibition by Jan Hoet in Gent in 1986. A few years later his work emphasizes a sense of déjà vu by using frames from days long gone for paintings signed by imaginary artists. He also writes texts, which he signs with the names of imaginary critics.
With unflagging energy Charlier tries out every kind of artistic technique and expression possible, constructing an oeuvre that he calls himself ‘his activities’. Every year he creates ‘new’ art, but it is the art of a chameleon. With inexhaustible wit he adapts every object to his pur- pose. He has quite consciously chosen not to evolve a personal ‘style’, which enables him to keep shattering the aura which surrounds ‘art’.