Interview: Lionel Machris
Luca Curci talks with Lionel Machris during ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at Medina Art Gallery.
Lionel Machris (1967, Hamburg, Germany) is a multi-talent in artistic photography. He combines and works with various techniques, to realize new combinations. His sensitive staging is characteristic of his artworks. His distinctive artistic talent, his interest in painting, and his initial sculpture, led him to photography. After graduating from school (diploma in art photography) he trained as a photographer and visited the Hamburg HFBK (University of Fine Arts) regarding art, painting, and graphics. In 1989 he moved to Paris. Following traces of his photographic ideals Helmut Newton and Man Ray, he worked as a freelance photo assistant for various international fashion and cosmetics photographers and began to intensify his interest in the experimental presentation of photography. He was drawn to Milan, where his career began in 1992. He worked for many different magazines (Vogue, Elle Germany, Madame Germany) and prestigious clients (Calvin Klein, Boss, Garnier, Unilever, Beiersdorf), photographing campaigns for fashion and cosmetics, portraying celebrities, singers, actors, athletes, personalities/stars, such as Heidi Klum and Eva Padberg. Lionel Machris always worked on artistic projects, had publications in art books, participated in various group exhibitions, and had a lively exchange with other artists. Since 2018 he has been creating his “Gold Series”, special prints mainly on alu – dibond, refined with 24-carat gold. Lionel Machris uses a special technique and preserves the character of the gold, which supports its luminosity. The effect is incredible, each piece a unique work of art.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Lionel Machris – Everything. Art is the possibility to animate the imagination, to inspire, to provoke, to give it the space to unfold. What is more beautiful than imagination?
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
LM – When I design the pictures, I sink completely into the subject. Nothing comes close to me. Ideas flash, change, develop. I go crazy when I do not get what I have imagined implemented.
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
LM – A good picture is a symbiosis of everything. Perspective, light, shadow, color – SW, golden section, implementation, sharpness – blur, motif design. It is incredible how the power of an image can develop, often through the simplicity of representation. The process of creation I can not explain, it arises.
LC – When you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
LM – Inspiration is everywhere. In everything I see and what surrounds me I find inspiration. There are so many topics that occupy me. The images arise constantly in my head.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
LM – At first it is disconcerting to see the finished picture. I first have to switch off the process of artistic examination. Then I look at it objectively, in terms of craftsmanship. That takes a while, but then I enjoy it and there are works that I would prefer not to give away because I am one with them.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
LM – In Rome, I have four of my works that mean a lot. One is the painting “ERWACHEN” ( awakening ). It is part of the trilogy of life. It tells the story of birth, the emergence from nothing, and the beginning. Secondly, the painting “THE RESOLUTE” from the Series of grace. It shows grace, openness, and respect for others. The picture “THE GRACEFUL” from the series, is my first, almost perfect picture. A very important picture for me is “JUSTITIA” from the series Seven Virtues. It shows Justitia, the just one. The one who stands above things and checks you if you live justly. There are seven cardinal virtues that I have depicted in the series, inspired by the question of whether one lives according to the virtues, Lionel Machris gave each one a face of different ethnicities. Through the symbolism of the mask and the comparable representation, they are connected, forming the circle of virtues that no one can escape. Not averting their gaze, they fix a neutral, calmly waiting for gaze on the viewer, who must ask himself whether he carries this and lives by it. The virtues make us what we are. They are not a question of faith or origin. They are part of all human beings. Last but not least is the picture “WOHIN” ( where to ). It shows the dissolution of the ego, the blurring of our body and our being with the question, where does it go after death, is there another life, another dimension, something that makes sense, that we have lived? Or is it nothingness?
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
LM – The works already existed as part or beginning of a series of paintings.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
LM – I really like the idea of making artists’ work available to the public and I think it’s worth supporting. Especially in a mass-market like today, where we don’t even know if the virtually shown artworks really exist. I also like the idea of working with many smaller European galleries. A superordinate company like ITSLIQUID Group shows trust and seriousness. A win-win situation for everyone, the art lover, the galleries, and the artists, and certainly for ITSLIQUID. Therefore, I think it holds opportunities for all.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
LM – Absolutely!
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
LM – Very.