Cyrielle Gulacsy is an artist paving the way between the sublime and the sensual. Her work picks apart the particles of wonderment into skilfully constructed pointillism, disperses them into space, then reassembles them as a banging human bod. It’s sexy and scientific, and to quote cultural icon, Zapp Branningan, “You’re obviously confused and aroused.”
It’s very rare to experience work where an artist has an interest in both the aesthetic, and the scientific; which really gives Cyrielle a unique edge in the art world. Her designs evoke senses so out-of-the-ordinary that you’re left wanting to more: to explore every perspective of the multi-dimensional platonic solid that is Cyrielle. Her works tangible originality is a result of a personality which refuses to obey the tropes of a modern artist, and when she talks about her work, a new perspective emerges. At Moosey Art, to celebrate the release of her upcoming print run, we caught up with Cyrielle, and discovered the voice of a truly engaging artist.
Stippling is a very historic, and time-consuming technique. Is this process something that offers you a form of meditation, a space to access your own thoughts?
Yes, there is undoubtedly a meditative dimension in my practice of pointillism. Regarding the process, this technique brings me something really satisfying and exciting, especially in the way the drawing takes shape little by little. It makes me keep up even if it takes a lot of time: some of my drawings can take several weeks or months to achieve. The outside world is very noisy, in a hurry and saturated with images. Drawing allows me to isolate myself and take my time, my rhythm back. My mind is quite disorganized most of the time, drawing - especially pointillism - helps me to see more clearly, to reconstruct the puzzle. It is also in these almost meditative moments that new ideas come up. But in the end, I think pointillism is much more than a technique. It is both the form and the substance of my artistic research. It is a way of apprehending and transposing the reality of the physical world, consisting of an infinity of particles separated by space. In my opinion, form and substance must be inseparable to constitute a work of art. To give you an example, I am currently working on visible light, which is both a wave phenomenon (wavelength) and a corpuscular phenomenon (photons). The techniques I use and the style I develop are an expression of the concept of « wave-particle duality ».
“The outside world is very noisy, in a hurry and saturated with images. Drawing allows me to isolate myself and take my time, my rhythm back.”
Could you tell me a little about your decision to produce work in black and white?
I started drawing in black and white in a rather instinctive way, as a sort of learning step, a necessary step. Looking back, I think it was a way of focusing on the subject of my drawings. Then it became an aesthetic choice, I like the ambiguity of chiaroscuro, the expressive charge of black and white. It allows me to sculpt the light and volumes in a more graphic way. From a technical point of view, the ink and the graphite are two medias that interest me particularly in terms of rendering and texture. I started painting in color quite recently. A new dimension is opening up to me.
Your works, even when surreal, have a clean clarity to them. Do you think drawing helps focus your mind, and this sense of clarity expands past the page for you as an artist?
It's hard to describe what's going on in my head when I'm working. I go through long periods of reflection, suddenly I see something, and I go to work to catch this idea or image. Then I’m in a process that is both mechanical and instinctive, everything is clear, I know exactly what to do. What interests me the most, I believe, is the invisible. I draw to capture, represent or crystallize something elusive, imperceptible.
On the subject of thoughts and the mind, your work really seems to explore how people think. Would you be able to tell me what aspects of human thought and expression interest you in your work?
I think it's the creative dimension of our mind, our brain, that really interests me. Beyond our ability to store information and analyse it, we all have an ability to imagine, to create new things. At every moment of life, we fantasize, we hope, we fear things. This reverie is common to all human beings but very few of them share it. In my work I try to provoke this reverie and this creative capacity in the viewer through my drawings.
How do you feel you try to represent the human experience on paper?
I do not claim to "represent the human experience", what interests me is rather to create an experience, surprise and arouse a questioning in the viewer. About our place in the universe for example. My work has an aspect of subjectivity because it is the result of my own experience. However, my approach is evolving and this part of subjectivity tends to fade in favour of that of the viewer. I try to compose images that are both singular to attract the attention of the viewer and open enough to welcome his point of view and his interpretation. It's already very ambitious and I think I'm still wide off the mark. I am only at the beginning of my research and I am aware that the road is long. I would probably make many detours before I can create the human experience I have in mind. And nothing is definitive, what I say today, I would refute tomorrow, maybe.
“I try to compose images that are both singular to attract the attention of the viewer and open enough to welcome his point of view and his interpretation.”
Part of your work features eroticism; Why do you give so much emphasis to sexuality in your work ?
In reality, the erotic drawings that I have made represent only a small part of my work, and sexuality is not so much the subject as a medium for evoking memory, the unconscious, and dreams. How memories can transform, become an obsession and alter with time or idealize reality. It's kind of a psychoanalysis upside down. What interests me is not how the unconscious influences our behaviour in reality but how reality influences the unconscious and our imagination.
Do you feel that the art industry represents the female body in a way that is positive for female audiences?
Since the twentieth century, artists have shaken the codes of representation of the female body and today there are more and more women artists who open the debate about it and offer a new vision of the female body. But I think there is as much way of representing women in art as there are artists to do it. We can’t stop at a single representation, we are not talking here about advertising or fashion, today there is not as much standard of beauty or criteria of representation of the body in the art, everything is possible.
Is there an experience you have had that you feel really affected the course of your life, especially as an artist?
One day I came across Stephen Hawking's book « A Brief History of Time ». I opened it and that was it! I went home at full speed and devoured it. It was a revelation: someone had put words on vague intuitions and confused thoughts. I think that there are two types of works of art: those that disconnect us from the world and put an end to the debate and those that on the contrary open the field of possibilities, increase our curiosity and invite us to go look at the world more closely. This book made that effect on me. I saw the world around me in a different light. For the first time, I wanted to share something. It totally changed the way I drew, and what I drew.
Your work also combines meticulous tricks of geometry which create unnerving and surreal effects. Is this effortless-seeming grasp of geometry something which comes naturally to you?
I like geometry in general, but it all depends on the subject. In “Nude”, for example, the space I represent is an imaginary space in which reality, conscious and unconscious mingle. This space is essentially carved by shadow and light. In the series “The Big Crush”, space is materialized by a geometry that borrows from the representations of space-time as described by Einstein's general relativity. Space-time become a mental space, shaped not by gravity, but by human interactions.
You’ve mentioned elsewhere that your interest in quantum physics, astrophysics and cosmology has opened your mind up. I wonder if you could tell me a little more about how this manifests in your work?
I think that my interest in science comes from my fascination with the invisible, that I mentioned earlier. Quantum mechanics for the infinitely small, astrophysics and cosmology for the infinitely big. I’m a frequent reader of the scientific press. The slightest discovery provokes in me a sensation of euphoria and wonder. All of this shapes my vision of the world and inevitably influences my work. The world of the infinitely small interests me particularly. The equations of quantum mechanics that describe it reflect a reality totally different from the one we observe everyday. It’s an absurd and illogical world, very difficult to imagine and therefore to grasp. It is very inspiring for me as an artist because all the images that spring in my mind seem totally new, because without equivalent in the visible world.
Finally, what are you interested in currently and what are your future projects?
Since my first trip to California, I’m fascinated by the light. It sounds like a commonplace but it's true. Cities are lying on the edge of the ocean or at the edge of the desert. Wherever you are, you are surrounded by a huge dome of light. When the colour of the sky changes and turns red, you’re immersed in this colour and it makes an incredible effect. It's a feeling impossible to express with words, trying to recreate it is my way of sharing it. I started studying the solar spectrum, how light changes during the day depending on its interaction with the atmosphere. I’m very excited by this project because it is the first time that I will show a work in colour. Then I began to observe the sun itself and by extension the other stars close to us. It is also a research on the origin of humanity. The exhibition will be held at the Show Gallery in Los Angeles in September 2018.
Two new prints from Gulacsy have been newly released with Moosey Art and are currently available for purchase. Please click the link below for more info.