Featured Artist: Gille Monte Ruici
Next Wednesday (2 November) Q are bringing you The Charlatans live at the Roundhouse in London, with New Order DJs in support. Ahead of the full gig – which you can get tickets for now – we caught up with frontman Tim Burgess about their preparations for the show, including their plans to play some old favourites, some sage advice from a Clash legend and a lot more.
Tell me a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I live in France. I’m a self-taught handyman. I carry out sculptures starting from recycled matter and of waste. I invent and make unusual constructions. I work only with recovered metal parts. All the assemblies are done by screw or bolts. Metal is ideal for this kind of fixings. I like the matter, easy to work, with particular reflections, patinated, and which, pickled well, is harmonized easily. Why metal ? because more and more products of our daily life are made of plastic, these assemblages actually use objects from an earlier era that mark our memories.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Sorry ! I don’t understood your question ! My creative engine is really to make enjoy, to have fun and tell beautiful stories to people who come and discover my robots. There is a lot of humor in my creations. I kept a child’s soul
How has your practice changed over time?
The story begins with a simple flat key lock. I had found that the form lent itself well to becoming a small skull. So I sawed it, filed it and pierced it. Then, equipped with 2 rivets, the “skull” was created ! The latter is now my signature and my trademark. This key diversion, very simple to achieve, within reach of all, finally – and very symbolically – opened new doors, including that of being retained by you ! Later I made bigger death heads with kitchen lids, Why skulls made with cooking utensils? It is a raw material that is easy to find and work with. The symbolism of these skulls was for me a contemporary translation of the vanities of the seventeenth century often represented by skulls. The message was “remember that you will die” “ memeto mori” emphasizing the lightness of life in the face of the inevitability of death. In our time nothing has fundamentally changed except that death can also result from junk food hence these assemblages made from cooking utensils. And finally robots assemblage. I love assembling robots for their vintage appearance, and the terrible and invading look. With a little imagination, any element can fit into the assembly. Now I assemble robots with better finishes, sometimes I insert luminous leds inside.
What other art form art do you most identify with?
Each construction is a real challenge constantly renewed. Usually, I don’t have any preconceived idea, I work only with my visual instinct.
Often for the robots, I discover a box, a fire extinguisher, a toaster, a vacuum, an electric case… which is going to become the body, and after, I have to find what can make the members.
The shape of found equipment will be born, a trunk, a wild glance, a pair of arms… either the final vision is immediate, or the idea of the potential must matured and will emerge later on. And as pieces are unique, I can never reproduce a robot identically. The performance consists in creating, each time with absolutely different materials, different bots.
What’s your scariest experience?
When one night several robots being finishing in my workshop, have kidnapped me. As rancor they asked from my wife several liters of fat and WD 40 spray. I almost stayed there, because my wife is a little bit an excede of the many robots that are everywhere in the house ! She nevertheless responded to the request of the kidnappers and I was released !
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.
Beyond a beautiful inspiration, a beautiful encounter ! I was lucky enough to be contacted by maker faire. I discovered a universe of innovation, creativity of putting forward the do it yourself, enthusiasts, creators. And for two years now I am very proud to participate and to give my modest contribution to “the maker movement”. The aim is to give as many people as possible the “do it yourself” with new technologies, sustainable development, science… During this annual gathering in Paris, I was able to expose robots 2 times. I am convinced that the next technological revolution is being born in a gathering such as this one. And I meet robots … real ones that are not static like mines!
My first creations were first of all amusement and detourment. it was over the years that the practice improved and that forms were perfected that art had arrived. However, it is not art for art but above all the ability to compose a piece in harmony from disparate elements that have no relation to each other. I want to bring a different, playful, dreamlike look on these everyday objects.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
One year ago, I was contacted by a school french textbook editor. He asked me permission to publish photos of robots to illustrate a problem of geometry, mass calculation.I have accepted of course ! So now generations of child are bathed by my photos of robots. By this subliminal way, I condition my future buyers !!
What superpower would you have and why?
Since my early childhood, I have always tinkered with things, repaired structures, diverted objects … but also, recovered in the garbage ! I am therefore at the junction of the 2 universes… but I do not have the cape of superheros !
What is your dream project?
I don’t have an “artistic career plan”, for now I am feeding each day the surprises and encounters that my robots cause. Every day brings its share of good news and discoveries. I love talking with people I meet at exhibitions. We talk about the composition of the assemblages of their vision which is sometimes different from mine. Carpe Diem !
What role does art and the artist have in society?
I recover varied objects: various scrap, kitchen utensils, parts metal, tools of mechanics. I find my pieces in the street, at the waste disposal center, in second hands markets…My approach consists in giving them one second life by diverting them of their original vocation. My achievements are unique. It’s important to demonstrate that wastes destined for the garbage, can be recycled and become artistic objects.But the real artists are those, especially in developing countries, whose ingenuity of recycling waste is virtually erected in real know-how, for everyday use.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to and why.
Compare would be very pretentious, but I will quote a couple. I love the machines of Jean Tinguely, because it is an accumulation of small pieces perfectly adjusted which fit together and produce nothing, except a feather that stirs or a bell that sounds ! Always superb machines with mechanisms and gears that produce a playful and funny effect. And his wife Nicki de St Phalle, who became known by performances during which she shoots rifles on pockets of paint, splashing with colors of paintings-assemblages. But she also made few mechanical sculptures. For instance , fontaine Stravinsky in Paris is composed by sculptures all mechanized, black or colored and animated by jets of water.
Favourite or most inspirational place and why?
Garbage disposal ! for me it’s a feeric place, there is matter at will, all forms, nothing is foreseeable, each visit is a surprise because I discover new objects that call me. Every time I go there with enthusiasm and hope to find something original and unique. Finally my vice is neither expensive nor harmful to my health !
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Of course, on salons or exhibitions childs are very attracted by the robots. Generally they look for what are composed the characters, here a fire extinguisher, here a mixing table, here a gas meter …Systematically I explain to them that he must let their creative imagination express themselves. The assembly of a robot is not very complicated, they just have to go in the kitchen take the raw material: dishes, pans forks, boxes…Then using daddy drill, make a few holes and screw … it’s simple and when they present their masterpiece to Dad and Mom, the latter will be delighted with so much creativity !!!
Professionally, what’s your goal?
First MOMA, second Tate, and third Beaubourg 😉
What couldn’t you do without?
My workshop. It is a veritable bazaar, a pile of scrap metal, a mountain of pieces accumulated for years, and all this is in my cellar. Sometimes when I don’t find sleep, I go down to tinker a little ! My achievements are unique. It’s gratifying to be able to give a second life to objects intended to become waste. Metal and the sheet are ideal for this kind of fixings. I like the matter, easy to work, with particular reflections, patinated, and which, pickled well, is harmonized easily. In general, I don’t have any preconceived idea, I work only with “my visual instinct”. The final vision is immediate, or the idea of the potential must matured and will emerge later on. The—ed