I am always interested in how one can survive intellectually and at the same time give of oneself as an artist. I returned recently from an artist's residency in southwestern France at a chateau near Toulouse. Curator and Architect Elaine Merkus and her photographer/filmmaker spouse Denis Piel have opened their beautiful Château de Padiès to artists. My first experience of the place was that I could not take a bad photo there, so beautiful and complicated is the landscape. The second part of the experience was to be thrown headfirst into a documentary film festival curated by Denis Piel. It was the last days of this festival, called CCiiff (Culture & Cultures international intercultural film festival), and I think I saw five films in three days. A standout was a film by Gianfranco Rosi titled Below Sea Level about a group of individuals who have fallen off the grid, either by choice or circumstance, and live in a deserted area south of LA, mostly in their cars or campers. Gianfranco, who spent five years making this film, is an artist I often had to challenge for bathroom rights at the château, but since his films were quite terrific, I will let it slide. Also in the guesthouse was a fabulous jazz composer and musician, U. Aldridge Hansberry, originally from New Orleans but who has spent the last twenty years in Paris. More about both of them in an upcoming issue of TAS.
In this issue I am delighted to have an English translation of Michel Batlle’s 1981 interview with the renown Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923). I met Michel at Padiès—he is known and respected in France for his artistic generosity and I am delighted that he has given us this interview for our English reading readers. I hope TAS will have more from Michel in the future.
As I was leaving Padiès , the collaborative artist team of Edwards + Johann arrived from New Zealand in an artistic whirlwind. These printmakers and performance artists are interviewed here by Philip Auslander.
I would like to thank Elaine and Denis for their hospitality and inspiration.
All my best,
The Art Section