I’m mostly passionate and determined. I feel strong but not confident yet - I think it takes a while to get there. I’m also very demanding towards others and myself, and of course towards my work. I’m hardly ever satisfied, which is good on one hand and exhausting on the other.
© Juliette Abitbol
Who are you?
I’m mostly passionate and determined. I feel strong but not confident yet - I think it takes a while to get there. I’m also very demanding towards others and myself, and of course towards my work. I’m hardly ever satisfied, which is good on one hand and exhausting on the other. There’s a hint of melancholy in my soul, but I’m also very positive and enthusiastic about things. I want to make the most of my life. People often say I’m an old person in a young body, which I’ll choose to take as a compliment.
When did you feel you had to be an artist?
It was a natural process, it just felt like the right thing to do. When I was a child, I couldn’t spend a day without drawing or making something with my hands. It has always been my little refuge, something that makes me feel good whatever happens. Today my practice is a bit different of course, but it still gives me as much pleasure. It has become more stressful and I’m often under a lot of pressure, but I try to stay focused on why I’m doing this in the first place. I don’t come from an artistic family, but was lucky to always be supported in my choices.
How would you describe your art?
It’s still evolving a lot but I’ll give it a try. I use a large variety of media such as drawing, sculpture, photography, video and somehow everything connects. My work is mostly black and white or monochrome at the moment, because it allows me to go straight to the point, without adding too much information. Many works are inspired by scientific imagery, sometimes using ready-made objects such as terrestrial globes, star charts, telescope mirrors etc. I’m fascinated by vast spaces, craters, minerals and of course the sky. I like creating contrasts between the abstract and the figurative, the meticulous and the raw. I’m going towards large-scale work and want to take more risks in my practice.
What do you hope to achieve with it?
I usually don’t have any expectations while making something, because if you think too much you lose your spontaneity. But when people are touched by my work, it makes me happy. I do hope to continue doing only this for my whole life and that it takes me to many interesting places.
Which artist has made an indelible impression on you?
Michael Heizer. When I discovered his work at DIA Beacon a few years ago, I was immediately struck by its physical dimension and the incredible strength that emerged from it.
Who do you admire the most?
I admire astronomers who have the courage to travel to space, doctors, brain and heart surgeons... They have the most incredible jobs. But above all, I admire kind and honest people, whatever it is they do. It might sound cheesy, but my grandmothers were the kindest and most selfless women I’ve met. They remain strong examples for me.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I think I was a serious child, and I would advise my younger self to be a bit more carefree, because serious stuff inevitably turns up someday. My childhood was pretty happy though, I can’t complain.
Which subject would you like to know more about?
I’d like to know more about the human brain’s capacities. We know so little about how to use it, and I’m convinced that in a few decades or centuries, people will develop whole new parts of their brain, new ways to communicate for instance. I’ve had so many telepathic experiences and am quite receptive to these unexplained phenomena. Parallel universes are of interest, too. I’m visiting the CERN (Large Hadron Collider) soon, which I’m really excited about.
What is the one thing you can’t live without, besides art?
Good food is pretty exciting, don’t you think? I enjoy cooking a lot, but mostly for others, because I hate eating alone.
What do you dream of?
Right now my absolute dream would be a trip to the Atacama desert to spend some days and nights in the observatories, surrounded by researchers.
© Juliette Abitbol
Blank III (2015) (screenprint on telescope mirror blank, concrete) © Caroline Corbasson / Courtesy Galerie Laurence Bernard, Genève
Mine (2015) (charcoal on paper) © Caroline Corbasson
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