Interview

Terencio González / Françoise Docquiert
April 2017

You mostly paint. What were your first sources of inspiration? How important are origins within your work?
The work I have developed for some years has been made in a very intuitive way. Concerning origins, I use materials exclusively from the three regions I come from: France, Spain and Argentina. The background is made from the French mural acrylic paint; the posters come from Argentina, and the spray paint, which I have used for a long time, is Spanish. I like this hybrid aspect in my work. Even though I was born in France and I am still here today, I remain sensitive to the idea of developing my work with materials from elsewhere.

Who are you looking at? Do you have a particulate relationship with the great painting masters or with other kind of artists (visual arts, music, literature)?
I look at many artists, especially painters. Concerning the great masters, yes, I particularly admire Velasquez’s work, the Impressionists and Picasso. I am interested in Baselitz, Luc Thuymans, and on American artists such as De Kooning and Diebenkorn. Among the youngest, I love Eddie Martinez and Simon Laureyns.
I regularly go to the movies and I prefer auteur films and documentaries, for example the ones by Jean Rouch. I have seen recently Larry Clark’s first films (including his degree project) and I also love the film director Charles Burnett.

The composition of your works (superposition, compartmentalisation of space, edges, the marks made by the spray paint) inquires the notion of space and frame. What does that allow you to express?
I try to reach harmony of colors and directions within the framework using different kind of materials. That is also why I love to work with different formats: in order to challenge myself, expose myself to danger and find new solutions. I am also aware that the painting, once hung, is gladly overflowing with its frame to occupy the surrounding area. Within your practice, you affix street posters to the canvas. Can you explain this choice and what does it add to your work? These posters can be found in Buenos Aires’ streets and its surroundings. It is a fly-posting technique that implies putting posters all over to announce alternative initiatives. It is a low-cost way of distribution that requires a quick impression but is not common in the city. I discovered them while wandering in the streets and was first impressed by the visual aspect of these prints: cheap paper, craftwork printings, hastily made with their own so-called defaults, textures, remains of letters, unexpected folds, an unprecedented mix of colors… The fact that every poster is unique is a treasure for me.
It is important to point out that I buy them from a printer; I do not take them off the streets. I also like the fact that these posters defend popular initiatives and give everyone a chance to express himself or herself publicly. I do have the same relationship with spray paint as it allows everyone to communicate in the streets, with political, humorous or artistic messages. I love the fact these two ways of expression put us all on equal terms. I deeply wish all the materials I use (mural painting, the back of posters and the spray paint) are connected to the street which is my greatest source of inspiration.

You often use primary colors. Is there a particular affinity? Do you prefer the oil or the acrylic paint? How does your work develop with color? How do you relate to the raw canvas?
I do not think I have a particular preference for primary colors. I prefer the oil painting which, I think, offers a great easy handling, fineness and sensitivity in the hues. The work I make regarding color is done in a very intuitive way, by using every experience that I have had.
I try to find a new combination of colors and shapes for each canvas that will be even stronger, more striking and especially more beautiful than the one before. I love to work with raw linen canvas; I love to stretch it myself over the frame, to prepare and paint it. While I work these steps, I already know what the final work will be. This is important to me. When I apply the color with the mural paint on the canvas, I enjoy the way some areas are unveiled, more or less white, and also to let the raw linen canvas show: I am already working on texture, depth and composition.

Do you work with a kind of improvisation? Do you play with the notion of time?
In every stage of painting, I have a very precise idea that I try to execute. However, I always allow a very important part of improvisation. It is very important to me to stay open and receptive to the moment, to what is happening in order to react according to it. For example, sometimes I utilize used or lightly clogged nozzles of spray paint bottles, and I find an unexpected result that I would never have imagined.
Concerning the notion of time, I can say that I love to let the work rest when I thought it was already finished, and look at it later with a fresh look to alter it or not.

Looking at your work, we have the impression that you want to go to the end of a process. When do you decide that
a series is over? And how do you see the evolution of your work?
I decide a series is over when I consider that I have nothing interesting or constructive to add to it. For the moment, I still see many possibilities and possible evolutions, which does not prevent me from working on other projects besides.

Are you sometimes afraid of being caught up in the field of abstraction? Is it essential for you to bring emotion to the viewer’s experience?
I don’t think I want to provoke an emotion at all costs to the viewer. Actually, I realize that my artistic work is quite selfish: the main thing for me is to create a work that overwhelms me, which generates my greatest admiration, even if that is not humble of me to say so. And of course, I also want to share these emotions with many others.

What is your rhythm of production? How your studio looks like? And what can we find in it?
I love to work daily in order to move forward continuously over my research and artistic creation. My studio is about 20 square meters. It is facing a beautiful and quiet courtyard with some plants. Except for my working tools, we can find some books, a laptop connected to Internet and above all a hi-fi system. I love to listen to music when I am working.

And in conclusion, what would you like to add?
I am very happy to be able to dedicate a very important part of my time to painting and to creation and I cannot wait to take part in future projects.