I have come across your work in Basel, this year. I was totally fascinated with those pictures of stars that seemed to be made out of copper verdigri, that were exhibited by the gallery L’Inlassable_ according to us: one of the very few interesting things to see in Volta (one of the numerous satellite fairs that are taking place at the same time as ArtBasel). Could you talk to us about those incredible pieces?
For these works, my inspiration came from the James Webb Space Telescope – to be launched in 2018 by NASA. It’s going to be the largest infrared telescope so far. It’s composed of 18 hexagonal gold-coated mirror segments, which makes it look totally sacred, cathedral-like I think.
I decided to make metal segments in the same shape as the JWST’s, and used chemicals and fire to make nebulas appear. As in space, stars emerge from gas and dust, I tried to recreate theses conditions on a tiny scale.
You have studied at Paris Fine Arts and at Central Saint Martins in London, the end of school was only 3 years ago and yet we have noticed that you have already participated in many shows, are you somehow in a rush? Could you tell us a bit more about your life story?
Rather than in a rush, I’d say I’m making the most of every second. It’s true everything tends to go really fast nowadays, but what I want is to build a solid body of work, and that takes a lot of time. Each little step is important, you need patience, endurance and hard work. Although it’s sometimes difficult to resist the pressure of quick and constant production, it’s really important to keep in mind what counts and what’s left in the end, the work itself. The happiest I feel is when I’m creating in my studio, far from the social events of the art world.
You seem to be attracted with the idea of infinity and absolute, is it a metaphysical search, is it a pro-science posture, or both?
After meeting quite a few researchers, I’ve realized scientists and artists share many things as they observe the world. One of them is creativity, but the difference is you always need to prove your ideas in science, whereas there’s more freedom with art. My practice allows me to question concepts such as infinity without boundaries. I couldn’t affirm it’s a pro-science posture nor a metaphysical search, because it’s a very personal approach.
Your art pieces have direct visual impact, but they are also the result of sometimes complex processes? Do you need both: the looks and the meaning?
I like the space in between the idea and the process of making. Translating an idea, a concept through matter is very challenging. I try to always make it to the point, keeping in mind my first intuition. This goes through an economy of means. The choice of medium is highly important as each material already contains story, a meaning. I often like to work with coal, metal, graphite, because they have this timelessness.
A tough one: what is your aim in life and how do you think your art could help?
I wish to constantly keep learning, to keep exploring and risking things in my practice.
If people feel connected to what I make, spend an interesting time looking at it, even if it’s just for a second, that’s all I can ever dream of.
At another level, I hope I can contribute to raise awareness about environmental issues, by focusing attention on subjects such as climate, pollution, etc.