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Contemplations of a Flower dome: Interview with French artist Gaël Davrinche

Known for his collaborations with chef George Blanc and his paintings for the Hôtel des Arts et Métiers, Gaël presents us during an interview his inspirations, his projects as well as insights on Contemplations. Through his exhibition, you will be able to contemplate the figure of the flower, the versatility and unique technique of the artist through his two very different flower series: Nebulae and Nocturnes.

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Gaël Davrinche, I live in Montreuil which is a Parisian suburb, a dynamic artistic commune. With Mazel Galerie, this is my first solo show in Singapore. I have done others exhibitions in Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai in Asia, and also Belgium and Italy.

Can you describe your art for us?

My art is varied, it is a practice of painting and drawing essentially which evolves quite quickly and which moves with time. I graduated from the Beaux-Arts in 2000 and started painting portraits, revisiting art history classics like Mona Lisa. At first it was a tribute, like a self-taught child, then I started to tend more and more towards irreverence to free myself from the shackles of this. Then I wanted to go towards something more penetrating like nature through this exhibition, Contemplations.

In the Nebulae series they are flowers in the form of spots that allow a much freer expression of colour. I buy bouquets of flowers for my wife and then I take pictures of them that I blur and I paint these visuals that have a cosmic and aquatic dimension for me. The second series, Nocturnes, are bouquets of flowers that references the old Dutch masters from the 17th century. They wanted to transcribe the beauty of the flower on a dark background by letting the original light express itself. I wanted to reframe her bouquets of flowers by adding a relationship to pop art through a colorful flat tint.

What are your sources of inspiration?

Inspiration comes from the environment, from what surrounds us, our relatives. Beyond that, there is a certain cohesion between all the series that I have been able to paint with the expression of colour as the main theme. I have a different approach to classical painting and the use of whites, namely that the white of my paintings is the reserve of canvas or paper. The light is already there and then the colors are added around it.

Do you identify yourself with an art movement?

Not particularly, the artistic movements have dissolved. In contemporary painting, each artist is like a free electron. Maybe history will make me part of a family, who knows? For the moment, let’s say that I have a figurative painting that gradually tends to be abstract.

Why did you choose Singapore and Mazel Galerie to represent your art in Asia?

I was already working with Mazel Galerie in Brussels and they opened a gallery in Singapore. Kevin, who runs this gallery in Singapore, appreciated my work and invited me to do this solo exhibition. Moreover, I didn’t know Singapore and I really wanted to come and discover it.

Your exhibition here is called Contemplations, what is the meaning?

Contemplations because there is a quest for spirituality, also the relationship to the image in its colorful vibration. When we contemplate, we are in a state of introspection and that is what interested me, this spirituality, this tension between microcosm and macrocosm.

Why did you dedicate it to flowers?

The flowers represent the vitality of life, freshness, fragility and beauty. I recently went to Botanic Gardens, especially to the Orchid garden, which I found sumptuous.

What does the contrast between Nebulae and Nocturnes mean?

Indeed, there is a contrast, since the beginning I have always had a double practice. In my work, I need to do things that require virtuosity, speed but inversely slowness and a deep involvement in the gestures. To have only one of his practices would not be enough for me, which is why, depending on the moods of the day and night, I will move towards one more than the other.

How much time do you spend painting? What do you do with your free time?

I paint every day and the rest of the time I take care of my children; I travel, I go to other exhibitions. I also practice a martial art called the baton francais.

Is it your first time in Singapore? What are your impressions?

This is my first time in Singapore, I discover an underground city that like Hong Kong does not let itself be guessed for a simple tourist. I want to get lost in the malls, basements, galleries that are hidden. I really like Singapore, this dampness in the air, I could settle there!

For you, which are the differences and similarities between Singapore and France?

The omnipresent vegetation in the heart of Singapore’s city centre means that when I arrived in the taxi, I didn’t feel like I was in the city. I really like this relationship to the biodiversity that Singapore seems to want to preserve. I also really like this relationship to safety and respect because we feel good and never threatened, it’s very relaxing. It is an absolute luxury to live in this tranquillity and sense of inner peace.

What was your best travel in Asia?

I loved Shanghai because it is easier to access, especially for a Parisian, it is a city that is accessible as a pedestrian, which makes it easier to discover the city, unlike cities like Seoul or Hong Kong, which are much more complex.

Are there any accomplishments you are proud of?

I have two in mind. The first is with George Blanc who is a three Michelin starred chef and one of my collectors. He ordered four of them from me to make his menus all year round, so now the four seasons of this great chef are made by me.

There was also the linen painting done with my wife for the Ristorante of the Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers. It gave us visibility and we have some great projects coming up!

What’s next?

The upcoming project is a solo exhibition in June at the Château de la Trémolière in the south of France. Then, I have several personal exhibitions that are taking shape, especially in Lille, I will participate in an exhibition in 2020 called Normandy Impressionism in which I will show a series of totally abstract paintings.

About Contemplations exhibition

Where: Mazel Galerie, Level 2 Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road

When: May 16 – 30 June 2019

Admission: Free. More information here.

French Shopping, Dining & Lifestyle guide in Singapore