InterviewInterview

INTERVIEW WITH ANNIE BASCOUL

Italiano (Italian)

*Foto in evidenza: Photographer David Giancatarina, robe pétrifiée, petrified brass wire, PLA, bobbin lace, 3D, 1m10 x 0,5m. 2020

Translation by Elena Redaelli 

Annie Bascoul, born in 1958, is a French artist who has adopted lace as her chosen means of expression. Her installations have been displayed in major French museums, including her recent solo exhibition at the Musée du Cloître, Tulle, the latest in a long series of institutional spaces in France and abroad that, over the years, have hosted and sometimes acquired her works in their permanent collections: Musée des Beaux Arts et de la dentelle d’Alençon, Musée de la dentelle de Caudry, Musée des Manufactures de Retournac, Musée des Arts décoratifs , de la Faïence et de la Mode Château Borély Marseille – just to name a few. The artist and her research are featured in an extensive bibliography of art publications.

(1) Photographer Christophe Bascoul, general view of the exhibition Poincts en suspension musée du Cloître Tulle ( France)

The elaboration of your works requires a lot of time and a repetition of gestures that belongs to another time. Is it a limitation or an opportunity to use such an ancient technique to create contemporary works?

It is true that lace-making is a long protracted activity but creating the artwork to take full advantage of the space available is also interesting.  We have the satisfaction that, once finished, the result totally compensates for this.  As for repetition, this can be avoided by, for instance, varying the techniques employed, using different materials, exploiting the volume and scaling up or down.

I like working in situ, adapting to the exhibition room ; I’m also particularly interested in addressing the concepts of light and shadow.  In 2010, I had the opportunity to have an exhibition at the Fine Arts and the Lace Museums in Alençon where it became obvious to me that we had to get the visitor to enter the work, first through the shadow and then by emerging into the light ; this realization gave rise to the 6-metre long moucharaby rising to 2,75m.

That is how lace-making emerged in my work, through the desire to face the challenge of a new exhibition space and a new technique ; the lace sculpts the shadow and the light.

I believe that lace-making using alternative materials, such as brass, lace-making which is over-sized, lace-making using a 3D-printer are other directions to explore which allow me to rethink the art of lace-making and make it enter into the realm of contemporary art.  Rethinking/remodelling lace not only reduces time given over to production ; it also makes it clearer and closer to the contemporary vision. Light and shadow have always been important in my work.  Therefore, adding lace-making to my pallet has been a real opportunity to develop my work.

(2) Photographer David Giancatarina, general view of the exhibition sortilèges au château in the Grand Salon au musée Borély  Marseille

What are your works about? What are the themes you investigate through your artistic practice?

I aim to reveal the facet of beauty which is synononymous with reverie and poetry and I seek to provoke emotions ; the emotions one feels in front a singular presence.  In order to attain this, I find inspiration by delving into nature, and through taking inspiration from the decorative arts, fashion and fine arts. I want my works to be rare and precious, beautiful to behold and poetic.

The themes I deal with are those found traditionally in painting and I choose deliberately feminine themes. Likewise, I have often worked on series including « les choses de ma vie/Things from my life », in which I addressed mainly  the aspects of daily life, in particular how she should make herself beautiful  Then followed the « série l’amour/ love series», « série l’ancolie », the series « d’après Watteau», the « série   en Watteau ».  I occasionally relate back to these series in a further exhibition, for example for On the palace steps which may been as being connected to the « Love series ».

As a plastic artist, my research may be summed up by the following keywords : striving for beauty, scenography, adapting the works in situ, the notion of filled and empty spaces, light and shadow, the alternance between small and over-sized, the presence and/or absence of the feminine body, hand-lettering, variations around the theme of white, use of thread/wire for lettering/drawing.

(3) Photographer Christophe Bascoul

How are your works born and developed – where does the inspiration come from and how does it take shape and turn into a work of art?

These last few years, I have mostly worked for museums, adapting my work to the volume available and to the themes highlighted in their collections. Thus, Watteau (2004), needlepoint lace (2010), bobbin lace (from 2012 onwards) then Tulle lace-making (2018-19) all slowly crept into my creative process following specific requests but also for the pleasure of a challenge.

It is often the place which defines how my work evolves, even though the everyday themes remain present.  Thus, at the Lace Museum in Caudry, which normally exhibits dresses, I designed dress-sculptures made from brass wire using the lace-making techniques, thus reinforcing the idea of the corsetted dresses which shaped women’s bodies. I try to make the work relevant to the location.

The artist’s book has been, since the beginning, and still is a way of putting down onto paper possible future projects that I would like to see realized. I first of all search for library or archive documents on the theme, whilst trying to explore different ways of branching off from the theme. I then make a conscious choice and finally, I put these ideas down onto paper before deciding whether or not to create a painting, sculpture or art installation. The «série l’ancolie/aquilegia series » is a perfect example of this way of working as are the «d’après Watteau/ in the style of Watteau » and « en Watteau/in Watteau ».

(4) Photographer David Giancatarina, general view of the exhibition sortilèges au château, Salon Doré Musée Borély   Marseille

What are the main difficulties you find in conveying your works in the context of contemporary art system that has long considered textile art as a ‘minor art’ if not craftsmanship?

It is difficult for me to answer this question as I do not really consider myself to be a textile artist or a lace-maker as I am not sufficiently expert in this field ; I have merely borrowed the technique.  Lace-making techniques are highly complex.  I am closer to the many artists who employ handicrafts in their work or who are more specifically interested in threadwork in order to enrich their mode of expression.  Textiles are for me techniques which feed into my work as a plastic artist .

(5) Photographer David Giancatarina, general view of the exhibition sortilèges au château dans le Grand Salon au musée Borély Marseille

Some of your works are large site specific interventions, installations even of important dimensions. How do you relate to the space in which you work and what relationship is established between it and the artwork?

Dans la « série l’ancolie », les fleurs présentées sont uniformement blanches (fantomatiques) avec parfois des étamines dorées. Leurs dimensions varient de 4m à 1m de haut mais ne sont jamais à taille humaine de façon à ce que le spectateur puisse déambuler au milieu d’un jardin de fleurs plus grandes ou plus petites que lui et de façon à ce que le regard du visiteur soit en mouvement. La salle d’exposition devient alors un jardin.

For me, the art installations must interact through a well thought out scenogrphy and must enhance the location. The installations must also evoke attitudes and feelings in those who visit.  For example, the vertical moucharby interacts with the white feather bed, which is floating in thin air and horizontal. The moucharaby refers back to the wooden tracery partition which hid women from sight, whereas the feather bed evokes the pleasure. The materials used – feathers- and the technique employed – lace-making – both evoke sensuality. The exhibition room is thus transformed.

In the « série l’ancolie/aquilegia series », the flowers are totally white (white as a ghost) and some have gold stamens.  The height of the flowers varies between 1-4m but they are never human-sized ; the visitors therefore wander around a garden whose flowers are smaller or larger than themselves, their gaze constantly on the move.  The exhibition room then embodies the garden.

(6) Photographer David Giancatarina, general view of the exhibition sortilèges au château in the Grand Salon au musée Borély  Marseille

What do you think is the role of the artist in the uncertain times we are living in?

For me, artists are people who are curious about and yet slightly out of step with with things, their environment, the times they live in. The artist rethinks and interprets real life through a plastic transformation.

An exhibition, project or artwork of yours to which you are particularly attached? And an exhibition, project or artwork that you would like to create?

It is my next exhibition or my current work in my artist’s studio  which is my main motivation.  For example, I am currently creating some French formal garden dresses using iron reinforcement bars for outside display.  I would like to produce at least four of them so that they resonate throughout the garden.

Didascalie foto

(1) Photographer Christophe Bascoul, general view of the exhibition Poincts en suspension musée du Cloître Tulle ( France)

-Aux marches du palais I
Lit aux pervenches
Poinct de Tulle, PLA, coton thread

2,10m x2,10m
2019 

-Aux marches du palais  Prototypes de Chaussures
set of shoes of different sizes
cotton, buffalo,Poinct de tulle, PLA, 3D printing
 Installation 2019-2020

-Bouquet de Tulle
cotton, Poinct de tulle, PLA, 3D printing
variable dimensions
installation

-Robe pétrifiée
petrified brass wire, bobbin lace, PLA,3D printing

1m10 x 0,5m

(2) Photographer Christophe Bascoul

-Projet de crinoline acier
painted cut paper polycarbonate and painted plaster                                                       
0,98 m x 1m x 0,035 m
2007        Espace Muraille Genève collection

-Crinoline acier                                                                    
Steel
l,50 m x 0,86 m
2007        Espace Muraille Genèvecollection

-Projet de crinoline jardin
painted cut paper polycarbonate and painted plaster                                                       
0,98 m x 1 m x 0,035 m
2007        Collection Espace Muraille Genève

-Crinoline jardin en Watteau                                                                
Tulle and boiled wool
1,6m x diam 1,1m
 jardin à la française  installation on the floor
2007        Espace Muraille Genève collection

(3) Photographer Christophe Bascoul

-Projet de crinoline acier
painted cut paper polycarbonate and painted plaster                                                       
0,98 m x 1m x 0,035 m
2007        Espace Muraille Genève collection

-Crinoline acier                                                                    
steel
1,50 m x 0,86 m
2007        Espace Muraille Genève collection

(4) Photographer David Giancatarina, general view of the exhibition sortilèges au château, Salon Doré Musée Borély   Marseille

-Robe dentelle « fond chapelet fleuri »    
bobbin lace made of brass
Diam 0,92 m x h 1,10m
2020                                                                                                                          

-Robe au pois Valenciennes 1
bobbin lace made of brass, fishnet tubular design, plumes
2012     Musée de la Dentelle et des Broderies de  Caudry collection                                                          

-robe au pois valenciennes 2
bobbin lace made of brass, fishnet tubular design, plumes
1,60 m x 1m
2012                                                                                                                          

-robe au pois valenciennes4
bobbin lace made of brass, fishnet tubular design, plumes
0,90m x 0,88m                                                                                                                       

-Robe au pois Valenciennes 5
bobbin lace made of brass, fishnet tubular design, plumes
Diam 0,86m x1,23cm                                                               
2012  

(5) Photographer David Giancatarina, general view of the exhibition sortilèges au château dans le Grand Salon au musée Borély Marseille

-série l’ancolie d’après aquilegia viscosa Gouan
Tarlatan, synthetic, brass wire, synthetic foam   
1m04 x 1m10 x 1m10
2000

–lit de jardin jardin de lit   
feathers, brass, cotton
1,88m x1,38m x  
height between the bed and the poetry is variable according to the place of exhibition
2003

-2 panneaux décoratifs
2 side panels made of bobbin lace cotton
3m x 2,75m 
2020

(6) Photographer David Giancatarina, general view of the exhibition sortilèges au château in the Grand Salon au musée Borély  Marseille

-série l’ancolie d’après aquilegia skinneri
tarlatan, brass wire, cotton,ribbons
1m20 x1m20 x1m20       
1999

-Série l’ancolie d’après aquilegia thalictrifolia   
tarlatan, brass wire, cotton , steel          
2000
3m40x 3m40 x 3m30

-série l’ancolie d’après aquilegia viscosa Gouan
tarlatan, brass wire, cotton, synthetic foam
1m04 x 1m10 x 1m10
2000

-Série l’ancolie d’après Aquilegia longissima
tarlatan, brass wire
3m30x 1,20 mx1,20 m          
1999

–lit de jardin jardin de lit   
feathers, brass , cotton
1,88m x1,38m   
height between the bed and the poetry is variable according to the place of exhibition     
2003

-2 panneaux décoratifs
2 side panels made of bobbin lace cotton
3m x 2,75m 
2020

-Moucharabieh
cotton, steel
6 m x2m75   
2010

Barbara Pavan

English version Sono nata a Monza nel 1969 ma cresciuta in provincia di Biella, terra di filati e tessuti. Mi sono occupata lungamente di arte contemporanea, dopo aver trasformato una passione in una professione. Ho curato mostre, progetti espositivi, manifestazioni culturali, cataloghi e blog tematici, collaborando con associazioni, gallerie, istituzioni pubbliche e private. Da qualche anno la mia attenzione è rivolta prevalentemente verso l’arte tessile e la fiber art, linguaggi contemporanei che assecondano un antico e mai sopito interesse per i tappeti ed i tessuti antichi. Su ARTEMORBIDA voglio raccontare la fiber art italiana, con interviste alle artiste ed agli artisti e recensioni degli eventi e delle mostre legate all’arte tessile sul territorio nazionale.