Dialogue with CB

Colette Bernardet

What does represent to you the realm of emptiness that you develop in a recursive mode in your variations and variable series ?

In theory and generally speaking, emptiness is a given space that shelters no compound, no matter, no sound, therefore no life whatsoever. But in reality, the lack of tenants does not imply that such spaces are empty. They pause for a moment, before the surge of motion, before sound comes in, as well as the rest and, they are the necessary prelude to life. The emptiness is still and silent for a moment only. It works as a magnet as our gaze is attracted by it, pauses and bounces back to finally rest on the full form and go back again. The observation proceeds in a loop, and relies on bounded emptiness and matter. By going back and forth in a loop, the observer triggers motion and provides balance to my work.
Motion is reborn and my painting becomes alive which is what every artist aims to achieve.
Emptiness provides a breathing space which invigorates the spirit, and is the source of multiple energies that are engineering life while structuring it in a composition.
Emptiness fights gainst a busy composition which confuses the reading by the observer who gets entangled by plethoric and distracting information.

What is the impact on matter and how is it balanced in your work ?

Emptiness and matter exist or should we say void and matter answer one another, together.
Such notion answers a crucial law of contrast stating that within each composition, void and matter should confront in a duality in order to form harmony.
Contrast is the key device. Matter relies on void and justifies its existence by void only. The constant observation of both generates and propels energy. Precisely, such energy is momemtum driven and nurtures motion and hence, life itself. The intensity of motion impacts on the observer and relies on the intensity of the void granted which relaxes the gaze without losing it.
Before handling the brush to trace a dot or a line, i rely on my intention to do so. When you speak for instance, words come forth to order your thought so that the intention is the illustration of the idea. In my case, I deal with forms, not words. These forms are rooted deep down in my flesh and spirit and they are propeled on the canvas by my phisycal body. My hand and the brush just act as intermediaries. They obey to the impulse.

How do you understand the forms you create and their mutual induced motion ?

Each motion of my hand is monitored by my body anchored on the floor. I am able to focuse because of that anchorage which welcomes calm and serenity propitious for forms to become alive and be assigned on the canvas. Such naked and direct forms are free to express themselves as they carry a life of their own. Its a deliberate choice to set them free and exposed to the observer’s jugment.
They are the custodians of my experiences but they request in order to be freed from the receptacle of my body and spirit to be until now a recluse, isolated from noise and agitation. I listen, and immerse in nature attent to every motion and sound, even to the minute ones, whether I see them or not, i know they are there because they exist in a never ending rythm and motion which i record with my senses in order to propel gestative forms.
All is rythm and motion.
My breathing and the rythm of my body dictate both the tempo of the work.

Do you make a distinction between emptiness and nothingness ?

I do indeed. Emptiness and nothingness are two distinctive notions.
Emptiness is the absense of matter in a determined space. Absolute emptiness is quite hard to achieve. In my paintings, emptiness is never complete as it is alive and in motion.
Consider nothingness which is deprived of existence. It refers to no void, no space, no time, nothing, before the being.

Where do you put the emphasis ?

Nothing in particular prevails. My painting demands balance and therefore harmony.
Not a dot, or a line should be retrieved or corected. Form, void, color, ligne, dot... each answer and calls for the other. Balance provides an inner force to a composition. Abstract Art is precisely that.
The balance remains but is subject to varying interactions between the elements of the composition. Hence, the variation series as well as the variable serie which are never ending.

Are your works reflecting the transformation of your spirit ?

They mirror fleeting emotions and feelings. There lies the magic produced by a single stain, a mere color, a simple ligne, a form, a sound or a silence...
My spirit talks to the observer‘s spirit as a colorful or monochromatic dialogue, from a spirit to another; such ability was praised by Kandinsky as an artistic language. I would simply add from heart to heart really.

Which impacts on the other ? The spirit on your work or your work on your spirit ?

Both depend on one another and are not conceivable otherwise. Permanence and simultaneity are joined like a symphony. I relentlessly cultivate my spirit to prepare it to go beyond the inconceivable to be able to create new dimensions further.
Painting and my body are one.
The gesture of the hand requests to be minute and supple at the same time.

In that case is your work challenged by its self-transformative force ?

I have not finished or ended any of my work ; I am still thirsty of perfecting it but not ending it.
This entire life might not suffice in fact.
My whole production rests on human’s emotions, whether they are concealed or not, they fascinate me. The spirit and the living request such an exploring path, and I may never see the end of it all.

Is Beauty compulsory in your work or do you rather put the emphasis on a meaningful work ?

The notion of Beauty is very abstract and confusing too. I would rather refer to the pleasure procured by harmony of forms, sounds or silences, .. but it would stand incomplete. My work demands a meaning to exist.
An object becomes beautiful because it answers an intense inner activity in the artist who produces it. His spirit and soul are the necessary devices to produce beauty. However, I consider that a work of art expresses life in all its ways, with differing rythms conveyed by the artist.
The filter is how the artist perceives the outside world and digests it, and then sees whether it matches or antagonizes with his inner world.
The challenge is to throw the result on the canvas. The work will be strenghtened and will be timeless. Beauty comes from there and lies there.

Can both be reconciled ?

Beauty has a meaning and I start from its meaning to achieve beauty. The riches of a work of art reside in the meaning which justifies the purpose of creating Art. Deciphering the meaning between forms is your part, not mine anymore.

By Sylvie Samani