Parisian artist, Reynald Drouhin, experiments with the internet medium by seeking to represent it. Aesthetically, it is through the monochrome and minimalist space that he reflects his perception of the contemporary world, standing out more and more of the “matter” internet itself to represent this other space-time.
Tell us about your career as a multimedia artist?
I started painting and photography at the Paris 1 University and I continued at the fine arts school of Paris (beaux-arts) where I learned serigraphy and computer science. It was at the beginning of the Internet in the 90s, so it’s been more than 20 years that I’ve work on concepts related to networks.
Would you say you have a style? If so, how would you describe it?
My works often result from codified data or an established protocol – sometimes generative – and reveal a profusion of random and fragmentary representations. Monochrome and minimalist spaces are becoming more and more important. I like going towards an aesthetic simplification.
What role does the artist have in society?
The same role as any citizen. It is just that the artist’s thoughts and reflections on society materialise physically.
What themes do you pursue?
I was very interested in the representation of the internet but also in the inherent concepts of networks: participation, sharing, appropriation, capture, flow, ephemeral. I also turn around themes related to data: memory, ghost, fragmentation, error, random, generative.
What other artists have been inspirational to your work?
Some minimalist artists and others: Tony Smith, Ad Reinhardt, Donald Judd, Joseph Kosuth, Maurizio Cattelan, Marcel Duchamp, Richard Serra…
What do you think makes a memorable piece of art?
I like effective stuff, which deals with complex concepts but in a simple way. A work that speaks without necessarily having to read three books and knowing everything about the life of the artist.
What do you want viewers to take away from your work?
I want my work to be accessible to the greatest number of people without being popular (in the sense of pop art). l like the idea of different degrees of understanding in the work: simplicity, humour, references…
What motivates you to continue creating artworks?
My to-do list! (I’m late catching up…)
Even if the productions are not regular (it’s sometimes long or expensive to realize), ideas and projects accumulate in my head, it is just my way of functioning.
What are some of your favourite books on photography and art – what do you love about them?
For photography, Rolland Barthes’ book Camera Lucida (la Chambre claire) for essentials on photography.
A book recently released, a compilation of photographs by Raphaël Zarka, Riding Modern Art for the approach and the theme addressed.
For art books, a book by Marcel Duchamp, Duchamp of the Sign, it is incomprehensible, full of ideas, you open it at random.
In another field, the book of Haruki Murakami What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, an essay where running becomes a metaphor for artist work.
When you’re creating a new piece how much is planned and how much is instinctual?
It depends on the works. For generative projects I work a lot with bugs and errors that I try to keep as much as possible and add to the initial idea. Other projects are simplified at different stages of realisation. In fact, the projects that I note for myself (my to-do list) are often already very precise in my head. It is rather those who follow one another after this first planned project that could be described as instinctive, they are done in a more fluid way, as in reaction to the first project.