He‘s French, but do we still need to say that? The tricolor flag is already incorporated into his projects as well as a universality that made his work spread worldwide.
His father was an aeronautical engineer and the owner of an airline company. Would it be a misconception to imagine that the design came from there? It’s for sure a possibility, but above all of this, what is noticeable in his vision of design is: diversity, which is why we invited him to be part of this issue of Artnatic Magazine. Diversity, search for accessible materials, show the possibility of placing quality design for a large number of people. When he made the first project for CAFE COSTES in Paris, it definitely opened the door to a new concept. The generous shapes stood out and at the same time the care for details.
He is also a passionate defender of the environment and, for example, he collaborated with the eco responsible plant that manufactures the sandals IPANEMA, which uses only recyclable material in its confection. Just like in his project with the Volteis car in 2012, an electric car. We need to point out his great manner of never making objects or working on projects that are linked to weapons, tobacco, alcohol, oil and religion. Even if he could have made a lot of money from it. He neither has accepted nor will. We could not fail to mention the fact that he has received the Honor of the Arts and Letters and Knight of the Légion d’Honneur and that he is also the first Frenchman to be invited to TED (Technology, Entertainement & Design). Keeping his concerns about the environment, the SPHERE project of glasses frame, that brings together the technology and strength of the titanium 50% apple fiber has an incredible result! Light, beautiful and very resistant. An interesting phrase that we find in his works is “A design without humor is not human”. For him, what lacks humor is vulgar.
In the projects of 2020 this vision is very present, for example, in the project “Oh it rains! L’humor…” for B&B Italia billborad furniture that can be used in the garden or inside, mixing different horizons with Antonio Criterio and Naoto Fukasawa. At the Hotel La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich is like rock and roll dancing with the Queen of England! All of his projects have the STARCK brand, the big one, the texture, the “mise en scène”. Perhaps, it’s an incitement to travel, to TAKE OFF … on the wings of the planes that he saw in his father’s company. Is it? Anyway, here we will show you some of the projects that he himself sent to us. Success is a continuous jorney and we are already waiting for the next projects for 2021!
Where does the love for art begin? Where to start a conversation with a person “touch the tout”, who has a facility to change industry, change perspectives, go through an airline, go through accessories, mainly glasses maybe to see better … and change everything again to dedicate to art? In a more structured way, we can say that his career as artist started while he studied philosophy at Instituto Gens Educação e Cultura. Then he was a member of the board of TAM Linhas Areas. After, he was the represented of the TAG Heuer and Alain Mikli glasses in Brazil, partner of the Carol Optics chain. And then the conversation begins. Where does the love for art come from? It was always there, with a stylist mother the influence was present, even in a discreet way.
Colors and shapes lived in the imaginary and in the drawings of the artist, which keep up with him until these days. During this journey, a purchase that may also have had a bearing on the choices that guide his path: a painting from the great master Portinari, ”Boy With Sheep”. Many exhibitions were held, as the one in 2011 with a title that says a lot about the ideas he denotes in his works: “O Que Resta”. Textures, large volumes, colors, an action of time. About the exhibitions that have already been made, it was asked which the most marked was and the answer was immediate: “In 2016, ‘When Visual Orientation Is Not Enough’ in Miami”.
For the artist, it was an exhibition in which the space was appropriated in a very coherent way, like pieces placed in an attractive way following a script. Fuselage parts tell a story. They are no longer debris, they’ve become works. You can understand why this exhibition is so important for him. The large volumes and materials used in the imagination of those who look and give that desire to enter the scene together with a work, the notion of the weight of the works to become fragments of the same universe is lost. Without leaving this wide universe, where airplane parts populate here and there, despite finding many other materials in different forms, sometimes scrap, sometimes woven, always with the idea of composing a story.
In fact, I was not surprised to find out that the artist -who also has a library- acted and acts when possible in the literary area, either in incentive or in publicity. And the book: “A Força do Tridimensinal” condenses and talks about this particular universe of the artist.
The visual impact and the poetry he shows in his works, contrasts a little with the career of an extremely talented entrepreneur who puts all his potential to preserve and foster contemporary art, but not only, he also continues his collection started with a work by Portinari .
As for current projects, such as a mission to transform a factory located in Itu city, in the state of São Paulo, (state where the artist was born), where a textile factory used to exist, in a space that houses a collection from the Marcos Amaro Foundation with a predestined name – FAMA, this space will be opened as a hotel where there will also be rooms to receive artists. We look forward to seeing the next exhibition project or book or other adventure from the artist and what he will introduce us. After all, he has already shown that he knows how to handle the wings, colors and how he can impress us by every project he presents.
Renato started his career in photography in 1986 and since then, he has taken trips to portray the different forms of cultural expression of Brazilian ethnic groups.
The question that could not be missing was to know when you started thinking about being a photographer and why did you choose this profession? RS: Photography came naturally and when I came across the power of image, when I was 16 I said to myself: I am a photographer! At that age, the desire was so strong that photography already belonged to me and I belonged to it. There is no explanation for when these things happen. Photography boosted me up to have the life I Always dreamed of and continue dreaming about. It takes me to the forest, close to the animals and the indigenous peoples that have always fascinated me. For me, photographing is like breathing!
And seeing the pictures he has we get a good dose of fresh air. The photos convey magical moments. And why the indigenous world? RS: The identification with the indigenous universe comes from childhood and it was consolidated in the first contact with tribes in remote areas of Amazonas and also through the deep friendship that I keep with the sertanista Orlando Villas Bôas. Orlando told me stories that he lived from a magical world, about men and women living in contact with nature and in societies where the elderly and the children are respected.
When you see a photo, what catches your attention? I thought it was the details, but I was wrong. RS: The thing I observe more in a photo is not the details, but the set of information it brings. In other words, the power that this image has to tell a story. When I shoot, I get involved in the story that is happening in front of the lens. As if I were, in fact, part of that space-action. I look for lights, frames, drawings and movements. It’s not just clicking!
I think the presentation of the photos is very important! What support do you prefer: paper, canvas, multimedia projection? RS: To tell you the truth, all the supports are good, and are chosen depending on what it’ll be presented. The important thing is that both prints and multimedia presentations are well produced, I mean, with the technical rigor for an excellent impression. The same happens with projections. I don’t give up on the quality of all the material used in production. But I can also be positively surprised by some innovations. I found it fascinating to see one of my photographs reproduced by a graffiti artist in Portugal. I’ve had my works used by plastic artists and even as a source of inspiration for poems. As I said, the important thing for me is the strength of the image and the power it has to tell a story. More than that, messing with people, provoking emotions, making them smile or cry. Touching feelings hidden inside them.
As always when I talk to a photographer, I think about how he would like to be photographed. And with what kind of light … RS: That sounds a little fun to me, because I can’t imagine myself being the subject of the photography. But I like natural light because I like to compose from light, not the environment. The light drawing and creating the environment in its forms. Now I’m the one who asks : what about colors? Do they inspire? Can they be seen or do they need to be guessed? Light and shadows, colors, shapes, movement. Photographing is to understand what is being photographed almost instantly. Inspiration happens in many ways. Even in a dream or a passion. Inspiration is what moves you to reach your goals.
You have an incredible job with the indigenous people … I wonder if you see yourself as a Brazilian photographer or a universal photographer. That is, is there any boundary between seeing with Brazilian and neutral lenses? RS: I believe that borders are barriers created by the division of power. Living with the Indians, an important lesson taken was to understand that we should not own anything, we should be free as the wind. Borders are barriers to creativity. And I loathe it!
What about the photographers you admire or the one who gives you inspiration? RS: Ah… I really like the work of Ansel Adams, Pierre Verger, Maureen Bisilliat, Evandro Teixeira. W. Eugene Smith, Walter Firmo, Diane Aubus, Rogério Reis and many others. There are many different looks.
If you had to photograph a song, how would you do it? RS: This question is very interesting, and is is a focus that I always try reach. Actually, I do photography with the intention that viewers will also listen to music. The search for the perfect image: composition, rhythm, colors, shapes, feelings and everything we bring into the dark box.
Exhibitions and publications:
Renato Soares’ photographic work has already appeared in important exhibitions such as “O Último Kuarup” – Masp / 2006 and in the itinerant exhibition “A Última Joranda de Orlando Villas Bôas”, which toured 12 Brazilian capitals. His talent was also recognized in Paris in a press conference at the Palais de la Découvert. His first book was “Krahô, Os Filhos da Terra” (1996). And many others came, including “Pavilhão da Criatividade” (1999), “Sondagem na Alma do PovoM” – partnership with Maureen Bisilliat; “Mar de Minas” (2008), a portrait of the 34 municipalities surrounding Lago de Furnas; “Universo Amazônico” (2012, SP); and “Minas Além das Gerais” (2012, MG). Currently, he dedicates himself entirely to his project “Ameríndios do Brasil”, which seeks to rescue through photography the best of our ancestral culture. The work aims to create and build a large Brazilian ethnophotographic collection. He has not yet had an authorial exhibition abroad. Not because of a lack of opportunity, but because he preferred to dedicate those lastt 20 years creating a consistent work. Today, he believes that he can present his work in a more mature and full way. “At the moment I am preparing to go more often to visit the countries in Europe to show my work and the importance of the Indians in protecting the great Amazon rainforest and the planet itself”, he comments. The photography that Renato Soares makes brings in his discourse the beauty of humanity. He photographs the essence. It shows the most beautiful things about our humanity and ancestral culture. “It is like a mission. It is not to show the harshness of life. War photography did not end wars. Showing the suffering Indian will not take away his suffering. But perhaps, by showing the beauty and all the delicacy that exists in life, it will make people want to preserve it ”, he stresses.
I don’t know how to take photos, so I tried to build this interview like someone who makes embroidery. Renato sent me the images and the words and I lined them up. I can’t help saying that he also organizes workshops, debates, etc. Be sure to get in touch with him, you will be delighted. Like us here at Artnatic.
2006 was the year that I first visited Vienna. One of the places that impressed me most was in Kegelgasse, the Hundertwasserhaus. I looked at that building and there was a feeling of good energy (those colors, curves, order in disorder) it was very good. I never forgot that visit!
When we were talking about architecture for Artnatic, this suggestion came out, talking about the Hundertwasser world: a character who puts colors and dreams around the world.
Although he did not finish his studies in Fine Arts, he began to paint and sign his works using r the name Hundertwasser. He traveled to France, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia and perhaps those trips nourished the universe with even more colors. But later on, he also went to Japan, where he received an award, the Mainichi award. It was there that he started to use the name Friedensreich (Kingdom of Peace).
His universe and thoughts gave ideas to filmmakers who recorded a film about his life called “The Hundertwasser”, with Peter Schamoni and Regentag, from Ferry Radax.
In the 1970s, he went to New Zealand, long before the ideas that are now legion, he was already testing solar energy and water treatment by plants. He also used ceilings with plants to isolate, anything that would allow him to live in autarchy.
In French we would say that he was a “touche à tout”, he also collaborated by designing for posters, or stamps, he also redesigned the facade of the Rosenthal factory. And then he came to Hundertwasser in Vienna. Architectural projects in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, USA, Japan and New Zealand. And one of the projects he most dedicated himself to was Giardino Eden, in Venice, with a Palace.
In fact, no Project had an end for him. There were always several different ideas. No hierarchy, as if everything was important at that moment. He travelled from Venice to Germany to help with the occupation of Hainburger, a nature reserve to prevent the installation of a power station. He was always faithful to his ideals, he tore the prize he had received from the Austrian government.
In 1995, he published the Hundertwasser Bible, a 1688-page book with 30 collages and 50 works of art. Each cover is handmade and it is unique. And also the artistic design of the Latin-German school dictionary that is still used and in 100 different color versions.
As nothing with him was commonplace, until his “departure from the scene” was theatrical, he died returning to New Zealand aboard Queen Elizabeth 2. He did not leave a money inheritance, but he left an inheritance of unique works, which enchant and will still inspire for a long time.
If you’re in Vienna, I’m sure you’ll want to visit the Hundertwasserhaus. It is worth the visit. And it’s like saying “hi” to your designer: a boy who was born poor, worked the land, had no father, but never stopped dreaming. His work is like telling a story and he told beautiful stories.