Interview with Hélène Delprat, the Artist with the first Digital Catalogue Raisonné anchored on the blockchain
Hélène Delprat © Philippe Bonan
« The digital catalogue raisonné is a way to make links between works and to show where they come from »
In the life of an artist, a catalogue raisonné is an event, as if you were published in the Pléiade...
The important thing for me is what happens day after day in my studio. But it is also the understanding of my work, today and tomorrow. When I was thirty years old, the Maeght gallery offered me to do a monograph, I refused because I was afraid that it would push me towards the grave.
Today, I feel the need to give coherence to my work. The catalogue raisonné, obviously flattering, offers above all the opportunity to look back on forty years of films, paintings, photos and drawings.
Thanks to the blockchain anchor, no one will be able to amputate your work, or add to it, either during your lifetime or after. Does this reassure you?
I would probably like to know that my work deserves the attention of a great forger! But while waiting for such a big name to get serious about it, I tell myself that I am not the worst person to give a reading to all this. The digital catalogue raisonné is a way to make links between works and to show where they come from.
Have you decided to catalogue all your works, or only, to use your words, those you don't "hate"?
The catalogue raisonné is a collective work. It will be the fruit of in-depth exchanges with Christophe Gaillard, who carries the gallery's project with his team. On a personal level, my favourite things are my films, but in this catalogue all my work will be brought together. The interest is the exhaustiveness that allows us to cover all the periods. Not everything is equally exciting, but what is exciting is the whole.
Not everything is equally exciting, but what is exciting is the whole.
To what new use as an artist could the digital tool lend itself, in your opinion?
I dream of showing people around behind the scenes. Going back to the early years, especially my stay at the Villa Medici in Rome, is first of all a pleasure, to be 20 years old again! Looking back on the period during which I curled up in my shell, compared to what followed, is more trying. That said, this look in the rear-view mirror has the merit of bringing out, I believe, a coherence in the contradictions.
From the digital catalogue raisonné, I imagine associating hypertext links to each referenced piece. In such a painting, such a motif comes from such an old work of art that had marked me, and is still found elsewhere; such a subject was inspired by a news item discovered in an article that I have kept.
This whole body of work, reported accurately and properly, would help researchers, institutions or collectors to understand my approach.
Hélène Delprat (born 1957) lives and works in Paris. She has been teaching drawing at the Beaux-Arts de Paris since 2014 and has been a studio head since October 2019. She was a resident at the prestigious Villa Medici in Rome from 1982 to 1984. In the last 5 years, Delprat has had a solo exhibition at carlier I gebauer gallery, Berlin (DE) - September 2018; Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris (FR) - September 2017; Musée des Beaux Arts de Caen (FR) - March 2018, La maison rouge, Paris (FR) - June 2017. She also participated in the group exhibition "Mask" at Kunsthaus Aargauer,Aarau (CH) - August 2019. Her work has already been exhibited, among others, at the Gustave Moreau Museum, the Jeu de Paume or the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris, for the Hors Pistes Festival.