Denis Frémond, you were born in Versailles in 1951.
Not at all, no, I was born in Le Havre in 1950.
Sorry! Your father was a famous Spanish poet, I believe.
Oh no, he was a bull matador in a consulting company in the port of Hamburg.
Alright ... Hamburg, so I note it. Well. Your mother is a windsurfer from a Central Asian ethnic group ...
Peace to his soul ... but if you will, I'm not annoying, you know. You are right to joke, these biographies are useless and more often than not boring, agreed upon. We are such serious people, we painters, with our litany of exhibitions, salons, private collections. But people still want to know the painter, his origins, his path, his sources of inspiration ... Put: bourgeois extraction.
Perfect. How did you come to painting?
By elimination ... When I left Ecole Boulle I joined the team of lads of a stud farm in Lower Normandy, but basically I did not know where I was going, I then animated for a season a review of the Casino de Paris, then directed for four years a small factory of stools, to finally embark on board the Joan of Arc as a bugle.
Why finally painting?
It's a good question. One wonders indeed what can push people to exercise the activity of painter. Why are there so many painters? Why absolutely want to spread colored paste on a stretched canvas? It's grotesque.
You have also published a book devoted to colored paste, in particular to the ridiculousness of red ocher ...
Oh no, it's not me, no ... but I agree with that, the red ocher is completely ridiculous. No, on the other hand, I worked on a large study dealing with the notion of "frozen monkey".
There isn't a lot of frozen monkey in your painting.
At one time, I had thought of proposing to the Paris Opera, to replace Chagall's ceiling, the project of a gigantic "Still life with a frozen monkey". But you know how it goes in these big institutions, it's cronyism and company ...
We also note the total absence of a moped in your painting, your characters are never motorized, is it a bias?
No, and I hadn't noticed it, see, it's unintentional. But painters need the gaze of others, their hindsight. And it happened to me to take into account what I heard here and there. When I started out, I was once pointed out that I only painted coats. For the following exhibition I paid attention.
Quite another thing: we says the word "approximate" is your favorite.
Oh good? ... "Approximate"?
Yes, "approximate" is what I was told.
My favorite ... yes, it's a word that I like, but "moped" is not bad either, and "coat" especially, it was my favorite for a long time in the 70s and 80s. Well, it is true that "approximate" associated with others creates interesting and varied combinations, for example with "engineer", with "philosophy", with "dust", etc ... but it is a word which needs others. "Coat" is funny in itself. He points to an object that we don't give a damn about, its quality of coat is worth nothing to him ... Are you interested in the idea of a coat, are you?
So ... "rough" deep down isn't your favorite.
An approximate retiree, it's funny ... And an approximate painter? No, the combination works less well. On the other hand with "vibraphonist" we immediately see the image of the calamitous type standing behind his instrument: it is visual, although in this case it is not a question of quality. The more abstract, the better. Approximate dust is good.
This photo is intriguing, what is it?
It's a tiny study, about 7x10cm, we can see the frame of the canvas very well. I experienced a cold, blue cast there. Okay, and when I look at this little rectangle of canvas, I say to myself: one day I'm going to rework it on a very large surface with the same spontaneity, the same degree of finish.
When did this study date?
Five or six years ... What I did on a small scale, I cannot manage to do again on a large scale. Here, I more or less stayed on the surface of the canvas, even if I ultimately did not abolish depth at all. It seems to me that in my paintings I give too much importance to this depth, to the perspective, to the details ...
The mystery of your painting lies precisely in this depth, right?
I don't know, no ... well, maybe. In principle, however, the real adapts very well to the stylizations and simplifications of all kinds that art makes it undergo. Without going as far as Nicolas de Staël (peace to his soul), I should be able to tame my impulses for depth and perspective a little while retaining the essential.
And this painting? There was around me in my childhood a high level of naval air drives, so I had a load to evacuate in adulthood, I did it that way, I would have gone through the literature, but it I would have had to write tales for lovers of yachting, cruises, planes ...
Why didn't you do it? No, I ... no, I was influenced by Harold Pinter, an elliptical theater on the ambiguity of human relationships.
Were you writing? My potential as a writer was there, in Harold Pinter, I wouldn't have been good at fantasy tales.
I understand ... you preferred to go through painting, well ... yes, through painting, let's say through the image ... By painting, yes (the word picture bothers me a little) ... through painting, therefore, even if it means painting this kind of paintings ... that I do not deny, I like to tell you as much, this subject is still present in me, it is is an honorable vestige to which I reserve a place in my memory ... it is a vestige to which ... a vestige which holds a place in my memory ... an honorable vestige which I reserve in my memory a place ...
Something that means a lot to you? Here is...
But you wouldn't broach this kind of subject any more? No.