Last Friday evening in Le Marais, Ofr. Bookshop showcased its second group exhibition since 2016 entitled ‘This Is Our Music: II’, presenting a unique group of local and international artists working in multiple mediums from photography, graphic design, illustrations and painting to sculpture and installation.
Inside Galerie Patricia Dorfmann, each of the artists ‘personal music’ through visual imagery shows. They highlight the collective mind of the artists in a harmony of visual stimulation. The curation of the exhibition takes us on a journey through each of their lives, cultivating a union of original creativity and imagination.
Themes within the artworks reflect elements of nature, existence and the supernatural. This can be seen in artworks such as those of Julien Colombier, with his luscious and vibrant amazonian-inspired paintings that draw the viewer in with their majestic and dreamlike depth and colour. Another to mention is Taras Sereda’s series of illustrations, where he explores the human experience and individual identities through portraiture. In the centre of the main space, photographer Sanna Saastamoinen’s transparent photograph entitled Pth Puu (Holy Tree) opens a new dimension to the room, inviting us to contemplate human connections with nature. These are a few, among many artists gracing the space.
We discussed with this group of artist the significance of their work.
ANNABEL: As a painter, you use more than just a canvas you paint on different items such as rugs, vases, murals, pottery and bags. Would you say there are no limits when it comes to choosing a medium for your artworks?
JULIEN COLOMBIER: The only limit is how the medium you chose is a continuation of your work and aesthetic and how you can still express with it. For my wall paintings, Im usually very interested in interacting with the architecture of a place, following the curve or getting into the corners of the ceiling. Its the same with objects; you have to keep in mind that a cup is round, that a rug will be on the floor and will be able to be seen from every angle, or that a fabric will make something that will distort the graphic, so you have to adapt to it. Thats when the fun begins. If its just sticking a logo on a mug, Im not interested. The other great part of this multi-medium thing is that you meet the people who know how to make the objects; so if you have a long career, you have to look, learn and shut up if you want to understand how a technique works on a certain kind of material. And meeting other people doing other things is priceless.
ANNABEL: Your illustrations and paintings seem to have a stream of consciousness element to them, though through visual imagery. Who and what is your subject matter and why did you choose to portray them in the beautiful yet frightening way that you do?
TARAS SEREDA: If I could answer clearly these questions today, I would stop painting and be relieved from all this pressure inside. Because even though my visual imagery seems conscious, the subject matter and the story is very blurred even to myself sometimes. I try to figure it all out by means of depicting and searching within it, me, demons, women, me, cowboys, smoke, paranoia, me, doubt, God, love, hate, me, despair, happiness, me, levitation, solitude, me, glass of wine, ashtray, dope, sadness, Jesus, me, desire, daze, feats, me, etc, etc, etc These are few of the the notes to this music.
ANNABEL: As humans we are intrinsically drawn to nature and the surreal colours that it produces. How does the natural environment influence what you choose to be the subject of your photographs?
SANNA SAASTAMOINEN: I come from the North East part of Finland, an area of lakes and deep forests. Since my early childhood, I have had sitting places, places half-hidden somewhere, where I can sit and look and look and look around and dream away. I am very heavily nearsighted and got my first pair of glasses at the age of 11, so it had something to do with that also. I was very shy and very much in my own little unsharp world until then. I literally spent hours in a row up in the trees, inside the lilac bushes, watching, listening, feeling the surrounding world through the leaves. I lived in Paris for 17 years and I had my sitting places here also, by the Seine, or by special trees to escape when everything became too overwhelming inside my head and heart. I feel that when my eyes get to connect with a natural element, to watch it until all becomes clear, it fills my heart with love. Nature is so incredible, so beautiful, there is such a perfect harmony in every single pattern, texture, form. Every stone, wave, leaf, branch, insect and animal have their own universe, where perfectly harmonious natural laws can be found, connected through invisible realms. All this is to say that the natural world environment has a huge influence over what I choose to be the subject of my photographs.
The exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday from 14:00h to 19:00h at 61 rue de la Verrerie, Paris until the 16th June, 2018.