Neil Clément, 2012

Can you briefly describe what you do ?
I am a French painter and I live in the southwest of France, in Bordeaux. I work on canvas (oil) or on paper (gouache) from preliminary, predetermined geometrical drawings (circles, triangles, trapeziums, peculiar shapes). My paintings are neither illusionistic nor demonstrative.

And, how long that you been doing that ?
I have been painting series for the last 12 years.

What drives you to make work ?
Shape is Thought. Pictures, paintings are the expression of Poetry which could shake the meaning of the world. An unprejudiced, and as much as possible - undetermined expression. Pissaro said : ‘my conscience became free as did my eyes.’

Can you tell me something of your day-to-day working practices ?
I work in series. I do not work every day since I teach in an Art School to earn my living. When I am in my studio I first work systematically on my drawings and then paint accordingly. Regularity and discipline are very important to me. They prevent any romantic and/or sentimental drifts : one should paint even if one doesn’t feed in the mood...

Which artists have had the greatest affect on your work ?
Morandi, Bram and Matisse. What, outside visual art, informs your practice ? Roland Barthes (1915-1980) writer and art critic who wrote : ‘one must not seek to express the inexpressible, but to un-express the expressible.’

How would you like people to engage with your work ?
I expect the viewer to feel free, tolerant and open to any visual experience. Have you seen anything recently that has made an impression ? The François Morellet reinstallations exhibition at the Modern Art Centre (Centre Pompidou, Paris) in 2010 and most exhibits at the Jordan contemporary art Gallery in Paris.

Do you have anything exciting on the horizon ?
A large series of gouaches which I hope to exhibit shortly.


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