UN ARTISTE BOHÈME: NICOLAS LEFEBVRE

by Yorgos Archimandritis

 

Photos by: Thalis Pitoulis, Giannis Vastardis

Styling: Aristides Zois (d-tales)

Grooming: Dimitra Altani (d-tales)

 

He lives between Paris and Saint-Tropez.  Center of his creative universe, the cross of life, the figure of mother goddess.  With the opportunity of his exhibit at the Philippe & Lucas Ratton Gallery, on the left bank of the iconic neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Près in the of the City of Lights, artist Nicolas Lefebvre reveals his sources of inspiration and speaks to us about beauty, challenge, love and the art of life.


Nicolas Lefebvre, artifacts are the base of your artistic language. How did your relationship with these begin?

It came naturally.  I was fortunate enough to have travelled with my parents from a very young age, and on one of our trips to Africa, I discovered the magic of the local handmade artifacts.  Since then, on birthdays and holidays, I never asked for a toy or something that a ten-year-old child would want but would ask for Berber handicrafts. These artifacts have now become the tools for my art.  They speak to me. They show me what I need to do, how to find new combinations and ways for them to unite. Because it’s about union, a connection between art and travel, the two poles amongst which my life moves.

 

Which trips were of specific importance to you?

Several sacred trips, where I discovered countries such as India, with all its wonders, colors, scents, flowers, celebrations, temples and graceful people.  It was in Africa where I experienced wonderful gatherings, with entire villages celebrating around a fire, very simple and natural. In Egypt as well, Morocco and the desert.  I had the fortune to go trekking in the desert when I was very young, and was enchanted by the starry sky, the atmosphere of the settlements, and the long lines of camels in the sand, as far as the eye could see.  My two great loves, the desert on the one hand and the sea on the other. Within these you can see everything that exists 360 degrees around you and can truly feel free. I found this sense of freedom later in Greece, the cradle of our world, which I believe is one of the most beautiful corners of Europe.  I found freedom in her beautiful seas and islands, Sifnos, Paros, Patmos, Hydra & Spetses, the Peloponnese and Athens. Between the North and the South, Greece, with its natural beauty and rich history is in exactly the right place. Because as we move towards the North, relationships between people become more distant and frigid.  Whereas in the South, there exists a simplicity that makes it beautiful. There, the relationships between people still has meaning.

Suede shirt, BOHO VINTAGE CLOTHING.

Jewellery, Salvatore Ferragamo (Salvatore Ferragamo Boutique).

MANCODE Panama hat, Paja Toquilla (www.mancodeshop.com)

INCA
photo by Alexandra Mocanu

How do you see these relationships evolving in the digital age?

Social media and the internet make communication between us faster and more direct.  In a way, it is a succession to written correspondence that has now been forgotten.  Thanks to media, we have access to the whole world.  Besides, those who do not have the ability to express or access information can now participate and learn about what is going on in the world.  When used properly, these outlets allow us to have contact with each other in order to generate the proper information. On the other hand, we should not neglect real human relationships by constantly being engaged in the parallel world of Facebook or Instagram, exposing the details of our everyday lives that no one really cares to know.  Let’s keep our personal lives for our friends, family and a small circle of people. I have a profile on Instagram that allows me to communicate with many people throughout the world, using it to show my work and to discover new things. Because an artist needs to be aware of what’s happening around him.

LA MAORI

photo by Alexandra Mocanu

Do you think that art has a political dimension?

In a general sense of the term, yes.  Because artists are the witnesses of their era and can convey messages through their works without words.  They have an obligation to criticise the shortcomings of our society, but in such a way that the message can be conveyed smoothly.   Of course, in some cases you may be called to create something shocking in order to awaken the conscience, but with respect to the boundaries of others.  You must provoke through positive expression and not through images of terror for example. You can very well convey a story about something beautiful, but this today has been lost.   All one needs to do is to watch the violence that is being produced today by the film industry. So, I believe that we must return to this beauty, because there is way too much suffering in this world.  We must cultivate this need for ethical reasons. I use Thechno Therapy with children from Iraq and Syria and find that they are very sensitive and responsive to beauty and harmony. This is much needed, because they have lived through war and have seen their parents die.   When you offer them a moment of kindness, it forever remains etched in their minds.

MANCODE Panama hat, Paja Toquilla (www.mancodeshop.com)

LA SOUDANAISE

photo by Alexandra Mocanu

And this relates to all forms of art…

Of course.  Literature for example, teaches us a lot and is an invitation to travel and dream.  There are many people who do not have the opportunity to travel but have experienced the world though reading.  Literature, like cinema teaches us other about other paths of life and allows for us to dream. Some of the movies I adore, like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Casablanca”, nurtures my love for countries of the Orient, or books such as “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse or “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry are precious narratives for humanity.  The little Prince speaks to roses, to the unseen, and to the magic he manages to create. He sees and speaks with his heart. It is important for one to preserve the childhood innocence of his soul, because everything makes sense through it. Publications or films such as “The Jungle Book” by Kipling, which I’m now reading again or flip through with my daughter, are like invitations to a dreamy world where everything is possible.  They help us to rediscover the art of life.

AGATHA

photo by Alexandra Mocanu

 

What does this art consist of?

For us to seek the essence, balance and serenity in all things.  When we are constantly unfulfilled and pursue things that are superficial and vain, life slips through our fingers.  The art of life is to enjoy things and moments that are priceless, that can’t be bought. At each stage of our journey, these can be different so we must learn to accept them.  Ageing is wonderful, because time becomes our friend and allows for us to gain knowledge. I have been told that we should try to maintain the same rhythm of breathing throughout our lives and believe that it’s true.  The same rhythm, the same vibration. So, if we leave this earth with the same tempo that we came into it and manage to maintain the inner rhythm of our childhood, then we will live a better life. People like Mandela for example, managed to preserve this peace and tranquility.  It’s something we owe ourselves. This is the only way we can materialize our dreams. If we have dreams of course…

What about love in all of this?

Love gives us wings.  It helps us go beyond our own capabilities and allows us as artists to create, even in situations of pain and sorrow.  The women I had the fortune to meet in my life were very important to me and helped nourished my art. I have been working on the cross of life and the mother Goddess for many years. This work expresses the sweetness, grace, kindness and generosity of women, they gave me a lot.  A woman is the magical goddess who gives us life and protects us. Because we as men are essentially children, and we must not forget this. We often act tough, but the woman, the mother, has a very important place in our lives. A man looks for a soul mate, a companion, whether male or female, to journey together with for life.  He seeks harmony and beauty through love. And beauty is not something that you can learn, it’s something you feel. It’s something involuntary and natural. And it acquires all its dimensions when it has meaning. Only then can one can perceive the world around us and express its wonderful story.


Gallery addresses:

 

Galerie Philippe Ratton

11 Bonaparte Street

75006-Paris

 

Galerie Lucas Ratton

33 Rue de Seine

75006-Paris

 

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