|My favourites|| French
Foucault…a first name, a pseudonym…visitors, internet surfers, lovers of art , non-conformists, this site is for you to see fragments, bits and pieces, in short, a site that resembles me.
In the shadow of the Sphynx
I was born in Cairo, in the shadow of the Sphynx, December 1st 1945. My birth resulted from the encounter between my atypical , bohemian, camel riding father. lover of the desert, an egyptologist of sorts, writer and cartoonist from Toulouse, and my mother, an elegant Egyptian who lived a life that bordered the Orient and Europe, going back and forth between Egypt and France, the vistas of Greece and the beaches of Alexandria. Somehow she landed in the Latin Quarter of Paris. She was young, exotic and carefree, emerging from a distant backdrop of dimn memories, uncertain plans and remote thoughts of ancestors… Pacha, Bey, devilish, moustachioed men, Orientals with a European twist.
The Return to France
Sometimes good things happen by pure chance… I had moved to France by the age of one and a half. First we went to Marseille, then Toulouse, then Paris and finally Meudon. This flashback reminds me of white ties and purple ink, congratulations for the others and cleaning up after school for me. I was a champion at changing schools on a regular basis, happily going from one to the next, and I still remember, the sleepy memory comes back to me of the little boy trying to apply himself. Sometimes I thought I might keel over and die from the work and from the sheer quantity of dreams in my mind. This drama was interminably taking place while the chalk scratched along the blackboard while my already wandering gaze drifted over towards the little girl next to me.
Finally I got to a higher level of education.. . Like a mosaic I see, Christian brothers, the old brick buildings. I liked the huge buildings with long noisy corridors that smelled of wax, the labyrinth-like structure, the beauty of the garden, the closeness of the railway that went along the garden walls. I loved the teacher who took us to see the grandeur of nature at the water mill in Froyennes. That was a teacher who loved art and saw it in so many things. Those were great years boarding at school, getting together in cafes at Tournai in Belgium, drinking way too much beer, although it is well known that a good drink can also stir the imagination. This was a great era of interminable discussions during which the greatest of all subjects was always art. I graduated in June, 1965 from the Saint Luc Institute of Tournai with a diploma in Graphic Design.
This period marks an unexpected parenthesis ; a year of volunteer work in Djemila, (area of Constantine) in a what is today called N.G.O. Beautiful Djemila with her sister city Setif…. Places filled with history, and not so easy for a youngster such as myself at the time to feel the weight of the Algerian war. It was a rough experience to be parachuted with a minimum of comfort and little training into a fragile international structure, isolated, perched at this mountainous edge of the world, with no traveler’s guide or manual of local customs, not even a miniscule prayer mat. Nevertheless, I was stimulated and impressed by the Kabyl dignity, the smell of upturned earth and for all the world I wouldn’t have wished to be anywhere else. What remains as most certain for me today is that that reality brought my own world into focus.
1968. A brief interlude ; two years at the Beaux Arts in Paris. The initial curriculum which consisted of « copy and paste » exercises in the style of the teacher did not do much to convince me. By my nature I felt very distanced and even allergic to the overdetermined space, with its petty antagonisms, all the more so because of the subversive climate going on outside. If anything, it was the perfect time to truly put everything into question and find new rules for this non-space. To paint and to live without fear of institutional power struggles, to dare to screw up and start again.
The Day to Day.
Freelance graphic designer, publicity conceptualist, illustrator…. Struggling against boredom, against a temporary feeling of alienation that comes with the day to day. Frankly, there are days I’d rather be at the beach !
I now work as a painter and I live and work outside of Paris. In this space of intuition, I spend my time troubleshooting, fighting battles with destiny, exploring new territory. My studio is like an island ; an ivory tower surrounded by the city yet isolated from fashion trends and the usual Parisian hupola. It is also totally removed from the countryside with it’s bees and it’s cows… My magic studio, I love this workspace, it’s relative distance ; I love Francis Bacon, Egon Schilele, Niki de Saint Phalle, Ousmane Sow, Enki Bilal, Serge Gainsbourg, Manu Chao, Souad Massi, Lhasa, la Fata Morgana, le Saint Amour, and even at times, the company of other people.
The Eye of the Painter
I take the time to understand what’s important to me in painting as in life. I paint individuals that are very different . These figures lead me further toward abstraction and all that is elusive, including myself. My pictures are like a complement to reality ; something that comes added to what is already invented. The image is invented in part by the observing eye in suspended time. The photos bring another dimension to the painting so that the photographed subjects blend into the canvas. The work comes alive through the eye of the observer, which has been drawn into the painting and invited to share this intimate space. The painter shows us what the naked eye cannot see. The work is revealed in an explosion of visual thoughts that have been given individual spin by the onlooker that is ready to embark on this critical journey that leads from time to time to the same place as that of the painter himself.
On the one hand I’m a perfectionist, but on the other, I seek a form of expression that remains spontaneous. Painting is like playing with a fantastic form of urgency. At the same time I like it best when the effort remains invisible ; I provoke what seems like total chance and I shun spectacular effects. My painting is a transcription of life in that I refute figurative renditions of landscapesor imaginary characters. I feel like a theatre director of unreality and the author of a script that has no end. The paintings are the fruit of an interior process that remains unique but open to unexpected perceptions. I search for the picture that resonates best with my own creative tension and with that chord that vibrates in me with an invisible constancy. I don’t explain the work as I don’t explain the world. I paint what is to me its ferocious passion, disorder, solitude and beauty. There is no message except of that moment that crosses over into the day to day.
Shows, galleries, artistic events that go from group shows in the Grand Palais in Paris to the shores of Florida, unusual spaces , private spaces, or simply opening the atelier to visitors ; these are the ways that I fulfill my desire to communicate and to share when the studio space seems too small a place. Today many artists, collectors and lovers of art ask what is the future of art ? These questions reveal themselves in art shows that go from classical to contemporary and that remain esoteric, conceptual and even polemical. In this way new horizons can be perceived but especially when contempoary artists pave the way for new forms of representation that point the way toward the unexpected.
The Atelier Hors les Murs
The atelier hors les murs phase, 1972, remains somewhat separate. During this time I created several mural paintings of which one was 330M2 in Choisy-le-Roi at a time when urban art was relatively new. All over the signs read « Please post no signs, no bills » , so the climate was not exactly conducive to art ! Through this link to the city’s urban fabric, I also sought a special relationship with its people. I temporarily lost the sense of artistic solitude and found a way of becoming part of the city’s architecture while preserving my own authenticity. There was the initial festive launching of the project with the local city planners and urban architects. Each voice served not to censure but to complement the others by analyzing the full array of possibilities. It became important to me not to simply decorate the public space but to affirm a personal vision. This is where painting becomes about taking risks. In an underpriviledged neighborhood, it’s not about sticking pretty wallpaper onto the buildings. I was interested in the multiplication of possibilities surrounding the itital themes of people, the city and art. In these projects the artist has an extraordinary vantage point for observing and participating in the shifting urban landscape and how it changes against the background of the sky.
1973 was a year for many projects : the creation and overseeing of school mural projects at the Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso Nursery Schools In Meudon-la-Foręt as well as in the Henri Matisse recreation center, assisted by Olivier Gourvil and Dominique Heidenger. In 1977 there was another project in Choisy-le-Roi, this time in a shopping mall covering a 330m2 dimension and assisted by Denis Barbelet. In 1978 there was a project in a dental office in Paris. In 1979, it was the Jean Moulin C.E.S in Meudon-la-Foręt. Also in 1979 the « Batimat » show with the research group on architectural arts spaces in Paris. In 1981 and 1982 I worked with students on a group project at the school for special educators in Buc in the Yvelines. In 1984, there was another mural piece based on the children’s drawings at the Jardies nursery school in Meudon.
L'ATELIER HORS LES MURS
Tel : +33(0)6.03.26.12.70