A cigarette for 2
A light fog is guiding us towards the SPREE gallery located on a small hill north of Paris. We are going to see SMOKE, FLORENCE DEYGAS and OLIVIER KUNTZEL'S new exhibit.
We are greeted by a multitude of Art work upon arrival, like in a smoked up play room. Early 19th hundred gallery atmosphere.
Drawings made of intercrossing lines, like the fingers of many hands clasping and embracing. Four hands or solo work realizations, each painting has large and fluid strokes , interlacing of curves and coils where mischievous dolls and hairy bears claws are emerging in a black or gold casket.
As BRUNO HADJADJ (owner of the place and founder of CUTLOG salon) mentions, FLORENCE DEYGAS and OLIVIER KUNTZEL'S enduring personnal work gives us a good idea of the other talent of our artistic duo.
Let's cross some politically correct lines for SMOKE ...
And that's a smoker's statement!
Sabine Morandini: Why such a controversial object, the cigarette and its smoke?
Florence Deygas: Smoke : moving sketch, the hand holds the cigarette and draws with the smoke like a pen.
Space outlined by the smoke as used in our sketches: protective screen, space fragmenting, attempt to capture another, or space created for another, depending of the timing.
No relation with the controversy, or simply the fact that this gesture is now seldomly regarded as elegant or creative.
SM: Can you describe your universe?
K&D: In one word : narrative ! It's a visual universe where you meet characters, often duos, built on the idea of contradiction, contrast, and so beautiful harmonies.
With the Beauty and the Beast duo, we give a very contemporary life to this improbable couple, who could very well be the far reaching descendants of the original couple.
Today Beauty is a model , icon, actress, fashionista, and her Beast, could be this tycoon coming from the East, wrapped into thick fur, or this rock star reclused in his Babel tower ?
SM: You did the opening animation of « Catch me if you can » from Steven Spielberg. What did you get from this Hollywood experience?
K&D: The satisfaction to be wanted and supported as artists, which gave us the strength to do a non compromising and strong job.
Little clarification : working for STEVEN SPIELBERG is very unique in the
Hollywood system, because he's his own producer so he takes the decisions himself, which is extremly rare in Hollywood. We know now that to be able to complete successfully a project of this magnitude , we have to talk directly to the power that be. « God is better than his Saints » finds its true meaning ! Without it many beautiful ideas are killed in the womb.
SM: K+D, who draws and who does what?
K&D: For our theme, Beauty and the Beast, I draw the etheral young lady and Olivier paints or cuts with large strokes a massive but refined Beast. (Dont forget that the Beast 's heart is melting!)
SM: You have a very distinct drawing style, tell us about it...
K&D: To draw with hands is as personnal as giving your fingerprints, as revealing as handwriting.You give yourself. I've always loved the moment of drawing itself because it's « live ». I draw standing, while listening to loud music. Even though I'm not on stage I throw myself on the white canevas with some stagefright.
It's a very private moment. I don't erase, I paint in one stroke, it has to be touching, otherwise I throw it away. Olivier draws differently. First we don't use the same tools . I'm almost excusively feather and black ink, he uses brushes, powders, gold, varnishes, and he has an amazing control of his line. Aside from Picasso in some documentaries , I've never seen anybody draw with such certainty shapes that strong. I'm rather fragile and light, and always unfinished, because I think « in motion ».
That's my animation training. Olivier brings something almost typographic. Wether he draws in small format, like when he sculpts erasers to make stamps, or wether he paints in big format, it's as strong as architecture. Strength and motion, those are our differences.
SM: Your dream work site is rather Nasa or Blade runner?
K&D: Actually we need both ! Reality needs legend, and legend need to root in reality.
SM: How much of your work is digital?
K&D: A very good addition. Impossible to quantify because sometimes a simple sketch brings so many variations like a video and in that case we spend several weeks on it. Sometimes the drawing will take days, and the computer sends it on the other side of the world in a snap!
SM: Internet, what is it to you?
K&D: A selfish pleasure that I can share with the whole world, paradoxal!
SM: What is design for you today?
K&D: The opening to a story, but it needs a soul.
SM: Are you influenced by fashion?
K&D: Yes, in a resisting way most of the time. And when it gets through, it's generally good.
SM: Is music important in your world?
K&D: It's a lot with us, to draw, to think. We always listen to it loud, never as a backgound noise. In that case silence is best. Music inspires us, but also musicians. Their attitude, their relationship with their Art, which is always ahead of other disciplines, their personality.
SM: What fascinates you?
K&D: Sound. Unfortunately it's often muted, gaged,compressed. We just created an audio sculpture that combines narrative design and very extreme sound sensuality.It was an insane project that nobody expected, it was an urgency for us to immerse ourselves in it. We just wanted to see, rather to hear!
SM: Any project for a feature film?
K&D: Stories with a beginning and an end are sad ! With Olivier, we'd rather skip the ending , even if the story might be unfinished. At least it can spring back, come back, now or later. We tell stories differently : First on a drawing, then an object, etc...it's also what we like with the opening of feature films. For « Agathe Clery », ETIENNE CHATILLEZ'movie, we created a sequence that introduces the film, and for the audience it's a delicious moment, like an unexpected appetizer.
SM: Who would you like to work with?
K&D: I canno't answer this. We never dare declare ourselves on that kind of subject. It's always been like that. Maybe out of superstition. To expose ourselve might prevent things from happening. We are somehow like actors, living for the expectation of other's approval.
SM: Is there a french touch in animation?
K&D: It vanished!!Melted in the International diversity. Look at us : We are french by oversight, we have weird names, friends all over the world. Really, what's probably the most french about me is my manicure.