Take 5 with Anne Cecile Surga
French sculptor, Anne Cecile Surga uses marble as her artistic tool to communicate a deeply emotional and psychological narrative.
Take 5 with with Anne Cecile Surga:
Name and Art Style ~ Anne Cecile Surga. So far, I have not find the “style” of my art, in the sense that I do not feel like it belongs to a specific art movement. But if I have to describe it, I would say I am a post-figurative marble sculptor.
Hometown ~ Foix, Ariege in France. It is a little city in the middle of the Pyrenean Mountain, very close to the border with Spain.
Current residence ~ Foix, Ariege, even if I spend up to a few months each year in Northern Italy where I can work in the atelier of the marble sculptor Pablo Atchugarry.
Website ~ www.annececilesurga.com
Instagram ~ @acsurga
What inspires you? ~ Feelings.
Favourite medium/tool/program? ~ Marble obviously.
Last book your read? ~ “Paroles d’artiste” on Camille Claudel, it is a very short book with quotes by the artist. Before this one I read “Giacometti devant Bourdelle” by Colin Lemoine, where the relationship between the two sculptors is analyzed, from the moment Giacometti was Bourdelle’s student till his consecration as a master sculptor.
What does success mean to you? ~ Success to me as an artist has different components: first, to me, as long as I can wake up in the morning and I am able to sculpt, life is a total success. Then, the ability to make good artwork is personally satisfying and I consider it success too. Finally, recognition is success: I do not produce only for myself and the confrontation with the public is inevitable and allows me to grow. Recognition from fellow artists, the public, and institutions is important to me.
First artwork you sold and when? ~ The sculpture “When You’re not Here”, in 2015. It is a steatite sculpture I began when I was living in New York City in 2014 and finished in France in 2015. I carved it all with a hammer and chisel, it was a nice experience.
Netflix or Stan? ~ I do not have neither one or the other!
MAC or PC? ~ PC, never had the will or the need to make the transition.
Extrovert or Introvert? ~ It is a tough question. I think it depends on my mood and on the people I am with. I used to be such an extrovert up until my mid-twenties, always going out, organizing events and participating in all kind of associations. But then it changed, weirdly enough at the same time when I decided to become a professional artist. I now prefer calm and silence, I live in the forest with my sculptures and my cats and I can hardly see myself living in a city again. I need time to reflect, to think, to work and to breathe.
Dogs or Cats? ~ CATS! They are the love story of my life!
Radio or Spotify? ~ I listen to radio every day in my studio. There is this cultural radio channel in France that covers everything from visual arts to literature to music and theatre, and I just love it. Every day I learn new things in creation and I am amazed by the creativity of humanity in general. It is extremely inspiring to me.
One self-care tip? ~ To remember to take time away only for myself. It is easy to lose oneself in everyday life, errands, and others’ needs. I feel contaminated by an over-achieving mentality where I think I always have to do more and better. I am working on trying to stop the guilt; when I stop all activity to listen to a song on the radio, or when I just want to be with my cats, or when I simply sit in the garden to contemplate nature, I am not doing nothing, I am being.
Do you collect anything? ~ I do have something for books, that is for sure. Each time I go to a museum or to an exhibition I need to leave with at least one new book. It can be art theory, art history, biography or exhibition catalogue, but I will always find one. I always try to read as much as possible even if some books have been waiting by my bed for some months now. It kind of hurts me to have so many books and so little time, so I try to carve time away to make sure I can read them all.
Best quote you've heard recently? ~ “You are what you do when no one is watching”. I think it is a good reminder in a society where everyone feels or at least tries to be validated by the image they give on social media. Also, it reminds me that even if I am not a cool influencer, I am still a good, valuable and decent person.
Last thing that made you laugh out loud? ~ My sister imitating a dinosaur (she is just too good).
What was the last big risk you took that created opportunities you didn't expect? ~ I was very scared to change my artistic style, to go from clearly figurative sculpture to a subtler style. I was afraid to be rejected for doing so, and also to fail from a formal point of view. Marble is not an easy to find material, so I have to be quite sure if I decide to experiment on my blocs. Turned out that symbolizing the human body by a bloc of marble was a great innovation both intellectually and formally, which opened and keeps on opening more doors for me.
How do you define your journey so far? ~ Even if it never felt like an easy stroll, for all the energy invested in the journey, the highs and the lows, I think I am exactly where I should be. I am learning and I am growing, and these things take time. I am here for the long run and I am confident more things will be coming my way.
What's next? ~ For 2019 I have decided to be more focused, and to spend more time creating which means less time exhibiting. I have a big solo show in a museum in Spain coming in October 2019, and I will be presented in Art Lima in Peru. I am very happy with these new developments.