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AS IS | Juliette Lemontey


Based in Paris and Arles, France

"She had always fought, not to show what she was capable of, but to hide what she was incapable of.."

A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you into art?

J: I‘m a french artist living between Paris and Arles.

I became a painter step by step, without deciding it, without concrete ambitions, but motivated by a need to give form to all the personal experiences, feelings, and emotions that I encounter in my daily life and did not necessarily know how to address.

There was for me a desire to be in the world in a singular way, to leave a trace, not to undergo events but to figure them out in a way that would make them visible.

I now work with the Parisian gallery Amelie Maison d'Art with whom we published my first monograph gathering 20 years of work. The gallery will soon open a new space in New York.

We will be collaborating with La Maison Close in Arles for a solo show next May.

In September. I will present a new series of drawings and small formats on the theme of the male figure in Perpignan and I have a very nice project for a group exhibition in Paris.

A: What inspires you the most?

J: I am mainly interested in people, their body language, what the body tells us about them, and human relationships.

The faces are often erased in my paintings, turned away from our gaze because it seems impossible to me to make an authoritative judgment on those I portray. I try to understand who the other is, from where I stand with my own beliefs without being able to say with accuracy and certainty who the other is.

More specifically it is the photographic image from which I work since I paint exclusively from existing images.

A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?

J: I listen to music throughout my creative day on a random stream. Sometimes I use the title of a song or lyrics to give a title to the painting I am working on or others waiting in the studio.

Music is an incredible source of inspiration and gives rhythm to the pictorial gesture.

As I am lucky enough to work in the city center I sometimes escape during the day to see an exhibition or visit the studios of artist friends before returning to my work.

A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?

J: I am convinced that when we come to art or when it comes to us it is to solve personal enigmas. To explore one's questioning.

Look at and study the work of others but do not try to imitate or do it but as exercises.

We always end up finding our way even if it sometimes takes time and we might feel like giving up.

Above all, we must work, try, experiment, and not be afraid to fail. Mistakes are the foundation of our success.

A: Your top 3 adjectives related to art?

J: Unconditionally, freedom, happiness

P.C. Tea Sirbiladze

A: The best angle to look at art is from ...?

J: From where you are.

A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ...?

J: It all depends on who I'm talking to

A: Must-read books to help us talk about art (or do we even need them)?

J: Read what you are interested in.

A: If you could change one thing in the art world - what would it be?

J: I would like more equity in the art field.

The art world is more accessible for those who come from the right background, and who know the right people. We talk too often about the same artists. Or is it just a problem of the French art scene? .....

A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art)

J: “Elle combattait depuis toujours, non pour montrer ce dont elle était capable, mais pour dissimuler ce dont elle était incapable”

(She had always fought, not to show what she was capable of, but to hide what she was incapable of.)

Le Liseur, Bernhard Schlink

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