Emmanuel Fillot

Born in 1952 in Vincennes, lives and works in the Parisian region

Another Shore in Winter, Mistily White Paris, January 1996

Emmanuel Fillot works with the traces and the cadenced tempos of landscapes. His works – assemblages of driftwood, stones, shells, glass, Plexiglas® and reworked nautical charts – capture a moment in time, an encounter with a site, a geography linking macrocosm with microcosm.

Each sculpture is the memory of a state of mind, the metaphor and materialization of a dream. Each contains the wind, sea, shore, and his vision of nature.

For Emmanuel Fillot, a member of Geopoetics, the movement founded by Kenneth White, nature and culture are inexorably bound together. That’s why the natural elements which form the basic framework of his works are joined by nautical char ts: a memor y of the place where they were gathered, a visual topography, an alliance between the hand of man and the power of ebb and flow.

Lélia Mordoch

Diverse – Paris, February 2001

Emmanuel Fillot hacks out pieces of the Normandy cliffs in the Pays de Caux, France. Transparency on a background of white chalk, the flight of a seagull disappearing into the mist… he captures a momentary glimpse in his sculptures, transforming the anecdotal into the essential.

Another cut-out, another cliff, another contrast: red laterite against a background of black rocks, with the colors and density of the Sahel. Fillot suddenly transports us into the heart of Africa. His works become poetic instruments, spatial adjectives that reveal the presence of entities in the world.

As Kenneth White emphasizes, Fillot “listens to the world”. He links receptacles fashioned by the anonymous hands of African women to stones that recall the horizon on the desert borderlands. Bowls emerge out of the stones, containers from another culture, suspended between bonds of straw and cane forming a bow drawn tight as if to delimit the landscapes of the journey recounted in “Diverse”, the title he chose for this exhibition; an allusion to the other, elsewhere, and chance encounters.

In our docile countries, the only horizons we know are those of shorelines. In the Sahel, Fillot discovered landscapes that the hand of man had not yet tamed, and where he lived in harmony. Fillot moved from the lightness of waves to the density of the desert fringes where, as Tatlin, whom he readily cites, could only fantasize about, he found “real materials in real space”.

Lélia Mordoch

Odoya – Paris, July 2003

Emmanuel Fillot’s sculptures are quintessential landscapes, reminiscences of a culture, stages in a travel notebook in which the artist’s emo- tions are given form. Inspiration born out of a glance, an encounter, or faces and gestures superimposed on music, atmosphere, or rhythm. Fillot is not an itinerant traveler. He settles in a place in one of the four corners of the world and lets himself be lulled by the prevailing mood, events and people.

From his sojourn in Salvador de Bahia, he brought echoes of Candomblé back to Paris. A few decades after Jorge Amado, he retran- scribed the world of laughter, dreams and songs, as well as the odor of poverty diluted by the non-stop flow of Cachaça, all to the sound of samba and the aroma of Brazil Odoya is the cry of joy uttered by the Orishas as they greet Lemanjá, goddess of the ocean, whose symbols are the fan and mirror. Emmanuel Fillot seeks symbiosis between all cultures.

From Africa he has brought back the colors of laterite from the savannah and black rocks from the desert; from Brazil, he returns with the dances and faces of women devoted to the spirits of the deities. Clad all in white, their imposing figures hold the memory of a people that came from Africa whose culture has merged with Meso-Indian America and whose roots have sunk into the Sertão droughts tempered by the Atlantic winds blowing over All Saints’ Bay.

All the stories that Fillot heard in Salvador are told in his mobiles, where the impression made by women who rule the town is implicit. They represent the alliance between the Earth and the soul of a people that transcends folklore overshadowed by a form of voodoo impregnated with bloodthirsty saints and African spirits. Fillot highlights the link between human and mineral, form and song, movement and the breath of air.

Lélia Mordoch