Ines Longevial’s “Before the sun sinks low” was recently on view in the cavernous hall of Les Grandes Serres de Pantin just outside Paris. The solo show was presented by Ketabi Projects, and included new paintings by the artist, who is known for her figurative works full of vivid color, light, and intimacy.
WHITEWALL: What was the starting point for “Before the sun sinks low”?
WW: What was the inspiration behind the series “Magic Hour,” included in the show?
WW: What do images of frogs, butterflies, snails, and flowers represent for you in past paintings?
WW: What about similar motifs that appear in Pearls and Snakes?
IL: It’s the story of Charles Perrault’s “Fairies,” which is about two sisters: One is kindness and softness and the other is vulgar and vile. Pearls and diamonds end up coming out of the first one’s mouth while snakes and toads come out of the latter one’s. I thought it was interesting to discuss this duality of opposite forces which characterize us while not only showing the two sisters, but also two versions of myself.
WW: Is there a work in the show that was particularly challenging or satisfying for you to complete?
WW: Is there a piece you’d prefer to keep for yourself?
IL: Well, actually, Liquid flame! I hadn’t planned on showing it until the day before the show. But I find it indispensable and necessary to the whole. It brings up questions which the others answer.
WW: What was it like installing this new body of work in the unique setting of Les Grandes Serres de Pantin?
WW: How would you describe your relationship with color?
IL: I’d like to be colors, to incarnate them. That’s what makes me want to paint. Color is deeply free. In nature it’s independent from our decisions, and I find that fascinating.
WW: Can you tell us about your studio? What's a typical day like for you there?
IL: I paint at different locations, in different improvised or fixed studios, so there really isn’t a typical day. The only thing that doesn’t change is the comfort I organize around myself, my clothes, as comfortable as possible. I listen to audio books and to a lot of music. I particularly like sunny days, which bring me a golden light.
WW: How has the ongoing pandemic impacted your studio practice?
WW: Where do you begin with a painting?
IL: I often start with a part that I long for, and I absolutely have to finish it before I start the next part. I work in a descending order of preference.
WW: What kind of environment do you prefer while working? Is there natural light, is there music playing?
WW: What role does drawing play in your practice?
IL: I draw very often, and I try to make sure that my drawing is always linked to my painting. If the latter evolves, my drawing will too. It’s quite hard to stick to that, but it’s necessary. It’s very important and it allows you to express yourself as honestly and clearly as possible, and it’s something that's dear to me.
WW: You recently self-published a book you described as “like opening my secret box.”
What do you want to offer with this book?
IL: This book is a bit like a living object that can last over time and bear witness—like a logbook or a diary—to a moment. It says a lot about the way I work, about the thread of my work and my thinking. I am a rather modest person, and this book is full of unspoken or intimate things about my inspirations and feelings.