Interview in the Paris studio of Jean Marie Zacchi
Free expression and originality: Dictature and écriture
V: What is the present situation of the French art world?
Zacchi: The Ministry of Culture does tend to stress the importance of contemporary paintings, but to encourage art, encouraging free expression comes first, so I think no attention should be paid to an artist’s style. Picasso, Chagall, and Buffet were all engaged in their own very different creative activities. They neither criticized nor competed with each other. There was not so much controversy between abstract and realistic paintings in the past.
V: You are the honorary president of Le Salon. Do you sometimes give advice on French cultural policy?
Zacchi: Of course, I sometimes offer advice to the Minister of Culture. I think that it is important for art to be expressed more freely, not forced into a pattern or standardized. It’s disappointing that some salons exhibit art works lacking dictature (the expression of an artist’s own unique vision). There is also a trend where despite young artists wanting to create art in their own style, they are encouraged to produce art in a different style. Paintings come from the heart, and each painter has their own artistic écriture (handwriting). Picasso, Chagall, and Buffet all had their own écriture; so, when we look at their pictures, we immediately know which is which. It is difficult to have this kind of originality.
V: You have many opportunities to give advice to French young artists. In Japan, you taught as a guest professor at the Sugino Gakuen Dressmaker. What do you think Japan should do to become a country which loves art more?
Zacchi: Japan is already a country that appreciates art. When an art museum holds an exhibition, you soon see a line of people waiting to get in; I think this clearly shows the Japanese people love art. Japan is a country that has more than one thousand years of art history; so, when I hold a solo show in Japan, I feel that the visitors are finding other aspects that are not limited to the price of a work. Since the country sets a high value on the work of artisans, I am pleased that my works are appreciated by Japanese people.
V: What should we do to make Karuizawa a more artistic town?
Zacchi: My last stay was short and I was unable to see very much. I’ll answer the question after I have seen more of the town this summer.
V: Yes, please! I am looking forward to your solo exhibition in the summer.
[Taken from 2012 Karuizawa Vignette Vol. 2]