Capturing the dilapidated grandeur of this XIXth century mansion in the outskirts of Toulouse was no small job here, all the more that when I set out to visit I did not expect such a productive cross-cultural scenario. The building evokes the stimulating perspectives of ancient Rome. Its symmetry and balance hit you right in the face. The imposing central staircase, flanked at its bottom by two sea monsters’ heads, overlooks a magnificent terraced park. With the heart-stopping vista of the abandoned park from the top of the steps, you would be ready to travel back in time…
Nay! Enter the realm of the well-traveled and well-read French artist François Malbreil. His work reflects his observation of today’s world and in his residency, time flies both in the past and in the moment. His topics vary from polar to tropical landscapes, from animals to nudes and still lives. Without ever overshadowing each other, his brilliant work and the strong identity markers of the premisses (high coffered ceilings, XIXth century wood carved paneling, arched windows adorned with wrought iron fan lights…) seem to have co-existed from the start in the most pacific way. They take you into their respective dreamlike worlds.
« Suspend your trek O Time! Suspend your flight
O favoring hours, and stay!
Let us pause, savoring the quick delight
That fills the dearest day. »
Excerpt from The Lake by: Alfonse de Lamartine (1790-1869)
François Malbreil is currently exhibiting in Tournefeuille, next to Toulouse, until late March. http://www.malbreil.com