Excerpts from an interview with the artist during his exhibition « Paesaggio del viso » at the Villa Médicis in Rome(september-october 2006)
Federico Nicolao: Your representation of faces makes us experiment a kind of new attitude, far from the traditional descriptions one can find in painting: as if your portraits aimed at penetrating an « elsewhere » of your characters.
Jerome Lagarrigue: (…) Intimate architectures such as faces, developed on a very large scale, become a territory of encounters where I get in relation with a person seen as an architecture which I ignore myself. (…) On over-sized dimensions, the brush-strokes, a shade of tone, a move of spatula, tell us what is hidden behind what we saw a thousand times. In this spacial context, one can feel the parallel between the idea of a portrait and that of an architecture, as if it were the right direction to try and answer the dilemmas each painter is supposed to confront himself with. Like this old story of the fragile frontier between abstraction and figuration. Sometimes, as I observe the way a look, a smile, a thought or a nose appear, through brush strokes, with immense zones to fulfil, I assume that we try to give human figures to what does have any.
F.N.: Photography (in your process) is only a starting point…
J.L. : One thing which I particularly like is using printed materials or their equivalent on a computer screen in order to fragment the portraits I paint. Division and fragmentation of the model are an aspect which has always been worth of interest and new technologies seem to push always more in this direction: watching deep within the substance of the subject. Artists have always been motivated by a desire to free themselves from a necessity to stick to reality but, paradoxically since almost a century, new tools such as photography, cinema and satellite views allow the artist to broaden his vision and pursue his personal quest.