Sometimes you see a painting and you just got hypnotized by it. Well, this is exactly what happened when looking at Alexandre’s paintings. The colours, the faces, the lines, it all seems to be out of this world. There is something strangely appealing in his work, tackling the interesting mutations of beauty, sexual identity and the influence of the macabre.
KALTBLUT: What does inspires you?
Alexandre: My inspiration comes from the cultural content I consume everyday. For one, I am fascinated by the fashion world: I am lucky enough to have been born and raised in Paris and to study here and in London, so the fashion scene is right in front of me. But I’ll get back to that later. After high school I studied literature, specializing in theatre, because it thrills me. Heroes and heroines from the classics, from great novels and tragedies, fascinate me. The magical realism of A hundred years of solitude is one my major sources of inspiration, and my second favorite book after Le Petit Prince by Saint-Exupery. The cosmos is a great source of creativity for me as well, and especially the impact that an astral phenomenon can have on our behavior, our mindset, our lives. You’ll always find some magic in what I do, some mysticism, because I am still a child at heart and magic is the greatest source of creation to me. On a less cheerful note, death is ever-present in my work too, because it is a notion that never leaves my mind, ever. The certainty of death is something that occupies my thoughts constantly, because as terrifying as it might be, it is also beautiful and gives you a certain outlook on life and on what matters that really fits me. Also, I am deeply obsessed with the idea of gender, and I have been for quite some time, long before it even became a trendy/sexy issue. And all the characters I paint and draw are androgynous, asexual, combining traditionally male and female beauty criteria, because I feel that gender is only a restriction that needs to be lifted in order to go further, and to create.
KALTBLUT: What is your relation with fashion? How does it influence your work?
Alexandre: Fashion is fascinating isn’t it? and especially when a visionary designer is given the opportunity to create a collection and to showcase it during a show created like a performance, like an ephemeral piece of art : Galliano, Mcqueen, and now Thom Browne, Marc Jacobs, Iris Van Herpen, Comme des Garçons… When the theater world meets the fashion world, it makes me nuts aha. I draw and paint people only, no still-lives, and fashion gives me an almost infinite source of patterns, colors, fabrics, textures and shapes to dress my characters in. What I’m interested in most is the motion, but it is partly through the clothes that the motion fascinates. So in a way, the fashion world helps me make my characters dance.
KALTBLUT: Your vision on the human body is definitely not common, where does this imagery come from?
Alexandre: As I said earlier, my vision on the human body is gender-free. So there’s that. But also, the bodies I draw are anatomically impossible, for twist and I stretch their limbs in order for the pose to illustrate the motion I have in mind. My execution is not perfect because I keep improving it each day, but my focus really is on the motion. Modern dancers and choreographers such as Pina Bausch or Martha Graham shaped the way I create the motion in my drawings, but also the positioning of the hands, the curves and the intent behind every pose. Everything is about poise, strength and charisma, so my characters have a real attitude going on ahah. My characters live at night, mostly, and crave moonlight. But also, substance abuse and sexual impulses are the dynamics that drive my characters and make them take those twisted scary poses. Whether they are drug addicts, sex crazed deviants, escaped mental patients or just strange people from our lives, they all gather at night and dance and fuck and hallucinate under the sky. I like to imagine that my characters should all be part of a play by Shakespeare or Maeterlinck.
KALTBLUT: There is a certain darkness in your pieces, are you aware of it? Can you try to tell us why?
Alexandre: Yes I am aware of that fact ahaha, it’d be a bit disturbing if I didn’t, don’t you think? Yes my work is dark, but it is getting less dark I think, as years pass and as I become more mature and my vision becomes more precise. But basically my art is as dark as my mood. As I said earlier, death is a common denominator in everything I do, but there are also other recurring themes such as madness, possession and hallucination, which are not so cheerful. Trying to really explain why my imagination is so dark would mean having to enter a psychoanalytic process of some sort, so I won’t do that, but I’ll tell you this: I am an intense person, everything I do, feel, say is extreme, and so my work is dark because I find that beauty lies within the disturbing, the monstrous, the macabre, the grotesque. Beauty cannot be boring otherwise it’s not beauty. In my humble opinion, beauty has to divide, it cannot please everyone, it needs to be poignant and visceral and brutal. Witnessing beauty changes you, creates you, and so my vision of beauty is what touches me, what moves me, and either it speaks to you, or it disturbs you or chocks you, but you react. Everything is in that reaction.