Samuel Lalier: La Fabrique du Vivant

Samuel Lalier

Artwork’s Title: La Fabrique du Vivant
Materials Used: Oil on canvas
Samuel Lalier, Poussière interstellaire, oil painting, 154.5 cm x 105 cm, 2022

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

My creative process is developed through the collection of images of many contemporary painters, whose composition, color and other aesthetic choices inspire me greatly. From now on, I pay even more attention to scientific images, by which I mean botanical works and herbariums of all kinds. This allows me to push further the aspect and the shape of the floral motifs that I represent in painting. 

Once settled in my studio, I play on my loudspeaker rap, Brazilian funk or ama piano. This is how I spend about ten hours, where without any pose I merge with the image I am working on. It is an intense and exhausting process but it is the only way I have found to live with passion the act of painting. It is still with great adrenaline and happiness that I repeat this way of doing things every day of my life. 

I usually have in mind in advance the composition and the type of floral motif I will paint according to the format on which I am.  I then prepare on my palette a series of bright, improbable and disturbing colors that I will combine on the surface of the canvas. 

I work with all types of brushes in order to be able to realize as many approaches as possible and leave room for chance while risking new types of gestures on the canvas. 

Recently, to create the background of my canvas, I paint on the back of it. Composed of unprimed cotton, this allows me to cross the weft of the canvas, producing a pattern with a corrosive and organic aspect. I always use Gamsol or Studio S from Sennelier to thin my oil paint while giving it a completely matte look when dry.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Organic, sensory and immersive.

You are currently presenting your new solo exhibition, “La Fabrique du Vivant“, at Hotel Alfred Sommier in Paris; what sort of new artworks do you showcase at this exhibition?

This solo exhibition “La Fabrique du Vivant” in collaboration with Terminus at the Hôtel particulier Alfred Sommier in Paris, presents a set of paintings of various sizes that I made during my Erasmus in painting master at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee. Most of the paintings have an oil background, and then I use acrylic paint to create a mysterious atmosphere, like a veil or a mist over the plants present. Then I paint again with oil the third layer, in order to detail the flowers and branches that take over the whole composition. 

It is thus a corpus of floral motives of all kinds which are given to see with the public. A certain harmony emerges from this ensemble, despite the fact that other paintings tend more towards a dystopian and alarming vision. 

The work of scenography in this prestigious 5 star hotel in stone of the 8th district of Paris, raises a will to establish a real tension. Indeed, the diversity of the formats, allowed us to confront paintings of hardly 20 centimeters height to others measuring almost 2 meters. 

The whole of these floral reasons aim at moving the spectators through the fragility which compose them. From where a certain beauty emanates.

Could you share with us some insights on your painting diptych ‘Poussière Interstellaire’, (2022)? Is there any particular story behind this new work? 

What I like most about Interstellar Dust is its format and composition. I have the impression that with this painting, I have succeeded in pushing the notion of the off-screen in painting further than I was used to. 

It is above all an imposing vertical format. For the background, I used masking tape, allowing me to delimit with great precision, this very geometric composition. While contrasting the latter, by letting escape in the bottom right of the table, the many brushstrokes of the green background, blending with ardor and intensity to the blue background. 

I then used white acrylic spray, producing these mysterious circles and depositing a pearly veil. 

The challenge of Interstellar Dust is to confuse the viewer within two realities; terrestrial and aquatic. Where blades of grass hover with constant contortions.

Visually there is a sort of a painterly concentration on flora depictions which seem to be a distinguished creative motif on your recent canvases. What is that specific purpose in this plant or flower life in your imagery?

Indeed, in relation to my most recent paintings, a certain cohesion is established in the way I represent the floral motif. As expressed at the beginning of the interview, my approach to the floral motif is now borrowed from botanical representations. As an artist, I do not want my paintings to be illustrations but fully artistic representations. 

Nevertheless, this new conception of the floral motif in my paintings refers to the imagery of herbariums. In the sense that only one reading plane is given to see, offering a more direct relationship to the flower, perhaps oppressive, where it is “plastered” against the surface of the cotton, recalling that of the paper in the herbarium. 

As a painter, the visual impact on the viewer is the first relationship he can have with my work. My will, being thereafter that the image that I produced, manages to activate other senses towards the spectator, allowing him to live fully my painting through his smell, hearing etc…

Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you usually come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning of your artistic process? 

Always! Chance plays a central role in my work. The practice of painting being so complex and untamable, I have at heart to make “mistakes” in my paintings. Constantly giving me new ideas about my gesture, or even theoretical ideas about what my images are about. The idea being to provoke chance, including a large part of risk, but without which the painting could not be fully authentic. I always feel that the most sensual moment is when the first colors are spread on the blank surface of the canvas. Operating as a filter, allowing me to express with the least amount of images produced, the greatest number of emotions.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

A raw space. I think the exhibitions I had in Berlin were the ones where I had the most fun working on the scenography. The exhibition spaces were larger than in France, and they were mainly old disused factories. The walls were often made of concrete or damaged, the contrast was all the stronger and made my paintings more relevant. I find that the images I produce are already quite polished, clean and serious in a sense, so they need a less sanitized space to make sense of them.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

Many very young contemporary painters, recently graduated from art schools such as Clément Davout, Alexandre Lenoir, Rayan Yasmineh or Dhewadi Hadjab.

Which are your plans for the near future?

I will be taking my master’s degree at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Angers, France. After this Erasmus experience at the prestigious Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee, I intend to continue to study and to become more professional. 2022 has been a very full year for me, punctuated by travels and exhibitions in France and Berlin. After my first solo show in Paris, I plan to study again for a master’s degree in the printed image section at the very selective Ecole des Arts-Décoratifs in Paris. I will continue to paint relentlessly, in order to be more mature about my art, and then enter the contemporary art market.

Samuel Lalier, Désintégration, oil painting, 88.5 cm x 74 cm, 2023
Samuel Lalier, Hommage, oil painting, 120 cm x 100 cm, 2022
Samuel Lalier, Pomone, oil painting, 45 cm x 31.2 cm (each), 2023
Samuel Lalier, Hespérides, oil painting, 169.5 cm x 130 cm, 2022
Sameul Lalier, Hishati, oil painting, 30 cm x 19.7 cm, 2023


All images courtesy of the artist

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