Biographie - Sylvestre Anasse

Maison fondée en 1961
French Riviera

Born in 1961 in Antibes in southern France, Sylvestre Anasse is a self taught in photography.

Having grown up in the family workshop among the ceramics of his mother and the sculptures of his father, Sylvestre ANASSE born in 1961 in Antibes, works the earth and draws since childhood. Little inclined to studies, he forces himself to attend school, not as a student but as a simple visitor.

After devoting his schooling to comic books and customised pushbikes, he joins the Freinet school in Vence, where he develops a taste for printing and trout fishing. It is at this time that he
puts together the plans for different structures for kindergarten and utilitarian sculptures.

As a teenager, he integrates the Anasse workshop, opting to work on the potter’s wheel, and thus becomes part of the production process. Alternating between the mediums, he multiplies
the experiences in engaging in iron sculpture, tapestry and the occasional stone cutting, laying out the plans for his “future houses”. Besides this, he works on major modelling projects, dishes for the most part, whose original use is eroded over time to transform itself into tableaux; mainly landscapes, bestiaries and the female form.

The following years, living in in the countryside and using materials that are immediately available, he develops new forms, mostly organic, out of bark and fossilised bones: nature imposes itself in the work. And then an unconscious deconstruction process takes place, he moving toward a medium that he does not know: the first paintings see the day in 1978.

Insatiable and living isolated, his work is in part based on recovered media such as cardboard, wood, torn posters and tarpaulin. Untamed signs appear, the personal universe takes shape, technique is of little importance.

He goes straight to the essence and it is through the accidental and the imperfect that emancipation occurs. He starts his own workshop, creates his own language, a language he doesn’t know how to translate.

Having practiced photography sporadically since 1980 without ever having really felt the need to show the results to anyone, the female forms crop up again. The unicity of his work relies on the close relationship that he weaves between painting, photography and ceramics.

The majority of the first photographs were made using rudimentary or deficient devices: some of the films from this period were processed 25 years later. For the last ten years and up to this day, the intention is to work with different tools, but the concept remains the same as it was for the first experiments: cut-outs, negative overlays, addition of of inks, paints and materials, more or less enigmatic symbols or signs. It’s a confrontation of objects or disparate elements that follow one another in small groups in a coherent way.

In his universe, there are no specific themes, at least other than what happens to be close at hand, from heteroclite objects and their proximity, and also from what strongly looks like some sort of self-derision.

He’s a recluse who tells immobile stories of imaginary voyages peopled with atypical characters, of chance ephemeral encounters, of sensations experienced, of musical universe and stages that, thanks to his particular technique, will serve him to concoct weird combinations and strange connections. For all that, there is no question of morbid contexts.

Timeless, most of the pieces are characterised by a sense of connection; interlocked with each other they seem to stem from long loitering and idleness, suggesting that they are the reflection of some intimate world. There is a strange atmosphere, common to all his images that speaks of overlays, of strata, of interleaving of evocative images. It’s a sort of directory of memories, of silhouettes in full metamorphosis, of a presence between human and animal, illustrating with humour the objects and the memories of childhood whose origin some might date back perhaps to reproductions of scenes painted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Jerome Bosch that displayed on the walls of his bedroom when he was a child.

Today in his fifties, taking refuge in his den, he socialises little, not worrying about seducing with safe artwork, paying scant importance to the technical side of production, he “manufactures” objects and images without worrying much about conventions or espectability and still less about fashion, preferring to alternate materials rather than producing. Alone in his workshop he goes to what seems to be his own rhythm and often with the aid of summary tools. The inconvenience of these tools and place of work intensifies risk taking.

As far as he remembers, he has worked without realizing it, he has never decided in advance what he was going to do or “manufacture”. “Allusions to brushes”, “arranged photographs”, are some examples of what he has never been able to translate and to tell through words.


Magazine/Newspaper features:

-Squarebook,#1. UK Feb 2011.

-Calle 20, #59. Madrid Spain. June 2011.

-UFO Pictures, NYC. USA 2009.


Online features:

AREA. #02. EU. 2011.

Mental shoes. #020. USA.2011.

Square Magazine, #1.2. UK. 2010.

UFO Pictures, NYC. USA 2009.

Another view. Japan. 2009.