I meet Valerie  at the French Cultural Center where yesterday his own personal painting exhibition entitled “Au-Delà” Above was inaugurated…

Beyond the world, across borders, Valérie Honnart’s painting explores “spaces between”: space between dancing bodies, space between the known and unknown world, between memory and memory, oblivion. Valérie Honnart’s art is the synthesis of various influences from the Orient to the West as she only transmits, a look at the bodies, the landscapes, the language between nature and the human body, an expression of so much humanity sometimes elusive … His artistic and personal paths come from far away – he has lived several years in China – and are all the support points for developing a personal expressionistic research on the human body and our intense relationship with our souls and the world.

Valerie talk about her work in this interview in Rome, where she has her studio …

1) How and when does your artistic journey begin?

My artistic path started in 1997 in Hong Kong when I studied traditional Chinese painting at the Shatin University. I discovered a whole visual world far from our western concepts and really new to me. I then decided to quit my work and dedicate me to art. 

2) What is the sense of your creative experience?

First of al my creative experience Is an experience of interiority. It means being able to transform, as an alchemist, emotions, readings, meetings with people, angers in an artistic material. 

But moreover the artistic experience only exists if there is the person who looks at it. So art is not only a language or a speech it is also a way to express on very actual topics. In that matter we, artists have a responsibility to show to talk about the world we live in and about the future we imagine or dream 

3) Where did you develop your artistic sense more in what technique?

When I was a child my grandfather used to take me every Wednesday to a special place in Paris to discover the area and some museums. He has sharpened my eyes and transmitted is sense of beauty.

After I discovered Chinese painting and I have learned it with the traditional method in Hong Kong: ink on paper, ink on silk. When I arrived in Rome I also wanted to learn traditional painting techniques (frescos, tempers, engraving) because I had understood in China how important it is to embody a way to do practice art. 

4) The Detection of the Work? When is it and why do you think so?

It is a quiet mysterious matter difficult to explain.

It is a magic moment that happens and that I have the chance sometimes to pick up and reveal. But it is also the result of a long work with experiments, failures, readings, meeting with people, with different cultures.

5) Which artist inspires you?

I like different kinds of artists from the classical Caravaggio e Pontormo and Zhang Daqian 

To the contemporary Pierre Soulages French artist who invented a new black color called ultrablack

Anselm Kiefer with his artist’s book The sculpture and embroiled piece of art of Louise Bourgeois, I like very much the personality of this artist. 

The drawings of Ernest Pignon Ernest.

The explosive painting of Cao Guo Qiang 

The poetic world of Julien Salaud,

The portraits of Jenny Saville

The gestuality of Hans hartung action painting 

6) Is your creative process also based on a great expressionist research and, above all, inner, how does it develop? and then how important is the research for you artists today?

Each moment is potentially a discover and a start to make research. I read a lot I also like contemporary dancing so I try to see companies that perform in Rome. Sometime the research can take time. For example, few years ago for a project in a hospital I have been following a surgeon for several weeks. One day I would like to spend time with some research studios for example on artificial intelligence or neuro sciences.Research for me is linked to the sincerity with which I am trying to paint, but It doesn’t mean that all artists are working in the same way.

7) China on silk cloth … describe how to create your own work?

When a Chinese painter wanted to paint a tree, he was walking by, he was looking at a tree, he was also dreaming it, then he would turn back home and paint it.

This teaching remains to me.

The mental process s long, and the making of it is quick with no possibilities to turn back.

I draw a lot, I prepare the background in silk and then with my Chinese brushes I try to paint the mental image I have inside me and that I have been drawing many times before.

8) Symbols, how important are they?

I come from western culture so I am very much interested in symbols and mythology but having lived in various cultures I have learned also that they can have different meanings according to each culture so sometimes it is funny to play with it 

9) Let’s talk about colors … and your red color … present as in oriental art, what value does it have? and how do you use it?

For Chinese people red is the color of luck and happiness so when I use this color it has the same meaning. To make it I use pigment and lacquer.

10) What does your next project symbolize?

I don’t know, I would like to reflect again on the thematic of tree and forest.

11) What would you like to create in the future? And What Are Your Future Projects?

I would like to work again on a sculpture in marble. And my next exhibition will be in Paris.

12) To finish, always ask the artists I meet … ask a question nobody ever asked (and you wanted to hear yourself) and answer …

Would you have liked to paint in another time of the history? Yes during the Renaissance but not as woman but as a man. And I would like also to know how artists will be painting in 100 years time. Because painting will never die

Valerie Honnart exhibited in China, Taiwan in Korea with the Philippe Staib Gallery, Belgium, France and Italy. He has exhibited in Rome in various public and private places, including Space Cerere. His latest work was presented at Villa Medici in January 2017. His works are part of private collections in Italy, China France.


Valerie Honnart : Au-dela show in Rome from 5 to 14 October

Institut Français Center Saint-Louis, at Largo Toniolo ,22 Rome

Opening hours: Tuesdays from 14 to 17 / Wednesday to Friday from 14.00 to 19.00 / Saturday from 10.00 to 13.00. Free opening.

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By Sveva Manfredi Zavaglia

She is an independent curator, art advisor and international marketing management consultant. For more than 20 years, he has been a cultural designer of events related to contemporary art with particular attention to unusual spaces and interactions with other arts.

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