Ivan Messac
Dec. 1, 2020

Ivan Messac

Ivan Messac was born in Caen, France in 1948 and is currently one of the leading figures in the Narrative Figuration movement. He participated in numerous and important artistic events and is represented in galleries, museums around the world and prestigious collections. He has a significant public work in the form of sculpture. He currently lives and works in Paris. We interviewed the artist on the occasion of the two new screenprints made for the CPS.

After your serigraphic approach to the Pessoa universe in previous CPS editions, these two screenprints, full of color and movement, convey the spirit of dance in a time of social isolation. Why?

The dance theme has been portrayed by many artists. Matisse of course, but also Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec or Severini ... It is a passionate subject because it's the expression of Life. A dynamic coupling, a movement that the painter must translate through static means: points, lines, surfaces, shapes and colors. In this period of isolation, it seems to me essential to express what we can no longer do: meet, have fun, be together, dance. Nowadays, dancing means fighting, resisting… and from the moment that this is not possible, painting still is.


Visually they refer to the 50s and 60s. What was the purpose?

I did not think about the 50s and 60s but it is likely that, having lived my adolescence in that period, I experienced a certain nostalgia. There is another thing, the Narrative Figuration movement, to which I am connected, which comes, like PopArt, from a popular aesthetic full of strong colors and references to jazz, rock and pop music. My most recent works perpetuate these concerns, always trying to represent with less support in photography as it was in my previous works.


Tu me fais tourner la tête

Pas trop de macaroni dans le pathé marconi


One of them has a mirrored surface where each viewer can see himself reflected. What do you intend to transmit?

That way we get into the dance. We, you, me….


How important is graphic work and the multiple in the context of your work?

I have done many screenprints over the past 50 years. I have always done them with the same desire to share my work with as many people as possible. In addition, the practice of printing techniques (screenprinting, linocut, etching, lithography) has sometimes enriched my painting practice.

On the other hand, I often dream, and I do so sometimes, of putting my talent at the service of producing the usual objects: carpets, posters, decks of cards, plates… and as I was a sculptor, furniture, jars, etc.


What would you like to transmit to the young collectors and fans of your work?

I don't know, but I would like to share with them the concerns that motivate me. I would like, in a difficult world, to share some moments of beauty.


In your opinion, how does direct contact with art contribute to the improvement of the contemporary society?

Going on an adventure, discovering unknown lands or civilizations is one of the means of development of our societies. But nowadays there are no more unknown lands, except in space. Art is always an unknown land, the one who ventures into it, discovers it, transforms it, develops it. Therefore, art contributes a lot.

We cannot ask the impossible of the artists. However, we can expect them to be the guardians and propagators of freedom. We must expect them to be free with themselves, in their creations and to share them with us.


Foto do artista: Battistini