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Davis-Dutreix is one of the leaders of the french artistic squat movement. A movement that began in the early 1980s in Paris and whose awkward name is a mix of two words: squat and art.

It serves to differentiate "artistic" squats from "social" squats that usually house immigrant families and the homeless.

The necessity of having a work-space for artists (painters, dancers, actors, musicians etc.) is fundamental but the incredibly high prices for such accommodations make it inaccessible for the average artist. Therefore we "squartists" occupy empty buildings, ready to be torn down or sold and give them a second life by turning them into studios and work space for artists.

 


Davis-Dutr
eix at the Passage Turketil, Paris

 

In many european countries (Germany, Holland and Switzerland) artistic squats have been legalized since the 1990's and Davis-Dutreix has been actively involved in bringing the same status to France which has at least one squart per major city.

The artist has been involved with several of the most well known squarts in France. The mythical Collectif de la Grange aux Belles located in Paris from 1995 untill 2000. Besides five floors of studio space, it had a library, a gallery, a theater, a restaurant and it was widely covered by the press.
Davis-Dutreix also painted for several years at the Diables Bleus in Nice (2001-2004) which remains a reference for it’s contribution to the community.

In 2004, Davis-Dutreix opened one of the most revered alternative workspaces in Nice called the Pigeonnier.


 


Davis-Dutreix has been living in Nice since 2001. Besides being part of the city's more traditional "art scene," his artwork is known through his hand painted posters that he glues regularly throughout the city streets. His "action collage" has been his trademark since he was with the art group "Zen Copyright" during the early 1990s in Paris when they glued their posters in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York City etc.

 

For almost 30 years, Davis-Dutreix has painted as though the art world did not exist and for him, it really has not. His "art with content"- as opposed to abstract art, which for many years has eclipsed all other kinds of art, has the flavor of a Japanese "koan" so cherished by zen students: A little story which at first seems childish in its simplicity but to the "initiated" carries a symbolic message that can awaken the student to a more profound understanding of how the world functions.

 


Click here for a FAQ on squarts
 

 

For many, the paintings of Davis-Dutreix are disturbing, political, ecological, moralistic, apocalyptic, symbolic, but in any case, the images are mysterious, complex and, in the final analysis, ambiguous. His paintings often rely on imagery from the past and the artist sees himself as perpetuating the tradition of "symbolic art." His artistic references are Gauguin and Utamaro to present day painters like his mentor and friend, George Tooker.

 

Book cover

My biography entitled: The Zen Rebel
and the Underground Squart Movement
is available through Lulu
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

 

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