Interview

Interview with a French artist, Alain Bublex who is creating his art pieces in Hida

* Alain Bublex at FabCafe Hida   (C) Ania Martchenko 
 

Alain Bublex is staying at FabCafe Hida to make his art pieces for the exhibition "Digital Choc" in Tokyo hosted by Institute of France. He will exhibit his photography and hybrid furniture titled as "Things that look immovable can change with the passage of time" at AtsukoBarouh in Shibuya. (the exhibition starts Mar. 11 till Apr. 3.) 

He is going to produce 3 different furnitures with multiple functionality. Design was made in France and is aiming to produce hybrid furniture by incorporating the traditional joinery technique of Hida and merge with the different form, concept and functionality. Through those furnitures you may be able to see the process and background where they are made into shape.

Alain Bublex:  Contemporary artist. Born in Lyon in 1961. Graduated from Macon Art university and National industrial design school. After working in a car company as an industry designer, he made his first exhibition in Paris in 1992. 

 
We, as Hidakuma made an interview with him to ask what the impression about Hida before he comes and after staying here and what kind of creative idea he has got in his mind for future art work.
 
 
Hidakuma: 
Firstly, why did you choose to come to Hida? How did you know about Hida?
 
Alain:
I got to know about Hida through the Institute of France. I wrote a book about the future. "future does not exist" with a french philosopher, Elie During through which the organizer of the Institute of France invited me to propose a show at the Digital Choc.  
When I heard about Hida, I remembered that I passed by Hida Takayama when I visited during a trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa and Matsumoto. We got incredibly impressed by the beautiful architecture but with big regrets we had not time to stop. I like the winter season because it is good for architectural photography as you can see houses through trees which do not have any leaves on.  I especially like places where the snow falls and the air is fresh and transparent - in any case I always feel good in the mountains. 
 
I bought 5 books after knowing i will come to Hida. One is about the joinery techinque used in Hida, another is about a German architect writing about the Japanese architecture (Bruno Taut, Japanese House and Life, 1936). Since this book was a first publication about the Japanese architecture from a European point of view in the history, I thought it has got some inspiration for European like me. The 3rd book is written by a French researcher who wrote about the difference of the history, landscape, perception about the space between Japan and France (Augustin Berque, Le Sens de l’espace au Japon. Vivre, penser, bâtir, 2004) and also bought  "Le Vocabulaire de la spatialité japonaise, Philippe Bonin, Nishida Masatsugu & Inaga Shigemi, 2015". After reading those books, I got more precise image of what I will see and what kind of pictures I can take in Hida but I did not have any particular idea to collaborate with something unique in Hida except the one that I will make furnitures. 
 
(C) Alain Bublex
 
Hidakuma:
 What was your original image about Hida before coming?
 
Alain:
I thought it`s in the middle of nowhere and super far away from the urban life since I heard that Hida Furukawa is relatively tiny. In France, a tiny city is really small. 
I already knew how the Japanese architecture looks like and the existence of the master craftmen, so I was extremely interested in approaching to this knowledge. 
 
(C) Alain Bublex
 
Hidakuma:
Has your image changed now after spending more than 1 week?
 
Alain:
I was surprised to see small living area people here making in their own way to extend their house. it is interesting to see they adapt their technique which has been inherited from generation to generation to the place they want to make. It is natural in the existing environment. 
 
(C) Alain Bublex

I want to come back here again because I have several different ideas now. 
I want to make different models for furniture in collaborating with people here. i think it is impossible to obtain exactly what I want from the people i work with, so I rather enjoy the result which goes to the point where is made between us. In order to realize it, I need time to get close to and understand the people i work with, to feel the atmosphere by seeing houses, streets, little flowers and all those small things. We need to see same things at the same place and same time. 
 
*Alain discusses how to incorporate a  traditional joinery technique (Kumiki) into his furniture production with the carpenter, Mr. Tanaka 
 
* Alain discusses a with a furniture maker, Hida sangyo for a future possibility of collaboration   (C) Ania Martchenko 
 
* Alain try the comfortability of a chair designed by a famous Japanese designer, Kenya Hara   (C) Ania Martchenko 
 
 
For me, I like the process making things and I do not like seeing the result. It is like a journey. It is important to travel than arriving. I am happy to work on something by taking time with people. I always let the work incomplete and start something else before finishing. If the work is completed, the idea, thought and challenge will also finish. If the work is not complete, I can continue to think forever. 
 
 
(C) Ania Martchenko 
 
 
Hidakuma: 
Did you get any inspiration from Hida for your future works? 
 
Alain:
Certainly. We can utilize some intuition and thoughts we got in Hida for future. For example, the exterior of a house has many stuff such as pipes and necessity for the everyday life but the inside of the house is kept minimum which is totally different from European houses and the lifestyle and quite inspiring to me. 
(C) Alain Bublex
 
I have some ideas but no plans yet. Now is the time of absorbing things and processing in my mind. I took thousands of pictures and will look at those works when I come back to France and think a lot about ideas, I think about other furniture pieces, but also about photos, landscapes, exhibitions, maybe books..
 
 
Hidakuma: 
How do you think the attractiveness about Hida/ Hidakuma? 
 
Alain:
I like the fact that there is not many people visiting here. It is like a secret place and the lifestyle here is natural and authentic. it is not pretty, it is little bit rough but is real. It's not made to show-off, or preserve, but to be used. 
The town is tiny, so accessible to everywhere. People here are friendly and open and they seem happy to welcome us. It is enjoyable to be here. 
 
 
Hidakuma:
What opportunity/ challenge do you think lies ahead in Hida/ Hidakuma?  
 
Alain:
It is hard to know the future of a small town and the problem is same for everywhere in this world. The choice that HIdakuma made was interesting which is to make a joint with the traditional craftmenship. If the town becomes a touristic place,  the authenticity will be vanished. The idea is not preserving a thing in order to revitalize the city. 
I feel there will be a possibility of making the area into nice place in the future. FabCafe Hida is a place not to rest but rather to work while enjoying the scenery. It is interesting that Hidakuma can connect with people who are living here while bringing ones from around the world.
 
FabCafe Hida where now is under constuction  (C) Alain Bublex
 
Hidakuma:
Is there any idea you thought of or are thinking of doing in Hida in the future?
 
Alain:
I would like to try to organize something to make it possible and to work with people here. Although it is far from Paris, I would like to find a way to follow my thoughts and ideas to do my works. Whatever happens, there are already several images and plans resulted from my stay here which will appear in coming several exhibitions, starting with the one that opens in Tokyo in 3 weeks.
 
* Alain works on his photgraphy taken in Hida 
 

* One of the model furnitures which will be exhibited at Digital Choc 

 
 

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