Artist Wall | Maya Israel hosts Jacques Fhima
Maya Israel: Your works deal with verbal and visual codes
The abandoned books, the old camera, the quotes, humor, food, writing, stamps, postcards, the protagonist, the movie, the locations, landscapes, people, memory, music, archive. Where does it all start Jacques? I am interested to hear about home, about Jacques the curious boy, about the evolution of your visual language.
Jacques Fhima: Ever since I can remember, I have been working with space and material. My work is very close or identical to the work of the archeologist. I look at my place and try to understand the components, and then the composition. I look for the material and through it understand the history of the space. Early on, I edited a fanzine of sorts, a single-copy magazine made of collage and text. My room was turned into a library of what could be found on the street, for a creative kid, the trash of Paris was rich in treasures. I did not shy away from carrying tons of magazines from the Opera to La Bastille, my bag was always full.
MI: Memory, Residue.
Used materials, ancient cinematic techniques, make me think of time travel, your travel through time. As someone who sees beyond the mountain.
You communicate from your own place, mostly emerge from your works as a multidisciplinary maker, as a self-taught artist, who spread around himself any finding from the environment that went out of conceptual and emotional use, studied the materials, set them ablaze with words and images and transmits them, who is the addressee?
JF: The significant influence, in terms of conceptual art and philosophy, is drawn from Dada and the philosophy of the French revolution of 1968, and most of all Guy Debord. I started by writing texts and manifests, poetry, performance and experimental cinema in the early 1970s. Already then I was on a search for the possibility to capture space and time with a pocket camera, a pencil and a typewriter. I was too young to take part in the events, but I managed to get into places like the Modern Art Museum of Trocadero, Grand Palais, the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle du Jardin des Plantes, The Musée national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie de la Porte Dorée, the curiosity in the anthropology and topography of the city, the library and the bookshop were at the center of my attitude towards forms of new art. I was completely self-taught and my culture as a mosaic. I was a novice, there was no one to ask about the way, I have created my path and my public is universal.
MI: Transformation, from a mouse, to an enlightened prophet.
You inhabit your works, you do not only address things.
You are the actor in the movies, you are the cinematographer, you are the director. What about the limits of the piece. What are the limits of cinema or any other artwork you create?
JF: The point of departure is quantifiable. I have found that so far at the "midlife" point the entirety of my writing add up to 300,00km of words and creation. 300,000 km per second is the speed of light. In order to understand the definition of the speed of light the common example is of a man who lights a candle on Earth and the light takes a second to travel to the moon.
We are talking about different levels of the term "journey" whether it’s the light's whether the train that travels backwards, and of course also the possibility to create the wall, or some sort of installation of the postcards that talk about a fabricated journey. All the parts of the installation speak of time units. Fragments that together become the narrative of "The Pantheon", while during the journey there is the transformation of the character from a mouse to an enlightened prophet.
MI: Artist's Wall
I have invited you to exhibit at the Artists' Studios, I personally am very connected to your work, your interest in the collective subconscious, the movement and the eyes.
What in the verbal and what in the visual of the Artist's Wall on which you were invited to exhibit…
JF: The situation I have created for the Artist's Wall is at the same time a unit of conduct in time. It is composed of an action included in the shaping of the experience of the moment. Gestures which are the product of desire and of themselves. Other forms of design and gestures are created.
Anyone who takes part in the adventure can find a field of positive action, there is an attention towards the general atmosphere. Anyone can have what he likes, what is attractive, and what is important. It is not the individual structure of the thought or an account of the structure, it is the possible proposal in a constructed situation.