Interview 2012

Véronique Béranger
Is a Japanese books specialist.


Jean-Luc Faure

VB : When did you start drawing ?

JLF : In 2009, before I used to do rather abstract painting. Twenty years ago, I did a lot of colourful paintings, using oil or gouache…

I am at ease with colours, I want to avoid seduction. Moving towards black and white, towards lines, I feel bound and it is enriching – I set up constraints to move forward, it is a stronger and richer research.

VB : Why painting ? Are there links between sketching and painting ?

JLF : Concerning size, paintings are bigger, they take longer. I feel more involved when I use water elements.

Water painting is a link between sketching and painting. I really enjoy the free flow of painting and gouache.

I tried felt pens, inks, because its upsets my way of working. Technique jostles all my interpretation patterns. It’s permits me to avoid repetition, which would be less creative, shallow, comfortable.

I try to enlarge my gouache drawing, it is not always easy, but it leads me to simplify more, whereas with the thinness of the pencil, I easily obtain tangled up drawings and perhaps for those who look at them, very complex

With the “walking man”, I tried to enlarge it but it didn’t work. I also realised that it was hard for me to sketch before painting. The drawing or the painting must be unique. I cannot reproduce it without loosing its character, because it is based on my instinct -,

The magic of the instant.

In this ink drawing, there is no connection with the ground, drawing are often floating into space, anchorless like with a bust imbedded in the ground. The connection with the body is difficult to illustrate. I feel more attracted by air and water elements than by earth and fire. It can be seen in my drawing.

“Blue painting”(underneath): here you have and ink and gouache drawing, ith pen and brush. The paper is rather coarse-grained and it bothered me at the beginning. But eventually the public liked it.

I often reject my work after creating it.

It’s an inner picture: It’s often upsetting to see it. But I end up finally accepting it.

I added some white for I thought it was too dark, too sad. Colours soften things.

Some paintings are dark, I realised they were hard, chaotic, after a trip to Morocco, in the light of the south.

I usually paint with a lot of black, and there for once, I felt like introducing cheerfulness and colour. It was a quick reaction; sometimes it just springs up that way.

Whereas usually it takes me longer to conceive a painting, I continue adding white, black

VB : Sketches remind us of automatic drawing.

JLF : I start with automatic drawings.

I started with pencil or paint, I follow my instinct. Then I interpret the drawing. If I only did automatic sketches, it would be rather hollow, it would remain abstract, it would only be marks without a specific intent.

My sketches are less naïve now. My former drawings were closer to doodles done where one is bored. There often is that too. Drawings coming from boredom, as if it could be a source of inspiration.

My recent drawings signify more because my technique is better mastered: there are more details, more subtlety; meaning appears more obviously.

I don’t really intend to introduce meaning.

I don’t want to enclose the spectator in the meaning I imply or I will produce several meanings that will cross one another.

When I post one of my drawings, I see different things everyday, varying with my changing interiority or because there are many possibilities in this nest of interpretation.

It is moving, it is better mastered around the same theme. Not really a portrait, but a head and a bust. I could move in different creative directions but my intent is to focus on one channel. It is a constraint I deliberately choose. It can be felt in what I do. There are many artists who have worked on a single theme, something simple than what I do: subjects are endless.

A straight line can offer infinite combinations. What is important is to enrich it and show it each time in a different way. I appreciate the Chinese and Japanese calligraphy.
I feel moved by what it conveys with one line and to what extent it is poetic.

VB : Are these portraits ?

JLF : They are portraits and self-portraits, both. I would rather say inner portraits; each portrait expresses a temporary reality or a facet of my personality.

When I do something that looks like me and which is right for me, the others can se themselves in it.

I get quite a lot of inspiration from my psychoanalysis and art therapy experiences. It enables me to reach deep down within myself. I feel it’s right, that I’m not superficially in the world of appearance.

There is a narcissistic dimension in my work. It is difficult to represent otherness: why not start with me, and maybe I’ll be able to draw the others. Looking at myself, I have marks, I can have access to more depth.

I have willingly worked on the relationship with others, but I don’t fell comfortable in this exercise. For example, when there are several characters in a composition, they are not necessary linked.

I don’t feel comfortable with the representation of the body, that’s the reason why I paint busts, atrophied bodies, simplistic enough.

In 2009: there were a lot of spirals, symbolising rebirth. I drew snails, shells; I was taking a new start, revealing that state. There where birds, just coming to life.

"The red bird" in 2009

Before I did not portraits, it was rather abstract landscapes.

VB : What do your paintings reveal now ?

JLF : I am treading along painfully - characters are a bit blurred, eventually revealing symbols.

VB : The bird, the eye, is there a reason to that theme ?

JLF : No special reason, I like drawing birds not flying birds but motionless, all gathered together.

In my drawings, you have to look for them to find them. I am not sure they are still birds; they could be shapes of men in disguise…They impose themselves to me, uninvited in my drawings.

The eye has a lot of symbolic meanings for me. It is a sign representing the way I look at the world.