“L’Appartement” is a story about jealousy, frustration, tears and loneliness. It is also an appeal to be loved. I started to paint this series in 2010, while I was alone in a very small gallery in Versailles. The gallery was far from downtown and I saw very few people during the exhibition. I felt like a prisoner stuck between its walls. Cast away like a punished, naughty child.
Many of these works are quite violent. The first drawings came out in April 2010, and the first canvas was “La Boudeuse,” which was finished some weeks later.
I still draw and paint on this theme.
The title “L’Appartement” refers to an indoors place. What’s important is the notion of inside. In these paintings you cannot see any doors leading outside. Before L’Appartement, I used to paint characters that were outside (“postures”).
I always draw before I start painting. The drawings are very simple, just some broad lines. When I started “L’Appartement,” I was surprised by my proposal’s hardness, the obvious notions of confinement, boredom, and loneliness. I never try to analyze the sources of my inspiration; I draw and that is all.
As the months go on, I allow more space to surround my characters. Sometimes I write words on walls, and those words become even more important than the characters themselves. We only see them. (“Aime moi.”)
I always paint a situation that I have imagined. I know exactly what is happening, but I do not want to tell the story entirely. For me, it is like a poorly-framed picture—we can see the legs, or the body, or whatever, but there are always some elements missing so that viewers can form their own interpretations.
I try to describe some feelings, create an atmosphere, but the story itself takes a backseat. For example, in “Tears,” there is a character sitting on a chair, we can imagine what he/she is looking for; the fact that we cannot know the age or sex of my characters strengthens the possibility of different interpretations.
I am very touched by the artists who collect, pick up unbelievable things and who transform them. For example, I was very impressed when I discovered Peter Buggenhout at La Maison Rouge in 2010 (“it’s a strange, strange world, Sally”).
In a more intimate way, I very much like the carving work of Vincent Fortemps (“par les sillons,” «”barques” . . . Emotion can also come in small sizes, dark lines, nearly erased drawings. All of this has influenced me in the simplification of my painting (for example, using fewer colors) and even helped me to reconsider the goals for my creations.
The greatest challenges are the ones forthcoming. I am never entirely satisfied with what I painted before . . . Each new exhibition is a challenge. I get the impression that it is becoming more and more difficult for me to talk about my work.
My history with art is a recent history. Nothing in my family predisposed me to be an artist. I come from a family of merchants and I graduated from business school. I worked in marketing, then logistics for 14 years; I married a serious businessman, had three children . . . Then I received a paint box as a gift in 1999. The first time I used it was like a revelation, something very important that I could not avoid. Three years later I left my comfortable job. I am a self-educated artist. Sometimes I feel limited by the fact that I do not benefit from the experience of others, most of the time I realize that I am free, without rules.