“J'essaye de faire vibrer les choses que je dessine afin de reproduire leur réalité sensible”
" I try to make the things I draw vibrate with a view to reproducing their sensitive reality "
in “murs,murs” 2012, éditions forceps, juan de nubes
“ juan de nubes ne reproduit pas le visible, il rend visible”
" Juan de Nubes does not reproduce the visible, he renders visible "
" Juan de Nubes does not reproduce the visible, he renders visible "
in “jardin des cimes, le dessin pas nature” 2014, éditions forceps, juan de nubes/marianne guyader
“la douceur à l'état brut” "Gentleness in the rough"
Camille larquet, http://juandenubes.collectio.org/
PML: How did become an artist?
JDN: I began my arts education by reading everything I could find about the theory and practice of perspective and drawing. Of course, I rejected everything I'd read after my first few days in a proper art school...
PML: Why was that?
JDN: Because when you work on a project, you have to forget the received wisdom and find a way of doing things for yourself. Experience should be more based on what you feel at the moment rather than in what you've learnt. Your work builds itself empirically.
PML: Where was this first proper art school?
JDN: In Nice. It was a small place called the “Villa Thiole”. After that, I put together a pretty good portfolio and was accepted by a State art school, the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Avignon and obtained the DNSEP (Diplôme National Supérieur d'Expression Plastique) a national Visual Arts diploma, in Montpellier.
PML: I thought you'd attended a design school?
JDN: That was a few years later. I chose the ENSCI (École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle) which is considered one of the mythical Parisian design schools. I got my diploma, but never stopped drawing and etching - which were my first loves. As an artist, as a designer, and as a human being, all those facets converse and feed the same creative process.
PML: So you haven’t always worked purely as an artist?
JDN: I consider my real work to be my art. Visual arts are what encompass my entire art experience, but all the jobs I did before such as graphics, corporate, various incursions into the industrial process are connected with my methods and have enriched my working process. It is strange how, despite having learned complex computer-made 3D technologies, I now use the simplest tools: charcoal, paper, ink and etching; the old-fashioned and basic techniques.
PML: Why do you think that is?
JDN: In my opinion, the pure process of expression and creation can count more than the material result. There's no artifice in such simple tools.
PML: So how would you define your art today?
JDN: I think my art is a fusion of my way of seeing life. It’s at once a landscape of real life and a personal interior view which includes my past, my feelings, my experience and my knowledge.
PML: How has your art evolved over the years?
JDN: My work is becoming freer and freer. It includes references to contemporary and conceptual art, but without the need to look different or be original or new. I just try to be as clear and honest as possible with myself.
PML: Are there any contemporary artists that influence you?
JDN: Well, all kinds of art and a lot of artists really interest me… But, you know, in my opinion, Bach is an extremely contemporary artist! Traditional music too: Chanson française, tango…. In literature: the French Nouveau Roman of the 50’s, but also plain old thrillers. If I could have lived in another era, it would have been the Quattrocento. But I am also attracted to Avant Garde movements like Supports/Surfaces and the work of a lot of conceptual artists. The only form of art that doesn’t really influence me is cinema. Or perhaps, it’s because I can’t help thinking that documentary films are the only real cinema.
PML: So you wouldn’t consider yourself as part of a movement?
JDN: Not in the traditional 20th century sense of the word. I don’t really believe there are “movements” in art. There are only people connected by a common interest. These so-called movements can be connected to others in the past and in the present - out of movements, out of time - which retain a strong connection to reality. Such links mean more to me than a group of people using the same colours or the same techniques over a period of years. Movements are a way for people to somehow feel exceptional or different. I don't care for differences; on the contrary, I like similarities.
PML: Does your art carry a message?
JDN: Every work of art carries a message. Not in the sense of “what does it mean socially", but what does it disturb, what does it assemble, what does it remove, what does it do in the spectator’s mind? I’m not interested in consciously linking my art with daily life, social problems, or trends. I prefer to take the risk of being considered an old-fashioned coherent artist rather than the leader of the new whatever.
PML: But I suppose your art is subconsciously linked with daily life?
JDN: The only way I communicate real life is through thoughts that are like out of space and out of time. For instance, you see a stone wall and you feel the same emotion that someone probably felt a hundred years ago, or maybe thousands of years ago. That emotion is one of appreciation: that the wall is great, or well made, or simple, or mysterious...
PML: Can you talk us through your process?
JDN: I really love drawing. I let my hand decide for me, the paper decides for my hand, and the weather decides for the paper...
PML: The weather?
JDN: Yes! Whether it's dry or wet means that the paper may shrink or enlarge. It also changes the way the tools interact with the surface..
PML: How did the mysterious pseudonym Juan de Nubes come about?
JDN: There was a book that was important to me during my studies : A Theory of Cloud, Toward A History of Painting by Hubert Damish. Since I read it - and I think even before - I felt a natural sympathy for clouds, those strange things we can see, but can’t hold, that don’t really exist as material objects but of which we talk, about which we create theories and systems - shapes and art history.
PML: So Hubert Damish’s book gave you your name and your artistic approach?
JDN: Well, many years later, I read another Theory of Clouds by Stéphane Audeguy, though this one was a novel. The gap between those two books is exactly how I see my approach: from theory to narrative, from the intellect to the emotions. When you draw, you are on the first rung of meaning. Everyone can understand at least one level of what you are trying to say whether it is just a first impression, or the technical process, or metaphoric... Everyone knows what a cloud is, but it's not that important that the majority of the public doesn't know about my theory of clouds
, anymore than they would about “Le nuvolaire “ by
Fosco Maraini, or real climatology theories.
PML: What about Juan?
JDN: It’s my first name, the same as my father and my grandfather. Maybe, now that our king is no longer in power, I could use my full name which is Juan-Carlos. As for associating Juan and de Nubes, that’s another story... More to do with a few glasses of wine in a Bistro in Montmartre.
PML: What are your aims when you exhibit your work?
JDN: Coherence in quality is what I look for when preparing exhibitions. I try to present my work in places accessible to the general public as well as art galleries as long as there are no concessions to the quality of the work: Elitaire pour tous as Antoine Vitez said when referring to Jean Villard's theatre. I should mention that I’m also involved in various artists associations such as the Ateliers d'Artistes de Belleville and the Atelier aux Lilas for typography and print.
PML: Where can we see your work?
JDN: I had a recent exhibition in a cultural centre in St Germain En Laye. It was called “Gardiens des Cimes, Dessin par Nature”. It was interesting because it created a dialogue between drawings and etchings. In November I exhibited at the Autumn Salon, along the “Champs Elysées”. I've got some pieces in the Aab Gallerie, in Belleville. I'm currently involved in projects for Berlin and Barcelona.
But everyone's welcome to visit my studio. It's the best place to see the works as they grow. And, last but not least, there's my website “juandenubes.com”
My next exhibition will be with three other artists, at the ”Biennale de Lmay”, from 5 to 29 march 2015, Galerie des Réservoirs, 2 rue des Réservoirs, 78520 Limay.