Meet Gabriel Folli: A French Artist Collaging Memories & Landscapes

Gabriel Folli is a young French artist, working in nearly every medium to interpret his memories and the world around him. He’s studied at the University of Amiens, near Paris since 2009 and has exhibited in Amiens, Abbeville and Bourges, France this year.

His collaged works are my favorite — layer upon layer of photographs and color that turn memories into dreams — or nightmares, depending on what frightens you. But his portfolio finds balance in representational paintings and drawings of landscapes. They hold shadowed horizons taken from photographs, and the sheets of skyline can be rearranged and randomized to create places that don’t exist.

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When did you first know you wanted to be an artist? What’s the first artwork you can remember ever creating?

I began to draw comic strips when I was 13 or 14 years old. I wanted to make it my job. During the high school I created many drawings and installations… Concerning the works I make today, the first work which had an influence on the others was a video called Open Door, created in 2012.


Where do you find the images for your collages? How do you piece them together?

Initially, I take photos of landscapes which make up the background of the collage. Then, the characters are members of my family, my friends…I find theses photos in my family’s archives, most of them are old photos that come from the house of my grandparents. I give them a second life.

For the construction of collages, I look for people who can correspond to the landscape, or not, and I play with the hot colors. In my work in general, there is a strong contrast between warm colors, light and the black of darkness. I want to create idealized and fantasized situations in my collages.


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Do you create your drawings from photographs? What about landscapes inspire you to depict them in so many different ways?

Yeah, my drawings are created from photographs. Photography (or video) is often the basis of my work. I use photos to create drawings, paintings, collages…

The photography is not really the purpose but a way. Every drawing corresponds to a memory, and all of theses drawings create a life, my life, in which the memories are mixed and modified with time. Drawings are put on a same horizon line, in a random choice, and form a unique landscape.


Who are a few of your art idols, and do you think they played a role in the formation of your own work?

A lot of artists are influence my work, it’s certain! I discover most of these artists on the Internet or in books, among whom many are not very well-known. I like the work of Monika Traikov, Fabienne Rivory, Sergey Larenkov, Lorna Simpson or Alexander Schellow, one of my favorite artists. Each of them has a different approach, and in my work, I try to find new techniques to realize my memories, and at the same time, destroy them.


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Which places most inspire you to create your landscape works?

I like the nature more than the city. A lot of my photographs are taken in the nature, in front of the sea or forest. I am interested by the night too. The night brings me a lot of contemplation, silence, solitude. Besides, I often create during the night.


What’s one of your favorite quotes about art?

« Je composerai jusqu’à la décomposition. » Serge Gainsbourg

In English : “I shall compose until the decomposition”

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For more from Gabriel, check out his Twitter, Tumblr and website.


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