Since graduating from the Paris art school in 2006, Samuel Richardot has been working with Balice Hertling in Paris, where he had a one man show in 2008. He followed up the same year with the Printemps de Septembre festival in Toulouse, France.
At La Galerie he will be presenting new paintings dating from his recent stay in Berlin, together with a large paper installation.
From the very beginn...[more]
Interview with Samuel Richardot
ArtSlant's writer, Lillian Davies, met with Samuel Richardot and discussed his recent work at La Galerie, Noisy-le-Sec (on view from September 19 - November 21, 2009). Since graduating in 2006 from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Richardot has shown at Balice Hertling in 2008; he was featured at Printemps in Toulouse in 2008; and has received numerous prizes and honors. The exhibition at La Galerie, Noisy-le-Sec, focuses on recent work completed in Berlin. The following are excerpts from the conversation between Lillian and Samuel.
Untitled, 2008-2009; Courtesy of the artist
Lillian Davies: How did you and La Galerie, Noisy-le-Sec Director Marianne Lanavère decide which new works to present in your current exhibition at the space?
Samuel Richardot: The question of installing the show was resolved pretty easily, even though I had no precise idea about presenting the work before I arrived at La Galerie in September. Knowing that I had a sufficient number of canvases to choose from, multiple solutions, I was happy to move “my studio” to La Galerie’s space. When I’m not sure, it seems good to me to work by elimination. It was clear that the big low platform would be situated at the center of the space. I also wanted one room, the biggest one, to present only large format works. The playful exchange between small and large paintings then appeared logical, with this crucial question of the space granted to each of them, for them and between them.
LD: What new developments can we see in your work presented at La Galerie?
SR:In the series of large scale, uniform format, canvases that in the beginning focused the core of my research, an autonomous practice was created. Within this I can see quite a clear development between the different elements that make up this series. In my interview with Benjamin Thorel in La Galerie’s publication for the show, I talk about ensembles within the ensembles — like a kind of parentheses in the series. All of these paintings are new, and they are all continuing to present precise formal decisions, breaking with precedents: painting style, color choice, reflection and choice of forms, etc… But it is the central element in the show, for me completely new, which marks the clearest innovation in my work.
LD: What exactly is the relationship between this central element, a sculptural work, and your paintings?
SR:This piece forms a constant part of my search to find alternative modes of presentation, multiple solutions for a subject in an effort to exercise perpetual renewal. I would qualify this work more as a sculpture even though I wish to show the formal ambiguity of different practices, and that the "pseudo-sculptural" aspect concedes an important space to the work of painting.
LD: The forms that we find in the sculptural work and the paintings, are they symbolic or purely formal?
SR: Both are present: I use shapes for what they represent, for which I do research, and they symbolize a precise visual universe. For example, biological imagery, as well as mechanical and physical, possess very established formal constructions, closely studied. But there is also the research of modeling shapes that I obtain by making successive paper cuttings from one of these “symbolic shapes” or simply random cuts. In all of this, there’s the idea of the prototype (also “mold” in the sense of a cast model) on paper that would make it possible to realize and reproduce a large quantity, in volume, like a factory assembly line.
LD: I would like to know which artists influence your work. For example, in the publication that La Galerie produced on the occasion of your exhibition, you speak with Benjamin Thorel about the work of Bernard Piffaretti. Why him? And are there other artists you look to?
SR: The work of Bernard Piffaretti interests me in a way that allows a lot of freedom and possibilities that are virtually infinite. But he stays within an established frame of a work of painting on canvas. By that he is remaining within the tradition of painting, as he says so himself (see a very good book titled “If you missed the first part …” Editions Presses du Réel, Collection MAMCO), with a limited use of tools, but producing an original painting which does not repeat itself but remains the same, which cannot be dated or classified. I also like to talk about Pifaretti because he is a French example. I would like, however, to be clear that even though I am interested in his work, he doesn’t influence me directly. My interest is more often in the process of working, the organization, or even the system (although I am careful with the system because of its hermeticism) put in place by the artist.
I am attracted by a kind of radicality like what we can find in the work of Martin Barré, Blinky Palermo or more recently Wade Guyton (there was a superb exhibition of his work at Galerie Chantal Crousel in 2007). But painters, in the end, are quite rare in my references and it’s to artists that do not limit themselves to one medium that I look to the most. I really like, for example, the work of Gabriel Orozco, Richard Tuttle, Tatiana Trouvé, Martin Boyce, Allan McCollum, and the excellent Wolfgang Laib.
LD: Also, I would like to ask which forms, objects, and images from daily life influence your work?
SR: It is good to talk a little about what inspires me in my daily landscape because that’s where the essentials are. I quite often talk about the interest that I give to the natural environment and the extreme sensorial richness, the materials that nature offers. It is an infinite source of inspiration where everything pre-exists, where materials are present in their raw form, earth, clay, sand, wood, stone, paper, foam, water, iron, gold … The fact that you can conceive directly from these source materials is really satisfying. And then you also have all these smells and sounds, generated by nature’s infinite vocabulary, dense and multiple.
Talking about these hidden images that nature reveals is an important point. Giving flesh to an image, you get to see a specific moment that testifies of time, space and material. For example: the contours of a shadow cast on the ground, the traces left by the ashes of a fire…To be more precise, I pay a lot of attention to objects that give the possibility to be looked at in different ways. I’m talking about plural shapes, or double shapes. So the shape of objects that enclose an “interior to be visualized or imagined” that we don’t see interests me. The enveloping form, skins, bags, packets, etc … It’s the reason I draw from the organic and biological (certain organs, organisms…).
There are also objects that are the results of studies or very advanced technological developments including the elaboration of a lot of shapes, mechanical pieces for example. There are also objects that I recuperate as a sort of clue in the garbage, in the street, or on the ground. They have a significant interest in the degree of decomposition. Like old shoe soles, I choose them when they don’t look like what they used to be, but something else, and they are granted another existence.
ArtSlant would like to thank Samuel Richardot for his assistance in making this interview possible.