Interview: Alain Rousseau
Luca Curci talks with Alain Rousseau during VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020 and FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
“He paint the living beings to experience feelings and emotions. He focuses on the psychology of the subject in bright colors. His style, the ‘chromobscur’, uses a dark and non-figurative background, inspired by Spanish and Flemish painters of the 16th. The subject itself is composed of bright colors, even violent, with energetic brush strokes recalling the ways of Impressionism and Cubism to shake up conventions”.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Alain Rousseau – I am in the process of making a series of portraits of women who smoke and show their femininity in the art of holding their cigarettes, which for me is always very meaningful. I respect my style based on bright colors and chiaroscuro. I always pay a lot of attention to the looks, the expressions of the faces and the attitudes of my characters with whom I dialogue throughout my creation.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
AR – I baptized my style “chromobscur”. This word is based on two elements: the first, the background, inspired by the Spanish and Flemish painters of the 16th century including chiaroscuro, is dark and not figurative; for the second, I use bright or even violent colors recalling the ways of Impressionism and Cubism to shake the conventions. During my studies, I was also influenced by the history of art, architecture as well as by my cinema courses in which I have studied a lot the framing and the plans, the light and the grammar of the cinema of which I draw inspiration for the creation of my paintings. I am also conditioned by my professional experience acquired in television studios, on film sets, during photo sessions, multimedia, journalism and advertising in general. My paintings focus on the psychology of the painted subject rendered by bright colors on a dark monochrome background. So, I am a contemporary artist who is not only familiar with psychology but also involved with these themes in creating my series of oil paintings. I paint essentially living beings who are morpho-psychological studies aiming to feel their feelings and share their emotions. I paint them with an expressive style, inviting them to dialogue with them. The eye is therefore, for me, a vector of meaning allowing me to decipher the personalities. Because of their size, they are positioned at the level of the spectator. After a closer examination of the canvas, it can be seen that the image challenges the viewer and refers to the qualities possessed by the eye or to the lens of a camera zooming on the subject. This is a study of the relationship between the carnal and the individual which is a significant factor in the painting of all my paintings.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
AR – According to the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, the role of the artist is to offer the viewer a portrait of his society, of his reality, so that he can develop an awareness of his own condition and of the multiple realities of his environment. There is often in artists this ‘need’ to materialize an ‘interior landscape’ but also to convert emotion. Artistic practice plays a role of ‘exaltation’ and thus externalizes what is intimate. On the other hand, the artist is an “opener”. Whether we like his works or not, he shows us what exists elsewhere and sometimes shakes us in our convictions by opening up areas of reflection and emotions that take us out of our mental comfort zone. What a fantastic ‘vocation’ to provoke emotion. Individually or collectively, art has real utility and is a need, not just a benefit for the senses.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
AR – As I work more in successive and juxtaposed touches of bright colors but I want my characters to have a very expressive look, the eyes are therefore what I spend the most time on, because everyone knows that the eyes are the mirror of the blade. If I fail to make it visible through my painting, I don’t feel able to complete it satisfactorily for me. So it’s always a challenge.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
AR – My preferences generally go to the painting of roosters and horses, whose attitudes and looks I try to convey which, when I paint them, often make me think of characters with whom I sometimes go so far as to enter into a dialogue (let’s say a monologue). As Aesop and La Fontaine often portrayed them, they look a lot like the humans they mock. But in fact what I prefer above all are the faces of the women who smoke and whose attitudes, the way in which she holds this small flaming roll of tobacco, the one with which they spit out the smoke, the position of their fingers are as much of things revealing their characters. I am not only familiar with the psychology of but also involved in this theme, creating series of paintings in oil on canvas. I am essentially painting living beings which are morphopsychological studies to feel impressions and share emotions with the subject. These subjects painted in an expressive style are inviting us to enter into dialogue with the characters.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
AR – I was immediately seduced for a moment to participate by the variety and level of services offered for this festival. In addition, the setting is a special setting in the center of the city of Venice which magnificently enhances the fact of exhibiting in such mythical and historic places. The spectrum embraced by ITSLIQUID is so vast since it touches on the arts in all their forms (such as design, architecture, fashion, photography, painting, etc.), it organizes multiple multidisciplinary events which combine all world cultures and also maintains contact with the great museums of the world. It is a formidable inspiring melting pot for an artist who thanks to it quickly rubs shoulders with many disciplines which cause him a swarm of creative ideas. All of this takes place in highly symbolic places or places full of artistic and fine art history such as Venice.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
AR – As I always have a range of paintings in progress, I drew on my most recent creations in France to participate in your exhibition, which seemed to me to be representative of my current production. I also have a workshop in China where I worked for 8 years but due to the epidemic at the moment I no longer have access to it. I miss this because it has been a great source of inspiration to me and I have quite a few works stored in it.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
AR – The different teams I have dealt with in my various contacts have always been very professional, very responsive with clear and pragmatic answers and solutions. I think in all the exhibitions that I have done around the world you are one of the ones that I have loved working with. In addition, you have been able to optimize the majesty of the place and allow me to participate in an extraordinary exhibition.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AR – Yes quite. First, because the organization is perfect and the artist can rely completely on it, which takes on the entire process of exhibiting abroad. In addition, your organization has the advantage of providing the artist with the circuits and networks that are so lacking in individual artists lost in this world. In addition, you put your international notoriety for the benefit of the artist who benefits greatly from it.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
AR – I enjoyed cooperating with you very much and have participated in the Venice International exhibition, Artist Of The Month contest and this interview. I am ready to participate with you in futures exhibitions.