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Side Line #10

SIDE-LINE had already been strongly attracted by the nice covers of the two first cds of DIVE. But when we discovered the Images booklet presenting the artwork of the French Francoise Duvivier, we were deeply fascinated by her collages through which she manages to create strong atmospheres, dark ambiences, giving you the impression of narrowing her majesty the Death in a certain way... It is frightening, it is black, it is depressive, but it strikes your brain and impresses your senses so deliciously!.
-Side Line: Could you first of all present yourself and your artwork?

-Françoise Duvivier:
I consider this artwork as an "expression of life" evolving towards the future. I reject all the words like "Art", "High Art", "Artist" and their spirit. I dislike all the false romantism and mythology that the society and the artists themselves have created around it. The artwork I do, is for me an experience, an enjoyment of life, without rules; a therapy, a need to touch the others and communicate with them. It is magical to touch the others and act upon their feelings. It's only emotional, and it's really great to get emotions from people in a society where irrationality and sensitiveness are mainly rejected.
-Side Line: Could you describe a bit your working methods?

-Françoise Duvivier:
My working methods are not sophisticated. I never gave importance to my material in art, I have always wanted to work with almost nothing, no pretentious tools! I make my collages as I write a letter. I only need pencils, glue, scissors and black & white visual documents. I however do need a more powerful tool we call "imagination" and "capacity" to break the inner frontiers, to defy our pseudo-normality, to travel in a forbidden world, to play to be crazy and to test another life. My other working method is music. I do need music to make these collages which have all a typical story. I started doing them in 1983/84 after having listened to several new musics days long. It was a new experience. I felt that I could learn something strong from them and that way destroy all the prejudices I had in art. I abused listening to that music at maximum volume during hours long, only thinking about it, letting it enter into myself, getting my own body. I erased the past. It was a kind of drug and I forgot everything. I then had the idea to make collages in black & white. I completely gave up the painting. And all this cannot be explained! I'm only glad to have stopped painting and that way broken and destroyed a part of my life anterior to these collages. The music I was listening to at that time was mainly involved in noise, experimental or sound collages. Bands like among others: CURRENT 93, Z'EV, TEST DEPT, ESPLENDOR GEOMETRICO, SEVERED HEADS, CHRIS I COSBY, EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN, PSYCHIC TV, COIL and so on. I was especially impressed by the following piece from COIL: "How to destroy angels?", I said for myself: "How to destroy MY angels". Today, I feel like a kind of mutant born from an apocalypse of noises and hard music. I do not regret to have experimented all that so strongly. I think it was a useful "REbirth". What I call "new music" (including techno) is a music that is more able to touch your deep subconscious. Sometimes I need silence, but this silence is another part from this music because it is never quiet, there is no silence, but only disturbing noises! I don't only make collages, I also make dolls and masks which require silent feelings after having listened to all this music. My other working method is "the dream" at night. It is a powerful tool! All the dolls and mask I create come from people or Impressions I see or get in my dreams.
-Side Line: Since when in fact, are you active in this sphere?

-Françoise Duvivier:
I started exhibitions round 1978, but I quickly grew bored with this mainstream culture and the accompanying bourgeois-intelligentsia. My art was always rejected. 1 understood that my place was not there and I didn't want to stop my way of thinking and of feeling life. My targets were different and I gave up the middle and his folks. I stopped being interested in the whole art, I destroyed all the books I had about all the testimonies, the history and its lies, it was necessary to stay alone, to stop seeing people, to have no memory and try something else. I got interested in the international network in 1984. In 1986, I made a publication "M├ętro Riquet" which was involved in extremist art. I featured mainly new music and performances. I stopped publishing it because of money. I always hope to start once again this kind of publication. Unfortunately, the recession is getting worse and the international exchanges become more difficult because of the expensive postal charges. My artwork is now published in various alternative magazines and books, mostly well-known in the USA. I prefer to communicate my work through these medias because they touch more people and I find this way more democratic than an ordinary and squared gallery. I've completely stopped to have any interest in what happens through the mainstream painting sphere. I reject some modern art, because the whole purpose is to deal with aesthetics and formal qualities that don't really speak of the artist, it's a created work that can only be appreciated by a few intellectuals. There is no communication, and I am unable to create in that way.
-Side Line: How did you come in contact with DIVE?

-Françoise Duvivier:
I sent some illustrations to Sandy Nys of the "3RioArt" for one of his cd "The ritual should be kept alive" if I remember it well? It's there that Dirk Ivens saw my work and was filled with wonder. I was really touched because doing an outsider art, makes you finally sad of being rejected and considered as insane or mad. He used some collages for his Final Report and First Album cds. This story brought us to the DIVE book CD Images which is a meeting of our both sensitivities. Even if our mediums are different, I think there is a connection between our both arts. Our communication may appear as a shared catharsis. I indeed admire the more active and dynamic possibilities of a musician that allow him to get a physical contact with the public. I think this is very therapeutic and very intensive. Maybe I'm more able to bring the "invisible", something else through my images... It's different when you stay hours long in front of drawing stuff, you see nobody else, you are alone. You are not sure that one day you will touch any public at all. This travel brings you into an invisible landscape full of uncertainties. In visual art, we don't have contacts with people. It is rather individualistic and the people are more quickly scared of the visual feeling. By choosing my paintings, DIVE gave me the opportunity to share this catharsis with him and it's for me a great honour to have accompanied him from First Album to Images. I like what DIVE does, his music has some muscle! He really deserves the success he has and I wish him a lot more.
-Side Line: Could you comment us the frontcovers of the DIVE's cd's you realized so far?

-Françoise Duvivier:
It's quite difficult to comment them... I think they express this kind of beauty that people don't want to look at... I find wonderful an industrial landscape, people who are dead and lay down in a mortuary are so beautiful and romantic! Although, I prefer them when they are disfigured and a bit rotten! I like the splendid evolution of a dermatologic disease, the slow evolution of a cancer, the decay, dead rats, yellow and the beauty of the bones, white, broken, the colour of the infected blood, black... And all this beautiful life tragedy... There is here indeed a lot of things to express. We are nothing but monsters. It's all I intend to express through my artwork and the parody in a world without future, with that cold feeling to have been thrown away into "Terror" without asking anything. The front covers of the DIVE cds (First Album, Final Report, Images) are bits of this art coming from our "Insanity".
-Side Line: Have you been co-working with other musical projects?

-Françoise Duvivier:
Yes, but this co-working was not as strong as this with DIVE. I started to work with RRRecords in the USA: "A journey into pain" which was a compilation of hard music & a CD cover. Then, with Daniel Plunkett from "N.D." magazine, for "Fragment 4" featuring 2 musicians. Robert W. Olver from "Freedom In A Vacuum" often uses my dolls and collages for his cds and flyers (Canada). I also worked with "Schimpfluch/Sudden Infant" for a LP "Radioorgasm" (Switzerland), Marc Alhanati "Tristesse Psychotronique" (France) and "Hybrids" (Belgium). I enjoy this co-working with musicians that I find logic since these collages were born from this new music. SL. When we look at your artworks we have the impression that you see everything in black, that you are depressive or so... Which are your main influences and what is hidden behind your works? F. Yes, my art is dark and depressing because I'm dark and depressed because I'm a part of this world and I'm as dark as it is. I'm fascinated with Death and I accept to look at the sufferings with open eyes. I need to struggle and express my rebellion. I understand that my art may look depressive because it's in black and deals with terror and pain. I admit that my past is tragic and rather sad, it's "damned" for me and I want to forget all this lack of love, this neurotic middle class family with straight ideas on Life. I'm rather revolted and my art is motivated by survival and rebellion, it's my way of transforming internal pain into a thing of beauty or transform the negative energy into a positive force. One day I had to make a choice: create or die! I finally found in art a way of harnessing this negative energy. Unfortunately, I'm sorry to tell you that this world is really black and dark, and I am in mourning for this world. I always wear black clothes. Nothing is romantic here, there will never be peace on this earth! I only see pain, suffering and cruelty. Man has not changed that much since his origins, he was a hunter, a killer and man as a species is a sort of "disease", he created Aids and others. It's a choice! I don't want to use art as a varnish to put on this face called "Earth". I'm unable to tell you anything about Paradise, because, I'm sorry for you, there is NO Paradise!
-Side Line: What kind of music are you listening to? (names...)

-Françoise Duvivier:
It depends mainly on my mood. I know long periods during which I can't stop listening to the same music, so it is rather hard to answer to this question. Generally, I like experimental, industrial, electronic music, etc. and I feel eclectic enough. I prefer listening to everything without any prejudice on the stuff. Some musics help me more to create than others... Some of those I'm actually listening to are :PSY COLLAPSE (Torture Lab and Burning Up Time), BELT who are just starting making music. I also listen to a lot of DIVE (since quite a long time now!). At the moment I don't listen to anything else. I'm only obsessed by these releases. There is indeed a lot to discover and I think the new music knows a healthy period. There is a lot of shit too, but this musical life is quite impressive and arrives ahead of the other arts. It's audacious and it has created a real way of life. You cannot only listen to this kind of music, finally you get completely involved in them. I think this experience is new.
-Side Line: Have you anything to add?

-Françoise Duvivier:
I would like to thank some people (I do not forget) who support my work. They are often artists themselves and I respect them and their work very much. First of all: Dirk Ivens. The others are: John Birgin, Todd Zachritz, Shaun Caton, Don David, Robert W. Olver, Joke Lanz, Adam Mckeown, Daniel Plunkett, Nicolas Genital Grinder, Marc Alhanati, Arthur Potter, Joel Bender, Davidson, Marc Laliberte, John Marriott, Coh Caspar, J. Lehmus, Armand Olivennes and others...... And SIDE-LINE and those who took the time to read me.