Dialogue

Intervariactivity of Sève Favre

I put my work in the hands of the spectator, but I trust him/her in the hope that he/she will trust himself. And perhaps learning how to manage this very specific fear will enable him or her to better manage others.

Hello, dear Sève! We saw that you were introduced to art from a young age… but how did this happen? Who did influence you? 

Sève Favre. Shimmering Blue, 2016, mixed media on canvas, 100 cm x 120 cm

It was a very free introduction, we didn’t particularly go to art museums but as I had a real need to create from a very young age. I was really able to indulge in a variety of creative experiences. A family anecdote is that one day I plugged the sink with plaster. I was also introduced to Arno Stern’s pedagogy and his workshops for free painting expression. I still remember the «table-palette» very well, I must say that I have kept a great pleasure in working with colours.

What motivates you to create?

I think it’s not a motivation, it’s something more vital that is part of me completely. Creation is only the culmination of a long inner creation, a long mental process of reflection, visualisation, which leads me to the cerebral construction of the artwork before it takes physical form.

Sève Favre. Rising Embers, 2019, mixed media on canvas, 80 cm diameter

The interactive experiences that you provide through your artworks are truly amazing. Can you feel a motivation from the public related to these experiences?

Sève Favre. Des-Ordres IV, 2019, mixed media on canvas, 80 cm x 80 cm

Yes, there is a real motivation and also many questions that arise: for example about the notion of value (the value of my artistic gesture is questioned by the action of the spectator on the artwork), some are really afraid, some wonder about my own fear, the risks involved on both sides…Undoubtedly, I wish to see the spectators to overcome their fear of touching the work, of overcoming this barrier. So there is the fear of touching, but also the fear of damaging, the fear of making a mistake, the fear of dissolving, the fear of facing this loss.

And I share this fear because I put my work in the hands of the spectator, but I trust him/her in the hope that he/she will trust himself. And perhaps learning how to manage this very specific fear will enable him or her to better manage others. What I also observe is that the action of the body, the spectator has to invest himself physically to modify the work induces a greater concentration in front of the work, some lose the notion of time, they immerses himself in the work and looks for the variation, installation that they like the most…they are also very shocked when someone comes to modify what they have just done. I find all their reactions and questions very interesting and this is really what I try to provoke through my artworks.

Considering the pandemic times, how have these experiences been constructed online? Can you feel the same proximity from the public?

Indeed the pandemic has greatly affected the way we appreciate art and culture. Social networks, especially instagram in my case, have nevertheless allowed me to maintain a certain proximity with the people who follow my work. But also, as some of my artworks has interactive twins, I was able to highlight this part of my praсtice, notably by participating in the Cadaf Art Fair in June last year. However, the proximity is absolutely not the same, our concentration is shortened and the avalanche of digital proposals reinforces this even more.

Sève Favre. Geological
Osmosis Diptych, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 150 x 330 cm

Could you describe your work in one word?

Intervariactivity (The key words that support my concept is being in interaction (be together), variation (be different), activity (be active). My name for this experience is «intervariactivity».)

What is your recent work/new body of work? What is it about?

I always carry out several works in parallel, often very different ones. I have started a series of portraits of women writers, researching their text, their lives, in parallel with the creation of the work. It’s a rather long and slow process. When I work on the portraits, the work is even slower than usual. Indeed, as an important element of my practice is in the deconstruction of the image, when it comes to a portrait it always requires a greater commitment…indeed when the scissors are in action, it is a process with no possible turning back. Otherwise I am supposed to participate in several artist residencies this year, but I don’t know if this will happen because of Covid. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because during these residencies my goal is to devote myself to designing new installations because I will have enough space to do so.

Could you name one emerging artist or technique which works please you?

I really like the work and technique of Yuki Tawada, a Japanese photographer who works with burned photography. She has an absolutely personal style and her artworks are very intriguing.

You are also a curator. Do you usually curate your own exhibitions?

In the past, I have indeed curated some exhibitions for the Olsommer museum, which is a Swiss painter of the Art Nouveau movement. This is an activity that I stopped after the birth of my children. It had become difficult to combine too many different activities. On the other hand, it is obvious that this experience is very useful to me today, when I mount some of my exhibitions.

Art for art’s sake or art for people?

Both ! For me, the two are not contradictory.

Thank you, dear Sève for such a wonderful story!

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