In this our first interview for aqnb we’ll be talking with Mélany Dioré, a talented artist we discovered a few months ago in Brittany (northern France) who belongs to the artistic collective “Bodyworks“. She’ll be exhibiting her latest works at the L’Elaboratoire (Rennes) from October 24th to November 2nd.
Born in 1979 this “Rennais” works and takes much of her energy from the Atlantic Ocean which surrounds the Celtic lands where she lives….
aqnb: Thank you for being with us Mélany, how about if you start telling us where you come from, a bit of your background…
MD: I come from far away! I’ve always had this “foreigner” feeling which it started being an adolescent: I always had a crystal bubble around me…it was like a frontier but a passage at the same time between people and me.
I decided then to try and find out what “being oneself” meant, regardless of being at home or with others: without the blare, the fake identities, masculine or feminine, the deceptions in the speech…
I’ve invested myself a lot in my studies at Rennes University where I had double-period cycles. In the first ones I deepened as much as I could in order to express my personal interior. I started to isolate myself like an anchorite working deeply with my body, dance, scenography, tissues, wood, design, ink, installations… trying to push my limits.
Secondly I confronted myself… addressing myself to the people to “fight for the truth”, finding what was hard and striking, profound and permanent. This time I showed my work looking for links with this exterior world out of my studio.
At that time I acted a lot because of provocation or resistance, defying my sense of modesty, my shyness and singularity to those whom I considered superior to me. This continued until one August I got shocked reading Francois Cheng’s “le vide et le plein”. I realised the fictitious load my work had, which was undoubtedly complete and integral but kept fighting against those windmills. The perspective I chose for my work couldn’t be exhaustive or a minimum humanist; I noticed it was purely direct. Since then I’ve started to realise what’s permanent in the impermanence of things… I let these act by themselves instead of trying to battle and try to control them, I’ve learnt respiration, how to exchange with the chance. Finally I passed a PGCSE to finance my work telling myself I still needed a decade to be fully able to complete a mature work I could publish. And there you go, 10 years have passed by!
aqnb: How would you describe your work ?
MD: Like a constant interface search. I’m pierced with questions and I can’t let them go. It’s in these moments when my work emerges, in an existential way. I think that unlike before it communicates like a sensitive object, its meaning or its interest are secondary. Its aimed at human beings by its sensitive aspect, I think it should speak directly to them.
The senses are awake, any of them, visual, tactile, or even the sixth sense! I’m trying to stick a vibrant arrow into the spectator so that he experiences an aesthetical shake that will lead to the sensitive part. I believe that the way I communicate is quite similar to acupuncture. I focus, search & drill, finally it’s spread. Even if I don’t get to name this procedure, for now I’m sure of working with “energy”. That could be a risky way of describing it.
So what does my work talk about?
About the “Relevance of borders” (retaking the expression by Alice Zeniter); between tangible and intangible, heavy and light, those of the individuals with themselves, those between opposed otherness, that complete or melt, those between our interior landscape and the exterior environment…
aqnb: What interests you in art, who or what inspires you?
MD: I have no intrinsic interests in art. It is vital, so I have the one I live!
What impulses each and every one of my pieces is a need, that of a dialectic of thought. But every time it’s something special. For “Palette des affects”, I wanted to find a personal solution which would bring the human being to a miniature. I wanted to stand back like looking at the earth from a satellite. Miniaturize what is characteristic in humans, to reveal this recurrent, cyclical, absurd and mostly impermanent side of ours… which it gives us our colors: the affections.
I wanted to make our feelings being perceived like human seasons, so versatile and not limited to their definition: there’s spring inside winter just like there maybe tenderness inside our anger. I needed to express it that way as for me it’s much more understandable and less divided than if I had used my own words.
Very often I don’t agree with what words express and all the common sense we try to put into them. I need to communicate otherwise… but each work has its very own intention; its birth date is unknown before emerging. On the other hand there are a few inspirational sources which are completely personal and the spectator won’t necessarily guess. For example: while working with “l’autre je” I kept constantly thinking about “the empty sign” by Roland Barthes. For “du temps” I thought about women embroidering and a monk raking…
aqnb: Which is the reaction of people towards your works?
MD: I’d love to know! I can only guess… While observing them you can see those who are intrigued by the meaning, those who refuse to stop by and those who don’t give a shit. Most of the time they experience my works, and then…?? I’ve seen very different reactions. I specially remember a little kid who, during an exhibition in Brest, took a spear (which was part of an Installation with 4 meter moving sterns..) and began chasing an adult, the rest of the people where obviously quite confused.
More often this refers to the people, some ban themselves, others giggle imagining how much time certain works require, while others relish the “visual poetry”. In any case, what I like to remark is that language is poor, it can’t offer a solution to those who experience my work: either they express a bunch of impressions that can’t describe the feelings properly, either they live internally; they seem to live those things but keep it to themselves. As if it took some time to digest it… slowly. Once there was an individual’s attitude that affected me but I guess he was quite right: that person believed that if the author was nearby, his presence would simply disturb the viewer’s personal experience… like radio waves… he was probably right.
aqnb: Why the relief?
MD: Two reasons for that:
– Firstly I used to work basically with shapes: installations (which could take a space up to 10 m2 by 3m); either purely 2D works (designs, inks, painting, photograph, engraving…)… Reliefs have come to reunite all those procedures I used separately.
– Also there’s a very strong instinct inside me which pushes me not to consider the canvas or the board like a mere representative space. I can’t talk only “on” a support: for me it’s necessary to communicate “through” and “with” it.
This support must become an interface: “l’espace en soi” is a quasi-figurative representation, but not only that. 20cm peaks planted on the canvas were needed to communicate the rhythm and energy of this board in order to reach the spectator. The verso had also to be visible so all the fabrication process is always present in the final result.
It is suspended in the middle of the room so the people can turn around it, get into it, in all its magnificence and momentums. Like an Inuit mask or a Vaudou sculpture which can’t be blocked by the museum space or the window, we should let it say everything there’s to be said: a representation, an object but also a presence. The relief is then a need to leave the canvas for not being restricted to representation. The shadow that keeps changing to the moving light is also very important, with relief the work is there for the spectator, there and now.
aqnb: If your style was a trend, a music band or a song?
MD: I didn’t even know I had a “style”. Although people tell me there’s a more and more visible unity in my works, she’s still not evident to me and even less sought or desired. The aesthetic common thread to all my works rests inaccessible to me: I see a consistency of materials (even if very miscellaneous), a recurring chromatic taste and a special sensitivity to all which is exacerbated and / or empty. But I perceive peculiarities overall, I mostly perceive the differences.
If I have to find something that resembles it… maybe the Shakuhachi flute sound, the traditional Japanese craftsmen and their rigor, gentleness and simplicity, an installation by Kazuo Katase, or the feeling we have when finding an ant stuck between the pages of a book we didn’t read since last summer…. and flies away when opening it!
aqnb: Artists who have influenced you?
MD: Above all (I discovered him when I was14 y.o.) Egon Schiele. Then Rebecca Horn, Joseph Beuys (also for his writings), Robert Filliou, Panamarenko, Giuseppe Penone, Cai Guo Qiang, Michel François, Fabienne Verdier, Anthony Gormley, Jannis Kounellis, Kazuo Katase and recently Jacob Hashimoto.
aqnb: Quite a long list huh? Ok moving on, Talk to us about your future projects…
MD: Well, right now I’m working on a project under wraps! I’d love to work in small installations, make them in mini-sizes under protection. They all have poetic dimensions and will be done with very ephemeral and light materials…. They talk about absurdity and can seem fun for certain people (machine to catch butterflies…). They’ll be under a glass as they evoke elsewhere, childhood and fragility.
If not, I’m trying to find a publisher for a book I’ve written. A story without an elaborated wording, with small materials (tissue, aquarelle..). The planks should be exhibited at the “Salon du Livre Jeunesse” in Trouville sur Mer next June. I’m thinking of an installation that will allow you all to read on the air, and would be accompanied with a sound installation.
Otherwise, there are lots of things, but still… “Under construction”. I don’t even know where they might end. What I’m pretty sure of is to try and occupy more room-space… coming back to installations and better define the context to succeed.
aqnb: One last question… what’s your objective in life, and that of your art?
MD: My real objective right now is to have a workshop in Japan, as I think there are lots of links that attach me to that cultural sensitivity. Japanese are probably more perceptive to my type of art, to what I’m looking for. But on the long term, I want to … work,… I love that!! I look forward to bringing forth lots of work: I’ve got the ideas inside me, now I have to materialize them and make them speak into the air of time.
aqnb : Thank You Mélany, see you @ Rennes
MD: My Pleasure