Interview: Bernard Pineau
Luca Curci talks with Bernard Pineau during ALCHEMIC BODY 2021, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space, during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – 9TH EDITION, and VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021 at Misericordia Archives.
I was born a Catholic Christian in 1951 in France, in a small medium-sized town: Royan, located by the sea, at the mouth of the Gironde, 120 km above Bordeaux. Luckily, apart from baptism, my parents didn’t impose anything on me, I grew up in complete freedom. My second chance is the beauty and diversity of the landscapes of this region. Large beaches but also coves, large forests but also cliffs and rocks. As far as my memory allows, I remember a strong spiritual appetite which only grew afterwards. Consequently I devoured many readings centered on spirituality, wisdom, religions but also painting.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Bernard Pineau – As a creative artist but also as a spectator, see admirer and also heir. For the artist, painting has become a pressing inner necessity. I cannot not paint. It’s an alchemical process in the sense that what I do outside on the canvas changes me inside. It is my conscience (my soul) that decides and takes control. The finished painting is most often the result of a long process, artistic and spiritual. For admirers, there are many facets. For me, art should above all be food for the soul. I am looking to share a spiritual and artistic quest. Painting is a meditative art. Finally, as an heir, I feel full of gratitude for these great painters who paved the way for freedom and daring. I do not exclude anything, I am an admirer of many old and contemporary painters. Painters yet very far from my approach.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
BP – I am a self-taught person who has been studying spirituality and painting for 55 years. Two passions in reasoning which make me walk. Two quests… and many links. My influences? Stays in India, in ashrams and pilgrimages to the Hymalaya, with incredible encounters. Readings which are spiritual encounters, I would quote Gurdjieff, Theillard de Chardin, Ma Anandamayi, Padre Pio and especially the great religious and spiritual currents, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, shamanism, Taoism , alchemy, Shintoism, etc.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
BP – What I have assimilated from the wisdom books coupled with daily meditations. I seek to share the jubilation I experience when I feel like I have assimilated a fragment of wisdom, a spark of truth. It’s not about teaching lessons. It’s about joy, happiness, simplicity, quest. A great shaman told us “since I share everything I don’t miss anything.”
LC – What is it to be an artist today?
BP – To be an artist in general? I do not know. What I do know, however, is that you have to have something to express and find the right tool to do it. I neither have the patience nor the talent to write long and many pages, let alone music, but painting and drawing are fine for me. Everything makes sense, and everything is alive and smart. To be an artist today is also to produce works that can be upagurus for some researchers. Each of my paintings expresses a thought, a story which, beyond the mind, addresses the soul. To be an artist today is also to be a creator of links.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
BP – Yes of course. Painting is a living, moving and meditative art. I started out with a vivid and strong use of color. Besides, I only use oil paint to get the most fire and light. After a few years, I felt the need for the stroke. I use indelible ink markers (white, black, blue, red …). In doing so, I subscribe to Chinese or Japanese calligraphic art. It’s about finding the right, precise gesture. The line adds meaning to the canvas. There are no possible fixes. The intuitive, spontaneous, precise gesture. The accuracy what. All my paintings are different. Some are combined (which I call fractals) to illustrate a theme. For example, the 7 calamities, the 6 Ripus, the 3 Gunas, etc.
LC – What do you think of the concept of the ALCHEMIC BODY fair? How did that inspire you?
BP – Well done for choosing Alchemy. Rare and courageous choice. Alchemy, like Taoism, has fascinated me for a long time. I didn’t hesitate to participate, it was obvious to me. The choice of the paintings that I present at the exhibition was easy and without doubts. They are philosophies based on the idea that everything is connected and everything is alive. It is the links that give meaning. So how were they able to connect planets, seasons, character traits and metals? It is only in the Vedas and Alchemy where we speak of the four elements. TAO mentions 5.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the ALCHEMIC BODY’s theme?
BP – The four paintings constitute a fractal that illustrates the four elements and the life energy. The central sun symbolizes the Ether of the alchemists, the Tchi of the Taoists, the Atma of the Vedas, and perhaps even the Holy Spirit of the Christians. Several readings are possible. If we divide our lives into four major periods. It can be understood that each period is “dominated” by one element, Birth and Water, Growth and Earth, Spirituality and Fire, and finally Liberation and Air. Another reading is linked to the current calamities. A world dominated by our egos which makes the planet unlivable, and only the inner fire can still save us.