Interview: Helene Bascoul
Luca Curci talks with Helene Bascoul during ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021, at Medina Art Gallery, and VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021 at Misericordia Archives.
My enthusiasm as a visual artist is to collect thoughts, dreams, images, ideas and often also everyday objects. I then place imagination in them and give them meaning. I am constantly experimenting and find that any technique is a means of self-discovery, the primary material being the person and his environment. I tinkered a lot with the objects gleaned here and there, then I painted, drew with many techniques, mixing them again and again. Then I discovered engraving. I co-created the association La Pince in 2013 in Brest. I offer engraving in Plastic Arts and Art Therapy to various audiences: disability mix, psychic disorders, integration, training, all generations combined. I also take my press under the arm for 10 years, to go engrave in prison with minors and adults, on lino, wood, Rhenalon, metal. Each person can thus imagine, draw and engrave: gain self-confidence and access his inner world.
LUCA CURCI – What is art for you?
HELENE BASCOUL – Art is a means of personal expression, a practice of artistic techniques that allows me to have a place in the world in which we live. It allows me to express myself, to know myself, to do myself good, to dream, to communicate with others, to transmit know how, to share my thoughts, ideas, daydreams and emotions… I like to look at other people’s creations and meet people through that. This establishes real relationships between people, allows access to their inner world and their vision of the world (society).
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
HB – I started to create small but especially at 18 years old, I wrote a lot, while I was bad in my skin. Drawing with inks and painting was a bit like therapy, then I worked a lot and turned to artistic studies (Paris-Sorbonne). Then I became interested in transmission, pedagogy; the profession of animator in Plastic Arts and Art Therapy. I did several trainings and obtained diplomas, until recently in 2019, related to art and my job as an artist-speaker-workshop leader. I created an association (lapince.org), in which I give courses in engraving and plastic arts. I also go to structures with vulnerable groups, to do workshops: remedile home (adult and minor), residence for people with mental disorders, young people released from prison or in reintegration, young people with disabilities. No doubt the sensitivity, fragility and vulnerability, which surpassed me at a time in my life. I also discovered at the beginning of my studies German Expressionism, Alberto Giacometti and other very expressive artists, showing the man in an authentic, “ugly”, beautiful and fragile way.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?- How is being an artist nowadays?
HB – I like to work in my association, even if I do not have a good salary, but I like what I do, I chose it. I like to create at the same time passionately. Everything is connected, I think I have this chance. I make art almost all the time! Otherwise I see my friends who only have the creation to pay their rent and I think that it can also alter a little the freedom of expression and the choice of what we express.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
HB – I have always observed others, the world around me, whether it is the city, nature, the sky, other cultures. I have traveled a lot and am touched by the universality of the experiences of human beings. I followed the training of Arno Stern’s “Jeu de peindre”, who noticed that a child of a tribe in Afghanistan spoke on the same themes as a little Parisian, with signs of the same graphic family. I find inspiration in everyday life, my feelings and those of the vulnerable audiences I meet in my workshops.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
HB – I started at 18 with a recognizable style, characters with big eyes, quite tortured. I practiced painting a lot with all kinds of techniques. I experimented with collage with torn posters, salvage objects… I represented things that I was almost alone in perceiving, between figurative and abstraction. I had discovered in 2000 the engraving of others with a real crush, but I did not start to make it until 2010. The techniques of etching and aquatint are as sensitive experiences and absolutely exciting techniques and it has been obvious for 2 years! These are the techniques I’ve been looking for for so long. My style is now recognizable according to the feedback of people who look at my work. According to them there is a very particular world that pre-exists.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
HB – I find it interesting to bring together artists from all over the world around a universal theme. As a matter of course, I thought of the place that everyone tries to make themselves in the social space, cultural. How to express yourself?
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
HB – My exhibited engravings were made in the continuity of the confinement experienced. I challenged myself to make one or two engravings per room of my apartment. I made scenes of everyday life with a dreamlike shift. To say a little: “I’m here, my body occupies this space, but I’m also somewhere else and I can transform reality as I wish with my imagination. I am not totally a prisoner of reality”.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
HB – Yes, of course.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
HB – I wish I could come with my creations and meet you. I hope this experience won’t just be a virtual experience. I am more accustomed to real human encounters.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
HB – It seems important and grandiose. You seem to have a very extensive activity and you are very precise and serious in your actions and explanations, thank you for your follow-up and your kindness!