A moment of eternity

CELEBRATED FRENCH artist Benoit Rondard couldn’t help becoming a painter, although he arrived at his passion tortuously.

By Vijay Dandige

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Published: Wed 13 Aug 2008, 12:23 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:50 PM

The idea of pursuing painting simmered in his heart for years, finally blossoming to full expression only when he came to Dubai some years back.

An innovative craftsman of contemporary figurative art, Rondard is exhibiting his work at the Basement Gallery at Al Quoz. The exhibition, titled ‘Sweet Eternity’ featuring 20 of his canvases rendered in acrylic, will run till August 23.

Art at heart

Son of an architect father and a dress designer mother, he was born in 1968 in Lyon, where he spent the first 20 years of his life revelling in the city’s culturally rich and artistic environment.

Then he moved to Nantes where he secured his engineering degree from‘Ecole Centrale de Nantes’ and went back to Lyon for a year to get his MBA. As a child and a teenager, he was an introvert.

“You know, actually I wanted to be an architect like my father, but I was not sure of my conviction and whether I could sustain the desire,” recalled Rondard on the eve of his exhibition.

“I also had a flair for drawing and was good in mathematics, which grabbed everybody’s including my parents’ attention. Finally I took the easy way out by listening to others and let myself drift down to the mathematics stream and became an engineer.”

The artist in him, however, was not dead. While doing his engineering he continued to sketch, almost unwittingly, all sorts of subjects: human faces, still-life, street scenes etc.

He had done the standard art classes in elementary and secondary school and had also taken art classes in a private institute for four years when he was 10. “So the idea of painting grew in me steadily over the years,” he said.

Some years back, he came to Dubai for business and was immediately overwhelmed by the city’s vibrant ethos and its bright lights shining out everywhere.

“It struck a chord deep down in my inner self,” he said. The city had the stunning impact of awakening his artistic aspiration that had lain dormant all these years.

“I roamed around the art galleries here as a distracted onlooker, hoping to get good visual treat of some uncompromising art. But I felt frustrated,” said the artist.

“But instead of going back to the reassuring contemplation of 20th century art books in search of some masterpieces, I felt an irrepressible desire to create myself what I could not get from others. My hyper-sensitivity fed by overflowing senses awakened my sleeping artistic talent, to create a very personal approach to art, yet one that communicated to everybody’s heart and soul.”

And that is precisely what Rondard’s art does. His art is about the celebration of life, the eternal dimension and the parallel world that can ultimately be achieved by the power of emotion— emotion that transcends space and time.

Thus his art reflects the mood of man and his tireless pursuit of the elusive essence of the moment. It is as if he identifies the eternity that is found in each moment and the exuberance of each moment. The need to capture the ‘here and now’ is paramount and is in constant flux, which gives his work an extraordinary consistency and spontaneity at the same time.

“I chose my particular method because I found it the best way to render emotions,” said the artist.

“Emotions, glimpses of beauty, essential moments of life, our sweet human eternity...

this is what I primarily try to convey through my art.” Rondard pointed out that he gets his inspiration to paint also from emotions.

“Sheer emotions... of sadness, nostalgia, or joy and elation, and especially emotions caused or incited by music,” he explained.

“Strolling along in crowded or empty places where I can contemplate or peep or look at the incredible diversity of human beings, of architecture, of nature, I get inspired.”

When asked whether he makes conscious decisions about what he is going to paint or whether he goes wherever his inspiration takes him, the Frenchman said, “I’d love to say that I master everything from the original idea down to the final protective varnish layer.

But no, I keep on bouncing from unknown areas to unconscious areas.”

Benoit Rondard may have found his passion for painting slowly over the years but he said, “For me now painting is almost compulsive, much like footballers who keep on kicking a ball.”



WHAT: Exhibition of Benoit Rondard’s paintings

WHEN: August 11-23

WHERE: Basement Art Gallery

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