From January 31fst to February 21st, the works of French painter Éric Bourguignon will be adorning the walls of gallery Guido Romero Pierini Michael Timsit, located 21 rue Chapon. In prevision of the « Érosion anthropique » new exhibition and a private showing, which will take place on January 30th, the colorist with a style both oneiric and corporeal confides on his creative process.
In between styles
When he is asked to cite a few artists that inspire him in his daily life, Éric Bourguignon hesitates : of course, there’s a lot of them.
Éric Bourguignon : It’s getting more and more difficult for me to answer that question, because the family is getting bigger and bigger each day !
Bourguignon, who calls painting his “vital passion” does indeed feel inspired not only by the works of his contemporary, but also that of those who came before him. Parietal art has a prominent place in the painter’s imagination. It can be found in the ochre, rocky tones of some of his paintings in his new exhibition. One can make it out amongst the bold and sometimes hazy lines, with the subtle contours. Those faint silhouettes are sometimes accompanied by an almost figurative sketch. A human shape (an ever-shifting one, as Éric Bourguignon’s paintings rarely seem to remain immobile) begins to show. Spectres, just passing by, slowly moving, already gone.
Indeed, you can find, in this atypical artist who describes himself as “neither abstract, nor figurative”, and prefers to describe his work as a “voyage” between those two styles, a love for traces, for the ephemeral. Those infinitely tangible marks of what once was, and today only exists in memories… And on canvas for his new exhibition.
Nature as a source of inspiration
Another one of Bourguignon’s inspirations is nature, both “at ground level, but also in its greatest heights”. Earth, fire, water and air are all represented here with the same subtility, the same dreamlike impressionism.
Adding to an already good art education during his childhood, it was his love of the outdoors that inspired him.
EB : I sometimes went to museums, exhibits… But I also liked to walk outside, I was close to nature… For me there has never been and there still isn’t a line between artistic creation and nature.
It’s around this time that he began his first work.
EB : I don’t have a particular memory of it… I remember a garden scene. To me it was a new mode of expression that was much stronger than speech.
Then, through encounters and ateliers, Éric Bourguignon would build his artistic route — by following the roads less traveled.
Powerful, dreamlike lines
That same freedom of mind really shows through when Bourguignon is asked about his creative process : how does inspiration come to him ?
EB : That’s what I’m wondering too ! For me things come without a real logic, in an informal way.
Spontaneity is undeniably present. The brushstrokes are powerful, the colors and patterns melt into each other, and yet, the ensemble is meticulous, drawn. We swim in an ocean of darkness then for a brief moment fly through those bright oranges that evoke a summer sunset. All this brings to mind a great pictural sensitivity. We feel an impression of melancholic plenitude radiating from Éric Bourguignon’s paintings. We feel both the nostalgic past, and the carnal present.
Love of contrasts
When one looks at Bourguignon’s work, they may see movement, a work in colors and depth… And dizzying contrasts.
EB : I like to make opposites cohabit (transparency and substance, or construction and deconstruction, for example), but also bring colors and shapes together to create a dreamlike universe. Each layer of paint hides the previous one, like stratums hiding a new little story each time.
It is through this will of narration that the new exhibition’s true pictorial construction appears. We can then project our emotions onto it, between heady colors, fragmented floral prints… And heavy darkness that seems straight out of an underground tunnel. We lose ourselves in the winding twists and turns before we finally reach the surface and feel ourselves carried away once more… This time in the celestial immensities or in the deepest part of forests.
A committed exhibit
« Érosion Anthropique », his new exhibition, Éric Bourguignon can describe in those terms :
EB : It is, to simplify, about the influence of Man on nature, with consequences that we know but also the loss of a natural state. The topic isn’t breached frontally during the exhibit at gallery Guido Romero Pierini, but with allusions, titles, an ambiance. A human, spectral, fragile presence that seems to be slowly decomposing, exactly like the nature it stands in.
Éric Bourguignon depicts, with those colored masses, an exhalted nature, that in turns engulfs and is engulfed by Mankind, a being that seems to exist only on the surface. Those finely drawn characters, of lines instead of flesh, are an integral part of their environment, only made out by the contours of their bodies. They seem close to disappearing, eroded by time, in an exhausted nature that seems to be falling onto itself. But even then, it’s a vital, vivacious energy that shows through : a mad dance, to make the end last a little longer.
The new exhibition, « Érosion Anthropique », will open January 31st at the gallery Guido Romero Pierini Michael Timsit, 21 rue Chapon. The venue, located in the heart of the Marais, is available for rent during Fashion Weeks.