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ARTISTS / Interview with Claude Viallat

I am originally from Aubais. In Aubais, there are Camargue races, where we run bulls without engoulage, during a festival of new bulls. It is currently one of the last places where there is a plan. It is a small arena with theaters without a perimeter and without a counter track, that is, the theaters are directly on the arena and the raseteurs jump on the theaters.

When I was young, I used to go raset bulls in Aigues-Vives, Congénies, Calvisson and in the villages around Aubais. At the time, I didn't even know I would be painting. Often I was the first raseteur. When the bull came in, I would do a raset so as not to disturb the others and at the same time to please myself. Mostly, I would try to pull the bull behind me and get the barrier shot. When the bull follows you close enough that he jumps behind you and you get away with it.

I went for the pleasure of running, of facing the danger, not at all with a concern of removing the cockade or trying to get trophies.

The bull is for me, a questioning, a mythical figure, a way of facing an excess.

The first two paintings were bullfights and then I continued to do bulls, when I have a free moment, if I have to do a figurative drawing it is rather bulls that I do.

The bullfighting pieces I don't sell.

I have given some away but I keep them in principle, it is a bit of a reserved area, that I show occasionally, while painting is a daily questioning.

I never know what I am going to do when I start painting.

Every day it is the support that will give me the result, the way it will take the color and restore it, it is not at all a way of dominating the color, it is on the contrary to let it go and take it as it is given.

My supports are lids of boxes, supports of recovery, the choice is made with the shape of the material, with the quality, the sensuality and the color of wood, the accidents which it carries with it or which constitute it. I try as much as possible to vary the technique always in the most obvious and the simplest way, the most immediate without wanting to show mastery or knowledge, the things are knotted between them and put in relation, it is this dialogue of the objects between them which, for me, is important.

“ It is very often driftwood? ”

It's what they bring to me, now it's what they bring to me, before it was driftwood because I used to go to the Rhone to get it, now I can't go there anymore, I have trouble getting it.

" Ah, that's a good request! "

She was explicit (laughs).

Please, if you have any questions don't hesitate, about what you saw you can take the pictures you want.

This interview is available on video.

Photos credits Mister Yves Martin.


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