Asemic Collages by Christian Gastaldi
Our correspondent Christian Gastaldi at the Paris Bureau reports the news in asemic Street Poster language. In French! But I must warn you that Google translator will be of no avail.
Correspondence from Christian Gastaldi
Since March 2014, I am back in France (I was in Azerbaijan the three years before). My studio is in Paris, more precisely in Courbevoie, near La Défense, in an old 1930 house, among modern buildings. I also work in south of France, in Sète, along the Mediterranean shore where my wife and I are from. I am very likely to stay in France for the years to come, while attempting to participate in international cooperation / residency projects. (In 2014, I was in Can serrat near Barcelone with 10 international
artists – writers, performers, painters, poets… -, in Montréal to cooperate with Oxyd factory, combining old rusted car parts with torn posters. This year I was three months in 59Rivoli an after-squat residency in the heart of Paris, and at Street Art City (in center of France) to customize a room of the project Hotel 128).
Concerning my work related to language / writing :
I can distinguish two aspects in the sources that lead me using letter elements in my work. The first one is the beauty I perceive in the typographic shapes. The curves, straight lines, angles… represent a graphic
alphabet from which I can recompose. Second, is my interest in literature, and more particularly in the style developed by writers. My reading pleasure is coming, not so much from the story itself, but more so from the musicality generated by the assembling of words, by the rhythm of sentences. As a visual artist, my goal is to develop the graphic equivalent of what is the style for a writer. To best achieve that, the meaning of words and sentences have to be destroyed, not to obliterate the merits of the graphic compositions. I therefore systematically tear up words, to only retain shapes and the spatial relations between them. The compositional work of these letters fragments into the canvas space generates the writer’s style I try to graphically emulate.
Additionally, I find that the accumulations of letter elements, lacking a precise meaning, perfectly echoed the confusion of the Babel world of today, where torrents of words are thrown on TV, on the internet, in languages we sometimes cannot decipher, and which above all, have generally little essential meaning. In doing so, my work does not offer a ready-made thinking to the viewer, generally obscene in its simplicity, but provides him the catalysts for constructing his own interpretation.
About my way of working :
I like books and therefore papers. I am particularly attracted by the fragility and the humanity acquired by distressed posters that can be found in the streets, and which have suffered the passing of time – in a metaphor of our life as human beings. My work builds upon this perceived fragility to try to offer an artistic redemption to this mundane material.
I need a physical dimension in the act of creation. I need to involve my body in this global adventure. I tear up the posters by hand, to be in contact with the material and to generate tears that have a human dimension (not being straight lines). I stand up while I create, laying posters on the floor to make my selection and compose an initial sketch, unless I plan to use numerous small fragments of papers. In the latter case, I start the composition with 3-5 elements that provide an initial nucleus around which the composition will later develop in line with the global ideas I want to implement. Creation is then a bit like jumping with a parachute. You have consciously taken the initial decision and then you have to find where the handle to open it is located.