domenica 6 maggio 2018

Christophe Hamaide Pierson, multi-media artist, interviewed by Fattitaliani: Works of art give you new and different ways to approach the world


(Italian version) Christophe Hamaide Pierson, multi-media artist, on exhibition in Palermo at the Pantaleone Gallery until 31 May 2018. Interview by Andrea Giostra.

Ciao Christophe, welcome and thank you for your availability. To our readers who would like to know something more about you as an artist, what would you tell? Who is Christophe? What is avaf (Assume Vivid Astro Focus) by Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide-Pierson? Would you please tell our readers who you are and what you have already done around the world?

My name is Christophe Hamaide-Pierson and I am part of the French-Brazilian duo called assume vivid astro focus or avaf. Eli and I have been working together as a duo for quite a while now – since early 2000, after meeting in NYC where we lived in the late nineties. We now tend to split the projects we are working on: being based in Europe (I am French and based in Paris), I usually take care of avaf projects on that side of the planet and further east, while Eli (a Brazilian based in Sao Paulo) deals with projects happening on the other side of the Atlantic. It mostly depends on our agenda and what is easier for us since we don’t live in the same city anymore. Regarding the show at Francesco Pantaleone Contemporary (FPAC) in Palermo, for instance, I was the only one entirely involved.
Neither Eli nor I come from an art background. Eli studied cinema back in Sao Paulo while I studied architecture in Paris. Coming from different backgrounds and from different parts of the world, I think, resonates in our all-encompassing, unbridled vision. Our main focus are installations and site-specific projects, or public art projects, and that’s what we’ve been doing (and still do) for more than 10 years now, in different locations around the world. These include: MCA Santa Barbara (2016), The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2015); The Faena Art Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014); The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami (2013); The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway (2009); The São Paulo Bienal, Brazil (2008); The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (2008); The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT), Tokyo, Japan (2007); The 1st Athens Biennale, Greece (2007); The Geffen Contemporary (MoCA), Los Angeles (2005); The Whitney Biennial, New York (2004), to name but a few. 

Tell us about your exhibition in Palermo, which you entitled "Isola Isola", open to the public, with free admission, at Galleria Pantaleone in Palazzo Napoli at Quattro Canti, until 31 May 2018?

I‘ve known Francesco Pantaleone for a long time now, but this is actually the first time we worked together. We discussed about doing a show together a few months back this year, and luckily I was available and very excited to do it - especially since Francesco offered me the option to work on site, the gallery space becoming my studio space. So Palermo became my new place of residence for six weeks. I only knew the city from a vacation trip a few years ago… How could I resist the opportunity of being based in Palermo for a month and a half to work on the show?
This site-specific project is twofold: There is a permanent piece in the staircase, a wallpaper pasted on the walls at the entrance of the gallery. This all-embracing energetic “welcoming part” of the show creates a sharp contrast with the second part of the space, that is more poetic and peaceful.
For the second part of the show, I was focused on making a new body of work involving the idea of actually making things with my own hands, with a limited time and space, instead of having works produced for me by other people. Prior to Palermo, I had made some new pieces in my Paris studio using galvanized welded mesh, plaster and paint – and I kept developing this new approach in my work for the show at FPAC, incorporating elements that would be related to Palermo and to my own personal relationship to the city during my stay.
Once in Palermo, my time was mostly spent in the gallery space producing a number of wire-mesh-and-plaster panels, that I would then reshape so each would look different and unique, like some crumpled discarded sheet. In the process, these bi-dimensional plaster sheets gained a third dimension (depth) while being reshaped, bended or even folded. I then organized them by groups and started painting a repetitive pattern on all of them: a colourful island lost in a sea of white. The pattern looks like a cartoon-like lightning, while still being abstract enough to allow for different interpretations – all of them playful and joyful, though.
This shape was repeated a number of times using a single colour per panel, and I ended up with a colour constellation of little islands that were part of the larger plaster constellation.
In the process, I came to realize that this show was also about a personal artistic conflict: 2D vs. 3D, or painting vs. sculpture, or even artefact vs. installation. I wanted to emphasize this idea and I started thinking about how best to express this for the viewer to share this conflict.
Every day, walking from my apartment to to the gallery, I came across elements that I felt were emblematic of Palermo, a city where locals and traditions mix with mass tourism and what usually comes with it: trashy souvenirs from plastic wonderland!
Urged by my desire to make sculptures rather than 2D pieces, I decided to combine my painted plaster panels with those cell-phone holders you can find in the more touristic streets of Palermo. All my panels could then be mounted on the gallery walls, kind of popping out of them, escaping the flat surface they were originally assigned to. I also used local wooden-bead curtains (so common down here), that I dismantled to mix with other painted plaster panels, in order to create hybrid works that were both paintings and sculptures – and curtains too!
I started painting on sheets of paper as well, and it made sense to combine these paper works to the painted plaster panels mounted on cell-phone holders: this would highlight the idea of a flat surface trying to escape its natural condition. The works were then installed in the gallery space, occupying most of the walls. A constellation of constellations. Multiple islands interconnected…
The show is about this experience of myself being secluded in the gallery space, like being isolated on a very small island, which is also part of a larger one, Sicily. Isola Isola is the result of this creative process. As my curator and friend Agata Polizzi so beautifully put it: “It is inspired by an analysis of the geographical yet psychological characteristic of “being an island”, a condition that enshrines different worlds, states of mind, visions, and multiple independent micro-universes, where every individual is an island in its own way and, as such, maintains a status of autonomy but also feels the need to be in contact with the rest of the world. It is about losing and immersing yourself in a human condition that is common to everyone and that at every step recalls the value of what we are not as single individuals, but as part of the same universe.”

How was your passion for art, for painting, for knowledge through art born?

I am not really sure, but from very early on I was exposed to different forms of art practices or creative processes through my family, and I certainly always drew. Then I always had an appetite for life and a vivid curiosity for my surroundings, which I guess developed through time. I am now an artist in the visual arts, but I love performances such as the theatre and dance or ballet, movies, literature and most of all music. All of which, again, were made accessible to me by my parents at a very early stage, then by myself exploring and absorbing what life has to give at different stages of my life. My dad was a puppeteer at some point, and I spent quite some time as a kid hidden on stage (or backstage) in a cabaret in Paris, off the Champs-Elysées, where he used to work. I think that left quite an impression on me, that special feeling that arises once you are transported in a world that differs from your daily reality, something almost magical that had a lot to do with live performance, the stage, lights and sound.

Why do you think art, painting, sculpture are important today and should be promoted and followed by all those who want to know and learn?

This is true of art in general, not just the mediums mentioned above. Works of art are important because they give you new and different ways to approach the world. We live in a world where everything is so globalized, so unremarkable that it seems vital to shake it all up and question our surroundings. Art is an ideal of doing that… It can also be quite an effort to confront oneself with a work of art, but it’s worth it, however difficult to grasp it might seem at first. Everyone should give it a try, since it’s so rewarding – but a close look at a flower or a tree is also a good way to start! 

What would you recommend to young women and men who want to try their hand at your profession, at your passion?

Well, nothing they haven’t heard already: if you feel you’re an artist deep down, do what your heart (or hand) tells you, not what the current trends or the art market are promoting at a given time. That’s the surest way to fail and to end up unfulfilled and bitter. Also, be sure to distinguish between inspiration and imitation! But, really, I’m starting to feel uncomfortable giving that kind of advice. Can I just suggest they read Rilke’s very inspiring Lettere a un giovane poeta?

What are your next projects and your upcoming artistic events? What are you working on now? And where can your fans follow you?

We are currently working on our next projects, a solo gallery show at Casa Triangulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in July and a big solo show at Confort Moderne, a very nice art center in Poitiers, France, in September… You can expect colors that is certain!
Not sure if I have fans, I don’t consider myself as a pop star but they can follow us here on instagram: @grāv_jōnz and @assumevividastrofocus

Christophe Hamaide Pierson

Casa Triângulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
+55 11 31675621

Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, USA
+1 305 448 8976

Eric Hussenot Galerie, Paris, France
+33 1 48 87 60 81

ASSUME VIVID ASTRO FOCUS – Eli Sudbrack e Christophe Hamaide-Pierson
MOSTRA “ISOLA ISOLA”
Palermo // dal 26 aprile al 31 maggio 2018
dal martedì al sabato | dalle 10:00 alle 13:00 e dalle 15:00 alle 19:00

Galleria Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea
Palermo, via Vittorio Emanuele, 303
+39 091 332482
www.fpac.it
info@fpac.it

Andrea Giostra
https://andreagiostrafilm.blogspot.it
https://business.facebook.com/AndreaGiostraFilm/