#Interview – Painting is made to be seen live. In this column, I’ve often advocated for it, encouraging gallery going, atelier visiting and museum worming. I suffer from the lack of visual excitement, and it’s in times like this that it’s even better to be a painter. Because let’s face it, a screen is always just a screen. Instaart is great, but nothing replaced the wish to lick a surface because it’s so sleek or matte like a peach or looks like nothing else like the Mantegna I’ve seen last year. It’s like Foodporn is never going to make you full. A sold dish of pasta is just better tasting than a charcoal ice cream, even though it’s pleasant to see on the screen.
Likewise, I couldn’t see Maël Nozahic’s paintings in real so now I will HAVE to do that as soon as we can get out of our golden cages.
I start my day with a quick review of my emails and social networks! Then I have breakfast in my living room and make a big coffee to go to work in my studio that I just finished building in my garden!
KB: If you were to paint one thing over and over what would it be?
That would be nature!
KB: Do you like exhibiting your work? What do you do on the openings?
Yes, I like to exhibit my artworks because it causes reactions of joy and wonder to the people who have affinities with my universe. It is one of my goals when I create: this moment of sharing, of connection, is important to me. It is also the concretization of several months of solitary work, of research, of interests and it is essential to show all this work live because the publications on social networks cannot transmit totally emotion, matter, the subtleties and the scale of the works themselves. During the opening, I like to answer the audience’s questions, welcome their comments and have fun with their interpretation. It is also a time when we confront our colleagues, art critics and collectors, the desire to please them is present but I have no apprehension about their judgment because what counts above all for me is to propose works that I consider satisfactory enough to be shown, on which I worked and reworked up to the point that to me, it is finished. Otherwise, the canvas or the drawing is put up and remains in the studio.
KB: What is your favourite place to think about a new painting?
On the train! I travel a lot to get to my professional appointments so I take advantage of this travel time to make sketches and research for my future paintings.
KB: What is your relation to past painters, and history of art?
The great masters are an inexhaustible source of admiration and inspiration, we learn a lot to study them, to immerse ourselves in them. My work is very often directly inspired by artistic objects such as sculptures that I photograph in museums and that I transpose into drawing or painting. I also sometimes pay tribute to artists, dead or alive, by diverting their works. Each artist is necessarily infused by other artists, by art movements, by techniques, this is how art endures and evolves, is transmitted.
KB: Which question would you like to ask your painting Idol?
Can you transfer your genius to me?
KB: How did you develop this work you’re doing now?
I composed over time a bank of inspiration where I store images that seduced me deeply, photographed by myself, collected in books of botany, art history, mysticism, folklore, found on the internet, in films. My work is a melting pot of all these images and sources of inspiration. Reflecting more deeply on my work, I understood that several leitmotivs inhabited it as fauna, flora, culture, apparitions. Refocusing on what comes out almost instinctively and reflecting on what I really wanted to express through my work has allowed me to get to the work that I am currently doing, but I hope it will continue to evolve.
KB: How did you meet your favourite collector?
I cannot elect anyone in particular as the fundraising and friendly support of collectors is important and my gratitude goes to each and every one of them. Sometimes collectors are perfect strangers that we may never see again or people with whom we start a certain intellectual and friendly relationship, sometimes they are close friends, members of our family, whatever the case may be, it is always a great joy for me to appreciate the person to whom I sell work, I like that it corresponds to his personality, I like to know that the work will live with someone else, within a family, that it may be passed on afterwards.
KB: Why do we still paint in 2020?
Because the canvas is an infinite imaginary space.
KB: Can you tell me 3 colleagues whose work you admire?
It’s simple: these are three friends with whom we founded the Körper collective in Berlin ten years ago: Klervi Bourseul, Cedric Le Corf and Arnaud Rochard.
Thank you Maël, and thank you, reader. All images belong to the Artist.
Maël Nozahic was born in 1985 in St Brieuc, she lives and works in Paris and Fouesnant, France. Maël studied at The European Superior School of Art of Brittany in Quimper and at Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, Germany. After obtaining her Diploma of Plastic Expression in 2009 at ESSAB, she settled down in Berlin where she developed her personal work and deepened her formation by working as an artist’s assistant. Her works were very quickly exhibited in the German capital in several galleries and institutions including the French Institute.
It is also in Berlin where she created the collective Körper (with Klervi Bourseul, Cedric le Corf and Arnaud Rochard) whose objective is to promote young artists through artistic events and creation of editions. To date, Körper organized 19 exhibitions in France, in Germany and in Belgium and presented the works of 92 artists. In 2010, the Parisian gallery owner Eva Hober invited her to participate at ‘The Beautiful Painting is Behind Us’ in Istanbul, Ankara, Maribor and in “Le lieu unique” in Nantes alongside recognized artists such as Jérôme Zonder, Damien Deroubaix, Ida Tursic and Wilfried Mille.
Since 2011, she works with Gallery Maïa Muller with whom she had three personal exhibitions in Paris. In 2012, her work was noticed by the Académie Française and she received the prize of painting ‘Lesquivin-Garnier’. Two years later, Drac Bretagne granted her the individual help for the creation of an ambitious project of a sculptural installation titled ‘Le Fléau’ (The Plague). More recently (2018) Maël won the “Talents contemporains” prize from the François Schneider Foundation. (source: Saatchi Art)