Never Ending Stories
Pierre Courtin’s solo exhibition
‘… These drawings are the reflect of our today craziness, of the craziness of the war, of the craziness of peoples, it is about the huge capacity for human to destroy them self…’
Pierre Courtin’s solo exhibition ‘Never Ending Stories’, curated by Claudia Zini within the framework of the International Festival Sarajevo ‘Sarajevo Winter’ directed by Ibrahim Spahić, will present a series of around 100 drawings realized between 2004 and 2017, inspired by different newspapers’ headlines, books’ covers and famous cultural images in an dynamic interplay between image and text.
Since more than ten years Pierre Courtin has been working on two different series on drawings in a ‘non-stop’ process. The first series started in 2004; the second one was initiated the day after the ferocious assassination of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in January 2015. His practice is a visual echo to the continuous stream of everyday news and its final outcome constitutes a big composition resembling a personal press clipping with the most important news and hot topics dealing with politics and society. World tragic events and human tragedies are recorded, from WWI up until Trump’s election, often mixing news from the past with present-day news; this stratagem results very effective in underlining the absurdity of events happening over and over again in history. The drawings represent the artist’s personal reflection about the times in which we are living, particularly insisting on themes such as the return on nationalism in Europe, capitalism and consumerism, racism and religion, in general ‘the craziness of our time’. They will to question our close ‘relation-ship’ or addiction to mass media, representing at the same time the artist’s meditative reaction to everyday violence as it portraited on daily news. As Courtin explained, ‘when I say « meditative » it means that in this crazy world I am finding time to draw and to relax myself; those drawings are very long to do, when I draw these sentences and images become abstract. It is a sort of personal way to exorcise the brutality of our today world’.
Do you remember which what your first drawing was and which topic did you choose?
Yes, I perfectly remember. It was in 2004 at Francis Bueb’s private apartament in Sarajevo, a lot of books, posters and photographies were on the floor, looking like a natural composition… The very first drawing is actually the salon of Francis, full of books, photographies, dvd, magazines…
In your drawings there are very few images comparing to the number of newspaper’s titles, it seems like you find language to be more powerful than images, is it like that ?
Actually I see letters like pictures or images…
Is there any particular reason why you choose the blank and white?
I try to avoid to alter technical effect as much as I can, there is no « dégradé », it is purely black and white. This way, each drawing is easily reproducibile, somehow they are all made to develop, one day, into serigraphy.
You are creating a very personal and unique ‘press clipping’, combining different news that had an impact on you. I feel like your drawings are very much political oriented as somehow you are ‘manipulating’ the news when making your collages, do you have this impression ? Which message do you think you are passing on viewers?
Actually I really don’t know if there is a message… Almost every day I’m updating a very big collection of pictures found on internet and library. I’m following the news and it is quite obvious that events of today remind events of the past. I make these drawings by « association d’idée », one picture is calling the other, it also goes a lot by intuition. The most recent exemple could be that of today, I started a drawing mixing the news about the attack at the Berlin Christmas Market with a crazy picture of the murderer of the Russian ambassador, to which I added the book cover about Gavrilo Princip, the murder of the archiduc Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28th 1014, and then another newspaper talking about Aleppo.
Claudia Zini in conversation with Pierre Courtin, Sarajevo 2016
All drawings are made with black markers on white paper. The drawing project won the Fondation de France Award in 2005.