Dominik Senaq: from Impressionism to Aboriginal Art



Interview with Dominik Senaq, a professional painter

Who are the Impressionist painters that have most influenced your work? 

The Impressionists were my main first inspiration for painting and drawing, especially Monet. I was impressed by his approach to drawing shapes and painting landscapes through a coloured prism until reaching abstraction. The Water Lilies de-structuring, associated with the painter’s loss of sight, is quite fascinating. 

Also, still life paintings from Manet and Cezanne's landscapes are, to my view, great references.

Some painters have declared that it is useless to draw portraits or landscapes since we have photography. What would you reply to them?  

I do not feel attracted by the hyperrealism that is often associated with photography. However, reaching an understanding of a landscape or a picture constitutes a discovery and contributes to the continuous exploration that is part of my work. I don’t believe photography has killed painting, rather it has enriched it with new possibilities! It is also an inexhaustible reservoir of progress and represents the acquisition of a certain freedom of experimentation. For example, look at the work of David Hockney.

Why are you fascinated by Australian Aboriginal art?  

Australian Aboriginal art is fascinating with its multiple connections to a dramatic history, suffering and a spectacular renaissance; art is a medium of expression necessary for the survival of the Aboriginal culture. It expresses a strong symbolic link with our collective unconscious (Jung), a hypnotic power leading to an understanding of the intimate and the sacred without dogmatism; it arouses joy and genuine pictorial experiences. You can simply observe the source of creativity expressed in large dynamic canvases created by men and women of everyday life.

Do you think it is arrogant and patronising to use the expression “primitive art” to describe Australian art?  

Qualifying Australian aboriginal art as "primitive" may seem awkward in this politically correct world. However, I do not see the word "primitive" here as a deprecatory term, I understand it as an unaltered word: the art dates back to the beginning of civilisation and is in perpetual evolution! It is not an art form disconnected from its substrate and its decorative aspect but art that is always alive and constantly changing.

Is there a spiritual dimension in your art?  

Art in the process of creation is in gestation towards what it will ultimately become, it is never simply decorative. Using our "desire to create" is a way of expressing our relationships with society and others. It invites dialogue and may be accepted or rejected, but will never leave people indifferent because it consists of sharing through contemplation of an image. So, yes, there is a spiritual dimension to my Art.

Is it easier to create an abstract painting rather than a nude for example?  

Both these two subjects have in common dynamics, balance, contrast, colours etc. Their implementation is different and the personality of the artist will always find a way to express itself.

Do you ever destroy a painting if you are not satisfied with it?  

I reuse the canvas if I am not satisfied with a work; it will serve as a foundation for a new piece. Thus, I have reused several canvases, on which several pictorial layers are overlapping, one layer fertilizing the next.

France is idealized as the country par excellence of culture and art. Does France deserve this reputation?  

France possesses a vast intellectual, moral and aesthetic heritage along with historical museums and collections which it must care for and show off to the rest of the world. French culture carries the weight of history on its shoulders! Furthermore Institutional Contemporary Art is presented far and wide, and many Art Foundations have emerged to see the light of day. That said, it is outrageous how art that deviates from an expected norm is less likely to get exposure.

Will the proponents of the accepted art of today be the forgotten of tomorrow?  

Let us pursue our path, face our challenges, share with the public, enrich our work, and work hard. And above all try not to discourage ourselves. In my life, I have come across great people and experienced beautiful moments and this proves to me that I am on the right path.

Where can we see your work?  

My work is mainly visible on the Internet. I also participate throughout the year in many exhibitions in the region of New Aquitaine, notably in Le Bassin d'Arcachon.

Why did you choose Bordeaux as your place of residence?  

I settled in Bordeaux very early in my life and it has proved to be a perfect place for creativity thanks to its proximity to the Ocean, pine forests, la douceur de vivre (the sweetness of life), its light and its people. I continued with my training in this city (Beaux Arts - Bordeaux Philomathic Society, artistic associations ...) Meeting great artists in the region is a constant blessing.

FΩRMIdea London, 10th October 2017. Interview translated from French by Pierre Scordia and Annie Solomons.

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