ARTISTS' WORLDS - interviews with artists friends (2023) (x1)
This new series of filmed interviews: UNIVERSES D'ARTISTES, and not PORTRAITS D'ARTISTES, as one might have imagined, is devoted to filming discussions with artist friends I've met over the course of my life and artistic career. Because artists are, in fact, Universes in their own right, with their imaginations in creative mode 24 hours a day. Their work is fused with their lives, and they give their all, expecting neither reward nor comfort from their work. They're relentless and wholehearted, and contrary to what happens to them here in France, it seems that in Japan, they're considered Living Treasures! Isn't the grass always greener on the other side of the fence? Unfortunately, this series was started a little late, because when I was in New York in the 1990s and 2000s, I really would have liked to have recorded our long, interminable discussions with my painter friends, in particular Stefan Becker, a German from Munich, and Pierre Louaver, a Frenchman who lived in New York for over thirty years and who both passed away a few years ago. But back then, I didn't shoot films, and professional equipment was very expensive. Today, over the last ten years or so, I've been able to invest in filming equipment, so I can organize my interviews independently with my cameraman friend Lionel Georges.
But as my grandfather Maurice so rightly said to me after the death of my grandmother Nelly: "Death has taught me one thing, Jean-Pierre, and that is that when people are gone, there's nothing more you can do for them. So let's take advantage of the fact that we're alive and well, to talk and exchange views on Art, Literature or Spirituality, freely, fundamentally and openly with our friends...
And then, in the long History of Art and Humanity, I'd really like to have a chat with the shamans who painted the Lascaux or Cosquer caves, or the cave paintings at Serranía de La Lindosa in Colombia (-12500), or with the artists who painted the walls of Egyptian tombs, the artists of the Middle Ages or the builders of cathedrals, the Australian aborigines or the Mayan artists who painted those magnificent vases adorned with mythological scenes... And then Frida Kahlo, Antonin Artaud... and then maybe Giotto, Gauguin, Caravaggio or Rothko. It seems important that, beyond their works, which can sometimes speak for themselves but which often also need to be placed in their historical, religious and social context, while insisting on the artist's particular beliefs and experiences, to better understand and apprehend their works. Art doesn't necessarily need to be understood, but in order to be fully felt and appreciated, it's necessary to find a way in, one that's neither hidden nor secret, but one whose existence must be known all the same, otherwise we'll miss out entirely, without realizing the depth of the gesture and energies present in these works of art.
In this series, I'd like to talk about my artist friends, not just anyone, but those with whom I feel an elective affinity, a community, a brotherhood. Not these painters, of whom there is more than an abundance and plethora today, and who, as Thomas Bernhard so aptly put it in his fabulous and scathing book Maîtres anciens: "Painters did not paint what they should have painted, but only what they were commissioned to paint, or what brought them money or fame," he said.
My friends, like myself (although I'm a little better known because I was lucky enough to develop my career in New York), are not in the Contemporary Art Market and hardly ever sell any paintings. They rarely exhibit their work, when you really need to see it, discover it, appreciate it and talk about it at length! We must pay tribute to their work, and that's the main reason for this UNIVERS D'ARTISTES series, otherwise these works, these generous thoughts and these ancient souls, so singular and eternal, will disappear forever, in silence, indifference and oblivion.