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Fabien Vershaere

Paris is a place of both life and creativity.


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Fabien Vershaere

Follow the route up and down, up your desire.

Paris Ile-de-France as seen by...

Fabien Vershaere

Paris Ile-de-France as seen by... Fabien Verschaere

Paris is a place of both life and creativity.

Fabien Vershaere depicts a world of acid colours straight out of childhood: from New York to Hong Kong, his array of sprites, princesses and other fantasy figures has already travelled around the world.

You were born in Vincennes and studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. You live and work in the 18th arrondissement. How would you describe your personal relationship with Paris?

I was born in the suburbs and I lived for many years without ever coming into Paris. I discovered Paris at the same time as wanting to become an artist and my admission to the Ecole des Beaux Arts. It was from then on, and as a result of a series of meetings, that I began to explore the city. I met actor Jean Marais during a stint with a newspaper where I was working as a layout designer, and through him other people from a different generation to mine. That is how I met the artists Rolland Topor, Erik Dietman and César.

Which districts and places are most important to you?

I love Beaubourg, the Musée de l'Orangerie, the Rue Daguerre which intersects the Rue Roger, where César had his studio near the Place Denfert-Rochereau. I really like the area around Saint Germain des Prés: the Café Flore, the La Hune bookshop. Also the Marais and the Rue Sainte Anne with all its Japanese restaurants, between the Opéra and the Palais Royal. The city has a kind of unique musicality and perhaps the greatest appeal is that you can get to know it very quickly.

You exhibit widely around the world. You lived for a year in London, as well as in Amsterdam. But you chose to settle in Paris. Why is that?

I miss Paris whenever I’m abroad. It is an extraordinary city for its critical, satirical spirit...  and it is no coincidence that the French Revolution took place here! At the same time, Paris is still a benchmark in terms of good taste and fashion.

As an artist, do you feel that Paris is somewhere conducive to creativity?

We have focussed a lot on the dynamism of capitals such as Berlin, London and New York... the mythical lure of far-off places remains strong and it is true that in Paris, it often helps to have excelled somewhere else. I believe on the other hand that many things can be achieved here and I don’t think for one moment that there is a "right place" for creativity. It is not the place but the artist that creates the work. And artists nowadays tend to be nomadic and wander around the world. Personally I have chosen to be based in Paris, simply because it is a city where I feel comfortable.  

Which contemporary art locations do you frequent or would you choose to recommend?

I think that Paris is special above all for its diversity. There are equally interesting things to see at the Palais de Tokyo, the Plateau, Mac Val in Vitry, the Musée d'Art Moderne, the Musée d'Art Forain or the Musée Victor Hugo. It all depends on which exhibitions happen to be on. And contemporary art locations are not necessarily places where you go to see art but locations which often don’t bear any relation to culture, but where people from that scene meet up. I am thinking of the Palais de Tokyo in its early days, of nightclubs like Le Baron or the VIP Room, places where actors, singers, artists and all kinds of people mingle. These places are vital since culture is above all created through meetings and diversity.

How do you think Paris’s place on the international art scene will develop?

Paris has really regained its importance over the past few years, especially as a result of the opening of the Palais de Tokyo and its two founders, Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans, who are both very active on the international scene. "French Touch" house music has also played a major part - groups like Air and Daft Punk have greatly contributed to this cultural revival in Paris.

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