Interview: Ludovic Philippon


Montpellier, France.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in the south of France, north of Montpellier, between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of the Cévennes, with my wife and my two children. I live in a peaceful country, far from the hustle and bustle of big cities and this life close to nature brings me the peace and inspiration that is conducive to my work as a painter and architect. I like loneliness and isolation, in complete freedom of course!

Where did you start your journey into the art world ?

I grew up in a craftsman’s environment, and I have always loved workshops, places of possibilities where you just have to reach out and grab here and there a bunch of objects that can arouse your imagination.

I spent my first ten years in Rochefort sur Mer, a 15th century military port with an orthogonal urban structure that has shaped my outlook forever. Director Jacques Demy chose this city to direct his musical “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort”in 1967. He had more than 40,000 m² of Pop-coloured facades painted on which, although I was not born at that time, still persisted during my childhood.

It is also the city of Pierre Loti (19th century travel writer) and Merleau Ponty (20th century phenomenologist philosopher), at the crossroads of my passions : painting, architecture and philosophy.

I experienced my first strong pictorial emotion there, at the age of 8, in front of the official copy of Géricault’s “Raft of the Medusa”, kept in the city museum.

It was also there that I sold my first painting, at the age of 10, to a classmate, the son of a collector. During my studies in architecture, in Montpellier, I was taught by Jean Leccia, a painter on the fringes of the Support Surface group and a fabulous colourist, and by Bernard Salignon, holder of a chair in Aesthetics, who gave me the foundations of philosophical and analytical thinking. Then, after graduating, I devoted myself to architecture mainly for 15 years without ever losing sight of painting.

It is in 2016, thanks to the construction of our house, that I was able to find the space to set up my workshop and start painting daily and I haven’t stopped painting since then.

Let’s talk about your style. How can you explain your love of geometry?

What I like very much is the minimalist approach that seems to me to be beneficial in our teeming world. I like the idea that my painting expresses tranquility and calm.

“Less is more”said Mies Van Der Rohe.

I try to generate, through colour, a space of representation that can generate an emotion, a sensation.

“Simplicity of form does not necessarily mean simplicity of experience” Robert Morris.

By that, I mean the aesthetic experience as the ability to express a sensation.

My paintings are also a work on absence: it is from my point of view this point emptiness that articulates things between them, that puts them in tension in the pictorial space.

Emptiness is the breath of the work.

Tell us about your studio, what kind of place is it?

For the moment my studio is located in one of the rooms of our house that I had previously intended to dedicate to the practice of architecture; I now find it unsuitable and lacking of natural light.

Despite this, it is a place where I spend a lot of time in the middle of an organized bazaar. I plan to build a bigger paint shop next to our house, with more generous and better oriented natural light window panels.

What does your usual working day look like?

I’d say my work days start at night, at bedtime! I love to fall asleep visualizing shapes; for colours it’s more difficult. Colour is a vibration that I can’t yet correctly visualize mentally, but I am practicing.

I get up at dawn and spend my mornings on architectural projects. I make it a point of honour to work on local projects. It’s a sustainable approach, more time on the project and less on the roads!

Afternoons and weekends are devoted to painting.

Generally speaking, I have a simple and frugal lifestyle, as long as there is a little good wine.

Is there something that inspires you most in your work?

I really like the work of Nicolas de Staël, for his colours and the dynamics of the spaces created, Bram Van Velde for his sensitivity, and so many other artists like Elworth Kelly, Carmen Herrera, Richard Serra….

I think I have an architectural relationship with painting, I share some similar tools, light, time and space, a particular love for colour, shape and layout. I spend a lot of time looking at the blank canvas. There is a lot of magic in making something appear and a lot of pleasure in resonating with what is being created.

What about your plans for this year? Have you already planned any exhibitions?
I am currently preparing an exhibition for the month of November in Paris in the walls of the Amélie gallery, Maison d’art.

It is very exciting to prepare an encounter between your work and the spectator in this extraordinary place.

Your thoughts that you want to share with our readers.

Enjoy yourself, dream.
Eat well and sleep well.
Be forgiving and kind to yourself.


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