Johan Bonnefoy

01 June 2020

Featured in Deptford X: 2019


What are you reading at the moment? 

Annie Le Brun, “What is priceless?”

What does a typical day look like for you?

It depends on the days and the works in progress… I share my time between three main activities: painter, composer and label manager. Depending on the current situation, I can find myself at the workshop or at the studio, these spaces complement each other well, and it’s not a rare thing to combine both within the same day… I like to paint at daylight, colours are less altered by neon, and on the contrary electronic music is tightly linked with night-time, when everything is also more silent… But there is no rule nor protocol, I always follow my instinct.

Describe your studio/workspace

I live in a house next to an old garage converted in a workshop, with a high ceiling and rather good luminosity. There is a mezzanine upstairs, where I can focus on smaller formats, drawings, linocuts and pastel, the ground floor being dedicated to oil painting on big formats.

Where do your best ideas come from?

Nature and landscapes. I live in the countryside, more precisely in the Gorges du Haut-Allier in Auvergne (France), where abound particularly enchanting places like forests, grasslands, rivers, hilltop villages and architectural curiosities: this environment constitute an almost infinite source of motifs. I often wander around with my camera, that I kind of use like a sketchbook, from which I pick pictures up to partly transpose them into paintings.

If Tate called you tomorrow and invited you to make work for the Turbine Hall, what would it be?

I think I would work on a new project adapted to the dimensions of this space, probably a huge canvas made of a juxtaposition of small formats, a bit like Hockney… An immersive work that would plunge the observer in a different place than the gallery’s space. Something bizarre, a dreamlike combination of ghostly patterns (isolated houses, plants, vast areas and crepuscular lights) seem a good basis to me, and then the medium of painting would bring its specific questions.

What is helping you the most during this time?/Plug your next show! 

My family provides an unspeakable support. Strolling in the forest too, painting, writing new tracks in the studio. Gardening helps to reconnect with Earth and the living, cooking too. In any case, move away from the daily stressful news, learn autonomy and resilience.

Instagram: @Johan_bonnefoy

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