Interior landscapes by Marynn Letemplier

The multi-talented artist Marynn Letemplier is as much interested in transcribing everyday emotions as she is in motifs inherited from the past, such as calligraphy or vanities. Whether she draws, paints, sculpts, writes, or tattoos, her art defies the boundaries of mediums to let the impulses that come from her wanderings express themselves. By developing a real mythology and personal iconography, she translates through her works a sensitive look at the world which stops on each detail of her existence.

How did you get into drawing? What is your artistic background?
Contemplation has always been my favorite planet, especially as a child. I think you draw just by looking. You meet a landscape like you meet a person, a look, questions – then come the details that make the subject special and unique. So, drawing had always been like a person sitting next to me, coming, and going, and at one point when I was in my twenties it became omnipresent. I used it as an outlet, I had a lot to get out at the time. People started to know me through portraits of women, lots of faces and phrases. They were emotional status quos. And then a few years later I took a break. Melancholy had been my hobbyhorse in those years. I felt the need to find a more harmonious meaning for my art and for myself. Then I read Agnès Varda who said, “If we opened people’s eyes, we would find landscapes”. I looked, I wrote and I put a mirror in front of it as if to say “and you, what is there in your landscape? This question gives rhythm to my daily thoughts, and it is at this point that I started to make my “symbol library” as I like to call it. To make my landscapes, their mythologies, to put in image emotions in this universe.

What are your favourite tools? What are your working stages?
I often have ideas when I’m walking around, it’s like a vinyl record being turned on and I let it run. Sometimes I don’t have the final ideas and I put them in a drawer, often I forget them, and they come out later. I like to express my ideas with several techniques, because each technique has its richness and together, they are communicating vessels. One way I like to do this is when I’m walking on the beach, I find a pebble, I carve it into an ear, small or large depending on what I feel and the roughness of the pebble speaks for itself, then I take a photo of it looking for a light that speaks to me, and this photo I draw, I place the ear in a landscape and make it tell a story. Either it stays there, like an emotional momentum. Or what happens and I like it a lot, someone flashes on it and I tattoo it. Then something fantastic happens, from an initial emotion it becomes something else. And the discussion of meaning with this person fills my vessels with new water. And I go back to walking…

You develop an iconography that recalls mythology, the sacred… Where do you draw your inspiration?
Everyone has their own personal mythology, and it’s fascinating. The details are stories. The melody of footsteps on the stairs, the flowers in the garden, the first terror… I try to draw to immortalize, I think that’s it.

The theme of the fragment is also very present in your work. What does it mean to you?
From the idea that we are made of fragments, we leave some, we lose some, we scatter some, we offer some, we find some and we compose ourselves with them. The scent of a stranger in the street that makes me turn around is a fragment. The little old man who sings, not thinking he will be heard down my street, is a fragment. A book taken at random that you open at random and that tells you “I hear by intelligence what comes out of the heart straight away”. boom, it resonates. It’s Christian Bobin for sure. I keep this fragment. I see the human being as a collection of things, he has his face yes, and the shape of his hands and the way he walks. It’s these landscapes that captivate me.

You update writing and more particularly calligraphy in some of your works. What role does it play in your work? Would you say that you cultivate an aesthetic of the “old”?
Right on the money! Yes, the art of writing has always moved me. My grandparents’ letters with their sublime calligraphy for administrative letters. That “A” drawn with such elegance! Taking the time to write, to take the time to think. About the recipient, about the story, about the message, about that shy statement hidden between two anecdotes, about whether to write “see you soon”? “See you soon”? Do you write “I kiss you” or “goodbye”? My grandmother taught me the gothic script. I liked it instantly, it is beautiful and proud, its full and untied lines are contrasted, they have the shoulders and the sweetness to carry a multitude of stories. From tales to tombstones, from embroidered primers to the capital letters at the beginning of stories. In love with nostalgia, I put it in my pocket.

From drawing to tattooing, then to sculpture, how do you explain these shifts towards other ways of putting your ideas into shape?
Sometimes I would love the idea of dressing all in black, or all in blue all the time and wearing the same shoes. It would sometimes make everyday life easier by taking away a morning thought. I can’t do it and yet I’ve tried to see. Doing new things and trying new things drives me. And in this logic of communicating vessels, when I sculpt, I draw differently, and when I draw with a new eye my way of tattooing changes. A nice virtuous circle.

Any future projects?
I’m going to travel thanks to tattooing, I’m looking forward to meeting new things. I’m drawing a lot in my notebooks now, I’m going back to painting, I think. And I’d love to have a nice library of my pebble sculptures. A collector’s fervor. I’m also thinking of a solo show, I’m waiting to see when…

Instagram: @marynn_letemplier
© Marynn Letemplier