Six questions for
Justine Bougerol

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Justine Bougerol.

Artist Justine Bougerol
Lives in Brussels, Belgium

How do you describe your own art practice?

I am a visual artist, and also set designer for the Peeping Tom dance company (among others).
In my own practice, I create site specifics installations that are mostly conceived in relation to the exhibition spaces. I interrogate and manipulate the real and familiar space, by integrating an unresolved ambiguity, letting the spectator free to interpret what he sees according to his own experience.
While my point of departure is always in what constitutes our own reality, I transform spaces into a frontal scene, where a process of fragmentation, optical illusion and manipulation of perspectives so as to disorient our spatial and temporal landmarks. This shift appears thanks to the loss of scale, to evoke the infinitely large and the infinitely small.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

With my installations, I create stories of spaces and memories around the leitmotiv of the childhood house where the experience is confronted with the unconscious, where dream mixes with reality and the invisible to the visible. Memory is a recurring theme that I treat through the elaboration of inner and dreamlike landscapes. Nostalgia coexists there with the absurdity and the strangeness, specific to the places of our memories transformed by the subjectivity of each one. Organic elements (water, earth, fire, vegetation) play a major role in the development of these spaces, giving substance to the contemplation of the viewer. The boundaries between interior and exterior, empty and full space, enclosed and open space on the world, are always very fine to let the imagination of the viewer escape to a fantasized elsewhere.

What was your first experience with art?

My first experience with art was in the hallway of my childhood home: there was a small oil painting, signed by a grandfather and renowned painter from Alsace, Louis Pomey. I remember, at a very young age, that I often stood in front of it and stared at it for a long time, even touching the canvas, because I found the painting so realistic and so beautiful…

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

My childhood home is my main source of inspiration. I keep returning to it in my dreams or in my thoughts, because it is the starting point of my work. I lived there all my youth, and I had to leave it at the end of childhood, because we moved. So I left behind a whole imaginary world, that of childhood, as well as the ghosts of loved ones in my own family who had died there. This created in me a great nostalgia for this space of memory and mourning… This is why I return there very regularly to draw from it the mental and imaginary images which are the basis of my installations.

What do you need in order to create your work?

To create, I need peace and quiet space, my usual tools, an art studio and financial support to produce my installations. I also need my favorites podcast and books, to have inspirations and to stay open to the outside world without staying too much in my den…

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

I am a great admirer of Noémie Goudal’s work, and her creation presented at the Avignon Festival this year (in France), Anima, inspired me a lot.

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