“I want to share the pleasure of escaping the constrained reality by looking at paintings”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
MRL: I grew up in Paris, France. The complexity of the mind, its spirituality and materiality always fascinated me. As well as the superficial aspect of the world. I think art is a way to answer and address many questions that haunt me and also develop new images in a visual world.
AT: When did it become serious?
MRL: I think the first very important painting I did was « La femme montagne » (the mountain woman) in 2018. It was showed in Berlin and in Paris and offered me many new encounters. It was a strong painting that was painful to give birth to but it really anchored a way of creating paintings for me.
AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
MRL: A trio we made with painters Cecilia Granara and Nathanaelle Herbelin. We would travel together, meet new artists, and kick started the organisation of show at galerie Jousse entreprise in 2019 in order to present a new generation of painter-friends. Seeing a psychoanalyst, and completing an analysis also helped me figure out why painting and art is a path I want to pursue assertively.
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
MRL: John Baldessari said « Great art is clear thinking about mixed feelings ». I really like the concept of mixed feelings. In the turmoil of feelings (love, loss, desire, fear, impulses), imagination makes a fantastic job. And painting is my way to translate it back to the visual world. I want to share the pleasure of escaping the constrained reality by looking at paintings. But it’s not about escaping just to escape, it’s about taking a big breath, like on holidays, and then coming back and feeling better, seeing better.
Space and Place, 2021 | Exhibition view at Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany.
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
MRL: I want the spectators to see something they never saw before. A world ruled by my own personal imagination and freedom, and when they come closer, they can enjoy the materiality of painting, its tension. I wish there is an intimate dialog between the viewer and the painting. „Truly man is a marvellously vain, diverse, and undulating object. It is hard to found any constant and uniform judgement on him.“ (Montaigne). Painting can capture some of those undulations.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
MRL: Oil painting, canvas, wood, drawing and collage. The continuity of my mind that I can then rearrange.
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
MRL: I feel excited, sometimes bored when the translation from mind to painting is not as easy as I fantasised. Yes I think about the final outcome but sometimes I don’t know where I am going, and those paintings usually take a longer time.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
MRL: I feel relieved. Painting becomes a balance between the obsessive thoughts and feelings I was exploring and the physical reality that surrounds me. I can finally see the ideas, the sensations and I can release them.
The walking mountain woman, 2020, oil, earth, dust, debris, and acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm
It was a nice movie, 2022, Oil on canvas, 110×90 cm
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
MRL: From intense moments of life : special encounters, stories that makes me laugh and scares me, dreams, fantasies and sexual impulses. Love also, and joyful parties. Anything that will make me feel strongly alive.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
MRL: Federico Fellini and David Lynch. They seized and created such strong atmosphere than we can all fear or love to explore. Parallel universe can isolate and affirm such strong life dynamics.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
MRL: I think as my first social media was facebook when I was 15 years old it influenced my way to interact with other human beings. I am fascinated by this feeling of observing the others without interacting really but just by looking at photos and staging your life online.
AT: What is your opinion about NFTs and their impact on the art world?
MRL: I am curious if it will really bring new interesting ways of expression or if its just a speculative object. Time will tell. For now I am not really sensitive to NFTs.
Peeping Mad, 2021, Oil on wood, 70×55 cm
« C’est là-bas tout comme ici », 2021, Oil and glitters on wood, 145×110 cm
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
MRL: Its diversity is really challenging and exciting.
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
MRL: Be consistent through time, hold your focus. The most rewarding part is to earn your life and seeing that your paintings connect with other human beings.
AT: What do you do besides art?
MRL: See my friends, my family, spend time with my lover : taking care of the people I love, and also enjoying their care.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
MRL: I am preparing a solo show at galerie frank elbaz in Paris in September. So this is my main goal right now! then I would love to do more residencies in the year that come. I was in Palazzo Monti last year and it was an an amazing experience.
Vulnerability, 2022, Oil on canvas, 140×160 cm
Madeleine Roger-Lacan (b.1993, Paris) is a French visual artist currently living and working in Pantin, France.