From book to workshop

  • 1987 Paris “Récits” Galerie Coprah
  • 1990 Cologne “Récits - Livres et carnets” Institut Français
  • 1992 Freiburg “Allemagne” Institut Françai1992
  • 1992 Marseille “hospitalité” Espace de créations contemporaines
  • 2004 Paris “L‘invention du monde” (The Big Leap) Centre Goerge Pompidou

At the beginning of the eighties, EF brought together books and revues from his library into his workshop. He also gathered together his entire collection of documents, photographs, drawings and projects from his notebooks, folders and fascicles of all kinds. In some of these registers he literally copied the texts of some authors (mainly Julien Gracq) as well as anonymous travel stories. In the same body of these texts he also brought out by transparency some re-touched images in ink. In this way, real works and imaginary books coexisted in one and the same bibliographical whole.

Exploration sites

  • 1997 Cherbourg “Le Théatre géographique” La galerie du Théatre de Cherbourg
  • 1998 Chateaubriant “La bibliothèque” Châteâu de Chauteaubriant
  • 1998 New York “Juste avant les Loups” Galerie Achim Moeller
  • 2000 San-Fransico “La Bibliothèque” Galerie Southern Exposure
  • 2006 Miami “Un cabinet de dessin” Art Miami Galerie Achim Moeller New-York

In 1984 EF rented a large warehouse at the port of Nantes in which he began the mise en scène: placement of objects: tables, display cases, books, maps and plans of towns adorned the place. In this space he conceived a “cabinet of drawings”; a “Chamber of Cards”; “a Library” consisting of paper, and much later, a “Room for tracing”. These invented sites, which he chose to call “exploration sites”, were not conceived successively but simultaneously. They would be adapted according to time and circumstances and adapted to the location when the opportunity to exhibit them arose. The “Library”, for example, would be exhibited in five different ways in exhibitions in France and abroad. Thus EF conceived his works in his atelier as living and evolving projects and not as a place solely for the fabrication of artistic pieces.

A variety of techniques

  • 1986 Fontevraud “ Atelier internationaux des Pays de la Loire” Abbaye
  • 1991 Rosnay-L’Hopitale (Bourgogne) “Ondes de pierres” Crypte de l’église
  • 1995 Bayonne “Les malles à dessins ” Musée Bonnat
  • 1997 Honolulu “Crossing” Université of Hawaii, Manoa
  • 1998 Hawaii “Hui No’eau” Visual Arts Center
  • 2007 Cheb (République Tchèque) “Vedutta” Espace d’art
  • 2007 Nantes “Archipel” Musée des Beaux Arts

Although the practice of drawing is at the heart of his work as an artist, EF also has recourse to a large variety of means of expression such as collage, models, photography, cut glass and printing plates. Conscious of the ideas used in (the) fabrication (process) and the quality of the materials used, EF places importance on the tactile aspect of his work. Touching the oeuvre is even essential to appreciate some of his exhibitions. Thus visitors were invited to use their fingertips to decrypt the pieces presented at the exhibitions entitled “L’invention du monde” (Centre Georges Pompidou) and “Onde de pierre” (at the Crypt de Rosnay l’Hôpital).

Geographical Choices

  • 1985 Paris “Le style et le chaos” Musée du Luxembourg
  • 1986 New York “Golden door “Galerie White columns
  • 1989 Paris “Géographies” Galerie Aline Vidale
  • 1991 La Roche sur Yon “L’insoutenable légereté de l’art ” Musée des Beaux Arts
  • 1995 Cologne “L’insoutenable légereté de l’art ” Galerie Der Spiegel
  • 1999 San-Fransico “Crossing ” Galerie Paule Anglim
  • 2003 Paris Galerie Rabouan-Moussion
  • 2008 Nantes “Parcours de Jean-Sébastien Bach ” Atelier Bastille

The abundance of information doubtless has its limits. In fact, for EF, the multitude of data, the proliferation of documents and arrival of the computer induced work directions which were too varied. In 1991, following correspondance with the National Geographical Institute (l’Institut de géographie National), he chose to devote himself to one working theme-geography. This choice did not come to him due to a fascination for the aesthetic or nostalgia, but from an intuition that the map could be an inexhaustible source of ideas. Physical geography, the geodesic projection, and the scale of representation seemed in fact to correspond to his artistic intention. From then, EF would turn out his inventive projects in 2 or 3 dimensions. He would express himself in drawing and in sculpture, evoking the miniscule and then the monumental. He would go from a simple sketch on a sheet to an immense circle on the sea. With a diameter of 266 yards, such was the scale of art piece on location produced as part of the international workshop of Fontevraud (Ateliers internationaux de Fontevraud).

In the nineties, the workshop became a place of experimentation, of conception, but also a meeting place. This was the “Salle à tracer” at the exhibition “Nantes/Cairo”. More and more, EF called on companies to produce works according to his specifications: sculptures, murals, urban installations. He collaborated in Paris with architects (the firm being “la Cité des voyages”) and also with a director (at the theatre du Vieux Colombier).

Another question would decide the geographical direction of EF’s work. This was the requirement for the artist to be mobile, as he particularly prefers to work on site. His pieces therefore had to be adaptable physically to this new requirement. It is sure that by then EF had abandoned the panoply of painting: no canvas, no frame, no rigidity. Nothing at all that could encumber the space which could be exist. On the contrary, each work by EF had to be able to be easily folded and organized and transported in a cardboard box, case or suitcase. In this way, he was able to produce a series of pieces in cut glass which he generically named “Archipel”. Large or small, his oeuvres were created so as to be positioned on the wall according to a pre-established plan. The ensemble of the glass fragments were precisely organized before and after the exhibition in large and small boxes with images and instructions inside to enable them to be mounted correctly. The New-York gallery owner Achim Moeller helped him to produce such pieces and exhibited his work in New York in 1998 for the first time.

A white album

  • 2002 Oslo “Cartes Blanches” Atelier Edvard Munch
  • 2003 Barcelone “Un cabinet de dessin” Institut Français
  • 2004 Paris “L‘invention du monde” (les cartes blanches) Centre Goerge Pompidou
  • 2006 Bâle “Art Basel” Galerie Achim Moeller New york
  • 2007 Juvisy-sur-Orge “hospitalité” Espace d’art contemporain

In 1999 EF left his atelier in Nantes and settled in San Francisco, to a house lent to him by the gallery owner Paule Anglim. There, he started on a white cartographic album made up of number of papers containing sketches drawn by needle. This was a sort of brail or more precisely the creation of an image by piercing. This was in any case a technique which allowed the artist to satisfy his taste for lightness, economy of means, and above all for the digital journey of the meditative experience. In minute and precise detail he worked patiently in the on uneven terrain brought out by the soft lamp light. Let us note here that the drawings obtained were not imaginary but reproductions of reality. A selection of these pieces was exhibited at the Paule Anglim gallery in San Francisco then at the Georges Pompidou Centre as part of the exhibition entitled “l’Invention du monde” (The invention of the world).

EF is a explorer, a surveyor in the real sense of the term, and not simply a “tourist”. His destinations always correspond to an idea or in fact a precise program of work. In twenty years of walking he has refined his subject and found the appropriate techniques for expression of this progression. His works are not instantaneous views arrived at in an instant: they follow and trace the course of a river or the lifeline of a leaf. They direct the eye towards an open and blank space beyond the image. An oriental influence can be seen/recognized, that of Hiroshige in particular; and also of something in the spirit of the Japanese chronicling book (Ehon). The “exploration sites” of the eighties were neither nostalgic nor closed in on themselves: they were the keys, the openings, and even the foundations of a work on movement… which is still evolving…