Laurent-Emmanuel BRIFFAUD

Biographical notes

Laurent-Emmanuel Briffaud

‘‘I wished to go and live up on high,
So compelling was the strength
And certitude which this tree
Put into its being."
Italo Calvino
‘‘Le Baron Perché" 1960

Born in 1970 at Fontenay-le-Comte in the Vendée region.
I studied architecture at Nantes University 1990 - 1993 and obtained the Diploma for Basic Architectural Studies.

I then joined the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Luminy near Marseille in 1993 to study Design.

In 1994, I moved to Plaisance, near Parma in Italy, where for five years I studied Conservation and Restoration of Objets d’Art, and studied in depth Marquetry and Italian Paintings.

Following three years of studies, I joined Renato Boni’s‘‘Il Restauro’ studio for restoration of religious works in Bologna. At the same time, I completed a finishing course in restoration and conservation of marquetry at Venice’s San Cervolo International Centre, where I met Patrick Poly, the restorer from Bruges in Belgium.

From December 1998 to 1999, I went to work with Poly to restore the parquet floors of Château de Laeken, the official Brussels residence of King Baudoin.

I then joined the "atelier Adragante" at Bois-Fort, Brussels, and it is here that I discovered technical innovation, on the one hand, and "placage scié au bois montant", on the other. At about this time, I started creating with those materials that I still use today.

The year 2000 saw my move to the South-East of France, to Tourrettes sur Loup, then to Vence.
Having had a studio workshop in the industrial sector of Carros, above Nice, and then in the "bubble houses" of Antti Lovag at Tourrettes, in 2003, I moved to Grasse and, with a colleague, founded "l'atelier au carré", which we transformed into a creative studio, living and exhibition space, somewhere people could meet, discuss, experiment… a partnership that was to last three years.

Concentrating more specifically on my own artworks, I took on new premises, still in Grasse, but this time in the APR or "Atelier de la Recherche Patiente" the former Camilli-Albert and Laloue perfume factory, Avenue Sainte Lorette.
Today my professional life is spent between Grasse and Fréjus, where I also have a sizeable workshop.

My work ethic
I always strive to be near things of beauty.
I measure the relativity of the spoken word, the thought and the deed.
I perceive something sacred in Nature, and have faith in the strength of trees.
I yearn for a return to poetry by all possible means, by it’s practice, by word, image, through music and personal investment.

The sculptures
I savour the structure of trees and especially to observe them in winter when their outlines stand out sombrely against the luminous sky. I make numerous sketches, details, signs, which I scale up or down for sculptures that underline the tree and its variable geometry, its structure and its history. These are my tree signs.

Materials utilised :
cardboard, various wood essences, steel, oxidised steel, cement and concrete.

The paintings
So as to record the different creative ‘passages in my life’, I coat thinsheets of wood with black or white bodycolour laid onto thick paper. Closely related to Japanese culture, these paintings represent landscape surfaces like ‘ estampes ’. They are often under glass so that the reflections play a part in the overall composition. These are my "empreintes".

Materials used 

sheets of wood, gouache, paper, steel, cement, glass.

Having trained professionally in marquetry and its restoration, I re-use and re-invent creations with this technique. These are thus two-dimensional tableaux using thin layers of contemporary marquetry that I call "slices of life". A juxtaposition of this vegetal memory Upon the industrial universe that characterises our environment. These are my "landscapes or compositions".

Materials used :
Sheets of wood, steel, oxidised steel, rubber mousse, smooth neoprene and grooved neporene, concrete, acrylic paint, paper, wood, ciment, glass.

Paintings, installations and sculptures
My work here concerns the mass and weight of objects, their transformation and how the eye can be deceived by movement. Weight is defined by a vertical force and weight, to me, is a scientific and artistic value to be explored in all its facets, balance, imbalance, weight, weightlessness, movement and the direction of this force, and how it can be manipulated, distorted and perceived.
These are "the feuilles".

Materials used :
Steel, wood, rubber, cement, paper, canvas, acrylic paper.

The tableaux - sculptures
These are close to "Land Art" in the sense that I work on them from Nature outwards . Notwithstanding, I always exhibit them indoors as a reminder of the tree forever uprooted’. I look for trees that are dying or dead, and together with their leaves and the ash I create from burning their branches etc, these are positioned within two sheets of glass. For this, I use the three principal Mediterranean species, oak, olive and Parasol Pine. They are thus become my "accumulations".

Materials used 
Leaves, ash, double glazing and untreated steel.

Var Matin october the 3rd 2011
Var Matin october the 22nd 2011

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