Incredible Inuits (2019/2020)

« J'amène mon bâton de parole, et m'adresse aux étoiles. Je sais être seule pour entendre les aurores boréales ».  Joséphine Bacon, Un thé dans la toundra, 2013

 

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L’inuit qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) is a knowledge theory offering precious teachings about the inuit people, human nature and experience; these teachings are transmitted by oral generation from generation. « Ilippunga » means : I have learnt. Knowledge widespreads through observation, patience, practice and experience. It is a longlasting knowledge thanks to elders on a same earth, the "Inuit nunaat", the Inuit MotherEarth. It gathers all : from landscape to ecology, seasons, climate, resources and links between all those elements. The goal is environmental care and community harmony, and social well fare. Six main concepts guide Inuit teaching and behaviour and their relation with artic animals : environmental protection, women-child and family care, narratives, beliefs and inuit spirituality transmission. Inuit culture is a "few" culture creating extraordinary ingenuity.

Old jobs, new jobs (2018)

« There are only three decent human beings: the priest, the soldier and the poet. Learning, killing, creating.  ».  Charles Baudelaire, 1863

 

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Reading this Charles Baudelaire sentence (extracted from “Modern life painter”) was the starting point to think about old and new jobs. Then, I discovered this wonderful August Sanders photograph “The baker” (1929) and the Marine Museum in Etaples: this convinced me to explore this issue.

I was raised in a family where hard work means a lot. As a widow, my great grand-mother (on mother’s side) opened a bistro-café a in 1917 in Britany with her sister. Widow too at the age of 43, my bretonne grand-mother worked in the Post Office all her life (from 17 to 65) to meet her family’s needs. When I was a child, I always saw my parents work hard. My father (electrician training) had to combine two jobs-one in the day, the other at night- before being a self-taught entrepreneur.

When I was a teenager, I read the Emile Zola Rougon Macquart saga : his description of finance, sales, trade, mining and prostitution jobs both fascinated and revolted me. In 1993, entering working life, I discovered labour force and factories : Renault Sandouville in Le Havre industrial area and Essilor plants in Provins. A hive of skills, manual and intellectual professions, hierarchies at the service of a final product. So I met many different remarkable and professional people- contradicting Charles Baudelaire assertion.

In the XXth Art history century, some artists already explored the professions issue through portraits and series : mostly photographers as Eugène Atget (“Petty crafts in Paris”), August Sanders (“Faces”), Irving Penn, François Kollar (“France works”) but also painters- Chaïm Soutine (the little baker, the groom, the waiter), Georges Rouault (lawyer, acrobats) and Pierre Alechinsky. It is very interesting and strange to observe that all these portraits are mostly and exclusively men portraits…however, some rare female exceptions : “The balloon seller” photographed by Irving Penn in 1950, “The seamstress” drawned by Alechinsky in 1948 and some feminine workers shooted by Lewis Hine, in the United States in 1930. However, the eternal woman profession as hustler had been fully dealt by artists through the XXth. As if, until the 50's, the only revealed woman labour was the “working girl” as the “sex worker”...

In 1980, the french director Alain Cavalier honoured manual women’s work by shooting “24 portraits”, 24 testimonials of simple and overwhelming women. In 2002, the American photographer Nancy Rica Schiff reveals a mixed work place: she published the “Odd jobs” book, a humorous anthology of odd and singular jobs, both female and male.

“World is changing » is the understatement of the century…our world is evolving but not changing radically and today’s professions are reflecting these mutations. Some manual jobs had totally disappeared now in western countries (mattress maker, needle maker, upholsterer) but still exist on other continents: plowman, spinning worker; some manual jobs had been forgotten in western countries but do reappear in times of crisis (cobbler, ragman); some new qualifications appear : spider ecologist, pediatric surgeon, deep sea sewage diver, Immigration officer, policewomen officer. But, paradoxically, in a supertechnological world, a large scale of ancestral professions is still persisting : forester, poetess, woman clown, butcher, restorative artist, judge, priest, ironer. Those eternal jobs are resisting and adapting to new time. I wanted to observe these mutations and to honour women and men workers.

And this eternal question : Is being an artist a real job ? A craftmanship ? A privilege ? A curse ? Wonderland ? Artist : a holy parasite ?

"An artist is above all a subject person. Subjected to mysterious and unpredictable vibrations that we can call intuitions (...). These messages could involve to destroy an artwork, to move toward a new and radical direction -even no direction at all, no project at all and no hope to move on (...). It is this and only this that could differ to other jobs and professions that Jed wanted to honour in the second part of his career". Michel Houellebecq, 2010 (The map and the territory).

 

 

 

 

Couples (2010-2012)

« If man and woman oppose themselves for a better complement, they must also look like to understand themselves and to ally with one another ». Elisabeth Badinter, 1986

 

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In 2010-2012 I created a series of 40 drawings about the couple issue. Each drawing is composed with blue and red colors (often used to recognize male and female newborns), and brings its own message. These tales of life are real or fictional stories. They deal about the issue of love complexity, passion, gender question and androgyny.
They have been inspired from my readings (Simone de Beauvoir, Françoise Héritier, Elisabeth Badinter, Georges Vigarello), TV documentaries, movies, contemporary litterature, mythology and personal experiences. In antic Greece, Mali and India, tradition tells that every newborn is composed of two souls, each of them based on two different sexes.
This series of drawings have been inspired by medieval book decoration. This intimate topic is ideally suited to the format (40x29 cm). They offer mixed techniques : bic pen, colored pencils, inks and collages.

 

 

Black & White (2009-2010)

« You have to respect black; it is not a pleasant color and it creates none sensuality ; it is the translator of mind».
Odilon Redon, 1913

 

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At the very beginning of my drawing practise in 2005, I used immedialetly the bic pen. I do appreciate this medium because it slides on the paper very easily and offers a huge expressive freedom. Its texture and its possiblities of different light spectrum are quite similar to etching. In 2009 I created my first personal works on paper but kept in mind the Old Masters etchnig master pieces – Dürer, Schongauer, Gustave Doré, Bresdin, Kubin.

Every drawing of the Balck & White series deals about the abyss of the human soul : passions, contradictions, emotions, tensions.
I experimented mixed techniques by using black bic pen, India ink and gouaches.

 

 

Indians  (2015-2016)

« The man who sits on the ground of his tipi to meditate about the meaning of life accepts a common filiation for all creatures and acknowledges the unity of universe ; meanwhile he tranmits to his soul the humanity spirit ».  Luther Standing Bear Chief, 1898

 

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I always have been fascinated by natives and so-called « primitive » civilizations and I remember very deeply my visit to Navajo land in the Monument Valley (Arizona & Utah, USA) in 2002. For this Indian series of drawings and paintings, I also have been inspired by the amazing exhibition « Indians of the plains » organized in 2014 by the Museum Quai Branly in Paris and the complete portfolio of Edward Sheriff Curtis photographs.
I do respect North American Indians for their connected relationship to nature, their permanent homage to the mother earth, their huge generosity and their dignity, their denial for material world, their lack of instinct of property.
These people have a natural and very intuitive intelligence of life, far from learned books. They naturally use their dreams and visions as predictions. In their culture, the shaman is the chosen one because he is the best specialist of the human soul for his community. He is the man « condemned to inspiration because of his extraordinary sensory perception and his ability to see above the visible world » (Mircea Eliade). And because of that, the shaman has exactly the same mission as an artist. That is why many creators (Chateaubriand, Antonin Dvorak, Frida Kahlo, Max Ernst, Victor Brauner) have been and keep on being fascinated through centuries by these cultures.
I wish this work could be my homage to their lost paradise. I wish I could share a focus of their traditions. I have a dream for a much fairer, reasonable and generous world.
Each drawing (bic pen) will be duplicated in oil canvases.