Approach - Texts
Depending on the themes I explore, I take up a medium.
My questions remain the same.
I don't lock myself into a single work.
There is always this red thread that links them.
It is the theme that leads me to a new medium.
To deal with "Choices" and "Links", oil painting has allowed me to reveal the underlays of indecision and attachment.
In order to express the flight, the survival instinct, the violence, the energy of the fight, I paint "Women in black" with Indian ink on burlap, with charcoal, in one go, in a sort of trance.
The artist's book, writing, engraving and illustration give me the opportunity to share intimate moments with the Other, to tell his story and to sublimate his emotions.
Repairing, healing, not throwing anything away, each object has its own importance which reveals the moment, through the cabinet of curiosities, closer to the Ex-Voto.
Sophie Degano - 2021
Text by Béatrice Riou, attached to the conservation of the Morlaix Museum, 2019.
Talking about the present allows us not to neglect the past. If the framework of a work is written in the long term, its term is sometimes seen from the beginning, as a guiding thread, an accomplishment at work. This is the case for Sophie Degano, an artist of her time who has been questioning social representations for years.
The whole work draws its strength from its fragility, it is a woman's journey, that of her gaze on the world.
For Sophie Degano, painting is a field that questions and questions the artist's position in the face of commitment. This questioning is reflected in mental images where the themes that constitute his work are found, populated by references to submission and oppression.
Painting the human is not a simple thing in the 21st century, revealing the bodies, their realism, their suffering, requires a commitment from the artist but also a reflection on aesthetics.
Sophie Degano faces it as a principle of composition. In the series Les femmes en noir, which denounces rape as a weapon of war, her powerful and violent works are less motivated by aesthetics than by expressive power. In this series, where she confronts the monumental, the figures appear stained with paint, the plastic writing gives shape to recognizable but soiled bodies, martyred, inscribed in a radical expressionist tradition. The violence of the subject is matched by that of the form and the exclusive choice of black supports Sophie Degano's incisive look at the darkness of our societies.
These tensions, twists and deformations were already present in the earlier series of Choices and Links, but color supported the purpose of suffocation and confinement of beings.
Then comes a breath in this journey: Thanks to them, a series of 60 portraits of women who have left their mark on history. This work is part of a deep affinity with his previous work, which was affected by the question of transmission. The technique used is new for Sophie Degano who, for the first time, is familiar with engraving. Plastic writing is imposed by the simplicity supported by the line, the clear, precise and structured form.
A-F L Guilliez - 2019.
As a visual artist, she has made word and speech the raw material of her work. Word spoken and written, word screamed, word carried within and delivered, word suffocated, buried and raised.
She listened and heard the voices of women who keep their memories silent, the traces of their lives, the marks that their skin and spirit preserve. She made her own this listening which gave rise to the need to create a passage for her so that the voices could be heard as widely and as far as possible.
Her attachment to women's expression has led her to seek their place in a society where the very word artist, although neutral, is first masculine before agreeing to be also, if not equally, feminine.
After studying art history at the Ecole du Louvre, she first turned to the work of matter, and that of the glass she blew and sculpted. From this period she kept the exploration of materials and the search for alliances.
Paintings, collages, sculptures, impressions, seams, sounds, she is not limited to any medium and does not wish her work to be limited to any medium.
To make the words heard, especially those of women, she also brings her voice to them, with conferences that question the place given to them and that she associates with the presentation of her works.
The word, written and inscribed, is a major focus of his work. Words repeated, reported as they are, reinvented, booked to be read, seen, exposed and recited, inscribed in the canvas,
Since 2015, it has been involved in the production of works where matter and word meet, produced by long periods of immersion with women and men, far from the world, locked up voluntarily or involuntarily, by age, justice or spirit.
From this listening was born one of her last Transmission-Transgression projects, which she realized in collaboration with the musician Eric Cervera.
Text by Christian Noorbergen, Exhibition Curator and Art Critic, 2012.
WOMEN IN BLACK DE SOPHIE DEGANO, OR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SKIN
Body parts, body parts, body parts, being bags, and puddles of space confront each other, vibrate, and calligraphy the space hard. Something human and inhuman erupted, and could no longer hold its place. In Sophie Degano's work, chaos watches over, and perhaps even abandons itself to the absence of dreams, and relieves itself of the beauty of the beings who are ending... A sudden gesture clashes with the murders from within.... Sophie Degano sows the too hard wounds of time... She conjure up bad memories.
The graphic signs, panting and sharp, by which these feverish spots are created, make sovereign charges of life. Allusive traces track down hatred, when the traces of existence disappear, on the extreme edge of the vital burns. The sharp and brutal stain is torn from the void, searching the extent of an implacable scalpel writing. Art of exorcisms and impulses, of ravages and scars.
Sophie Degano digs holes in the skin of indifference... She embraces and embraces the misfortunes of the world, when the appearances of life, fluid and raw, implacable and wild, are twisted with unfulfilled distress. Women of high life, always already wounded, in the devastated tenderness of the whiteness always already wounded. Intimate space soiled to the horizon.
Obsessions are emerging. Signs of art stain, and try to exist at the heavy limits of existence. Breathtaking lifethreatening, poignant, metamorphic and crucial spots. In the unthinkable abyss of the flesh, they look like targets that would bite the darkness. They invade our wounds. They damage the vastness.
The inside and outside of the body, painted in the same harsh movement, speak of the sublime and atrocious of the united and separated body, when the reverse flesh ploughs our appearances. An air of disaster settles in the fragile hollow of the works. Horror and sublime embrace each other in the open. The skin is no longer soft. She screams.
When the night of humanity bleeds, Sophie Degano signs the bungled impulses of the roots of life. It saves humanity from our baseness.
Sophie Degano - Amazon warrior by Fabien Heck. 2020.
We see her as an Amazon, a warrior. "Yes? Maybe, I don't know...". Talking about her through her work is not an easy exercise. And "Yes? Maybe, I don't know...". There will be a lot of them during the interview. Especially when sitting in a kitchen, surrounded by imposing or delicate works, when the body is inert and controls thought.
On the other hand, in her studio, in motion, seeing her spread out like a fan the extent of her work, one is amazed. The word goes wild. One is astonished by such diversity. Sophie Degano is not the kind of artist who endlessly reproduces the same artistic gesture. You have to be lucky enough to enter her studio, under the roof, to discover the extent of her work. The sum of documents, objects, completed or future projects, all very different from one another in form, even if the substance remains the same.
"I try not to ask myself questions all the time, I just do it. I just go on like that. I live in the moment. "
She likes to say that she made herself. Even though her father liked to paint and had joined a mosaic school in Italy. He played the piano, the guitar...
As a teenager, she was drawn to philosophy, reading, poetry and human issues. I was at a crossroads in my short life, I had to take a direction...I would have loved to work in a big library with lots of books. But if I had done that I would have missed something. "
And this "something else" she will first of all look for in England by studying glass techniques. "Learning to sand, blow, sculpt and engrave glass. I worked like crazy..."
Back in France, she shared a workshop with a designer, built a kiln and turned to sculpture, glass paste, glass painting, the desire to move on to something else.
She constantly moves on to something else. She searches, follows her instinct. With the birth of her children, oil painting takes over.
"Having a young child changes the rhythm of your life. You have to adapt, especially when you are a woman, when you are in great demand and have to respond quickly to their requests. So you can leave the painting "on hold". You can easily pick up all the layers, the underlays. These were also themes that I explored, choices, links, scratching under the skin to reveal all these choices, all these unsaid things. "
In her studio there are various projects in progress. Often interrupted in her work, she has developed the habit of leaving the works in abeyance. But she manages to find the feeling that she had right away.
Even if the work of an artist can isolate, her work is based on the desire of the other, she is necessarily in sharing. Not turned towards herself. She questions, seeks to understand, to make people think. She willingly participates in workshops to meet and get to know others.
Even if her work goes from one question to another, there is a common thread that guides her.
"I need this questioning. It's a form of commitment, art today, at least I see it that way, we need it especially nowadays. You make things appear, answers, a form of understanding, of reflection. "
This love of books and words is very present in her work. They are everywhere. It inspires her or guides her in a future work. "When I go into a bookshop, I let myself be guided. I have books that interest me, but I sometimes leave them aside. I'm in a different energy, I'll come back to it later. "
In his work there is always a form of spirituality. Whatever the form. Writing has also gained its place in his universe and is increasingly present. Her latest exploration is the sound space with the production of Podcast.
At the moment she is concentrating on the realisation of a work around Leonard Cohen for the project Who by fire & heart - MEMORY. A portrait in the spirit of Grâce à elles, which would be transformed into a stencil and immortalised on walls around the world in Paris, Berlin, Sarajevo...
In a few months, when the weather is fine, she will join the actor Redjep Mitrovitsa for a live reading-painting exchange. Around a brother and, well, a woman, his sister. Paul and Camille Claudel.
Looking forward to seeing Sophie Degano in motion.