Interview from Masha Udensiva-Brenne, Construction Magazine, NYC, 22 mai 2012
What is the significance of the title “L’appartement”?
“L appartement” simply refers to an indoors place. Some decorative elements (floor, walls, chair…) do not refer to a specific place, what is important is the notion of inside. Moreover, you cannot see any door to go outside. Before l’Appartement, I used to paint characters that were outside (“postures”)
How long, from start to finish, did this series take you to complete? How was your conception of it different before and after you started painting?
I started to draw some of the canvas while I was alone in a very small gallery in Versailles (in 2010), the gallery was quite far from downtown and I saw a very few people during the exhibition. I felt like a prisoner between the walls of this gallery, as if I was a punished naugthy child. The first drawings came out in april 2010, and the first canvas was “la boudeuse”, some weeks later. I still draw and paint on this theme.
Did the images come to you whole before you started to create, or did they evolve as you continued to work?
In this serial of paintings, I always draw before painting. Drawings are very simple, some broad lines only.
When I started “l appartement”, I felt surprised by my proposal’s hardness, the obvious notions of confinement, boredness et loneliness… I do not try to analyse my inspirations sources, I draw and that is all. As the months are going, I let more and more space around my characters. Sometimes I write words on walls, and those words become even more important than the character himself. We only see them. (“Aime moi”)
It appears like you have constructed some sort of a narrative for each of these paintings, is this common for your work?
For sure, what I paint is always a situation that I imagine. I know exactly what is occurring. But I do not want to entirely tell the story. That’s for me, like a not-well-framed picture, we can see legs or body, or whatever, but there are always some elements missing to be able to get different interpretations. I try to describe some feelings, an atmosphere, but the story itself goes on the second plan. For exemple, in “Tears”, there is a character sitting on a chair, we can imagine what he/she is looking for. The fact that we cannot know exactly about age or sexe of my characters strengthen the possibility of different appropriations.
Who are some of your biggest artistic influences?
I am very touched by the artists who collect, pick up unbelievable things and who transform them. For exemple, I was very impressed in 2010 when I discovered Peter Buggenhout at La Maison Rouge “it’s a strange, strange world, Sally) In a more intimate way, I like very much the carving work of Vincent Fortemps (« par les sillons », « barques »…). Emotion can also come trough small sizes, dark lines, nearly erased drawings. All this influenced me in the simplification of my painting (for exemple using less colors) and even helped me to reconsider the goal of my creations.
What are some of your biggest challenges as an artist?
The biggest challenges are the coming ones. I am never entirely satisfied by what have been done before….Each exhibition is a challenge. I get the impression that it is becoming more and more difficult for me to talk about my work.
What is your history with art?
It is a recent history. Nothing in my family predisposed me to be an plastician. I come from a family of merchants and I graduated from business school. I worked in the marketing then logistic area during 14 years, married with a serious businessman, had 3 children …. Then I received as a gift a paint box, in 1999. The first time I used it was like a revelation, something very important that I could not avoid. 3 years after, I leaft my confortable job. I am a self-educated artist. Sometimes I can feel limited by the fact that I do not benefit from the experience of the others, most of the time I realize I am free without rules.
How often do you paint?
I work everyday. My studio is in my house, so it is easy.
What is your favorite setting for creating art?
I need space, heat and natural light. I prefer to work alone and forget the clock !
What are your preferred mediums/materials to work with?
I like the smell of oil, the possibility that it offers to paint slowly, its delicacy. I also discovered 2 years ago the silk paper, witch I use more and more for installations and drawings. I like its matt whiteness, fragility, the way it captures light and restores it.