“What I’m interested in is the gap between abstraction and the figurative, I give clues about the story behind but I leave enough space for interpretation. At the end it is almost like a puzzle, pieces are left broken in the composition and the viewer has to re-compose it through the different clues”
Claude Eigan (born in France, 1983) is a visual artist living and working in Berlin. After studying visual communications in Paris, she worked as a graphic designer for 6 years. Since 2012, she is focusing on her art. Her work has been exhibited in Paris and Berlin.
Landscapes and pieces of marble or even nature in some ways are present in your works can you explore this subject a bit? Do you have a relation to the pieces you use in your artwork
I’m interested in places where there is no more human presence. Places that have no names or no specific locations, ‘non-places’ in a way…This is a main subject of my work : in the series ‘notions of places’ or ‘friches’, I use pieces of broken marbles and old architectural stickers to create abandoned landscapes, an organised chaos. This particular interest might be coming from my parents, who are both architects and spend their time creating new places while I’m more interested in de-constructing it. I feel that my choices of subjects or materials (like stone or wood or even furniture) are directly influenced by architecture.
It seems a recurring theme for you is the void or a lack of something, a piece missing, can you tell me a bit more about these themes and why they interest you?
I guess I’ve always been more interested in what you can’t see at first, and the interrogations that it creates. I work a lot with ‘leftovers’, broken pieces of different objects or materials, and what interest me the most is what these materials suggest, or the story that they used to tell. I work around the meaning of these elements and try to find a new balance with all the broken pieces. A new composition takes shape in which the negative space around the elements is defining the content, the void becoming entirely part of the visual.
“I think these questions have always been there, it is really a recurrent part of my work. Of course the way it translates into a visual is changing and evolving all the time. It also depends on the subject of the piece, I try to find the appropriate technique for each work. The subject might change over time, and so do the materials that I use but I feel there is always something relating one piece to another, especially in the visual composition”
“I’m interested in the combination of opposite materials, the contrast between different textures and shapes, for example fluid and shiny paint is often combined with sharp and raw materials like marbles. I get tired pretty quickly of a specific technique/material so that means I’m always trying out new things. Experimenting allows me to discover (...) unexpected shapes. When I come to the point where I feel like I’m repeating myself, I get tired of it and need to try something else.”
“I found myself fascinated by all these muscles and bones; shapes that looked so abstract outside of the context of a human body, and yet are nothing but functional”
You have a few pieces that explore body parts or organic forms what is it about these forms that draw you to them?
These [anatomic] shapes are like automatic drawings for me. You know these kinds of sketches that you do when waiting on the phone? You don’t really think about what you are drawing but for some reason you always draw the same shapes. To be more specific, these anatomic shapes comes from attempted med school studies that I did prior going to art school. I spent more time drawing it than actually learning the names…I found myself fascinated by all these muscles and bones shapes that looked so abstract out of the context of a human body and yet are nothing but functional. These shapes became automatic drawings and never left me since.
Could you tell me how you think about the room and the viewer are they “present” in your mind when you create your art works?
Well, that would be a lie to say no. Before focusing on my artworks I was working as a graphic designer for many brands. During those years I spent my all time putting myself at the viewer place, because what you create needs to be understandable by as many people as you can. That was something really frustrating because you always have to adapt your creation to everyone’s point of view. At the end it is not really your work anymore, but something made to please other people and more importantly to make them consume.
So now I keep it in the back of my mind but not to the point where it refrains me to do certain things. If you work for others, then you’ll end up with a generic image that is probably really nice to look at but will lack personality and meaning.
Interview by Maria Björnsdotter
Courtesy of the Artist