Alexandre Hollan has long had an impassioned relationship with the trees he observes and draws so obsessively, intent on transcribing the deep inner vibrations that fill them with life.
“Most of the time, I don’t see the tree in front of me. I’m looking at it but at the same time I’m smitten with a thousand ideas about trees, which spin round in my head. I wait for them to settle down….. Then perhaps I notice a tiny movement, almost nothing, that means something. I trust it, feeling that it’s not just part of the idle chattering of a moment ago or an emotional projection. The nascent movement stops and starts again if I stay very open and calm. A rhythm appears, bringing it a little strength. Life continues to circulate. I call this movement “sensation”. An airy strength is not so far off: the dancing energy that the eye makes out by the line that frees itself from shapes (branches).” Airy line, connected with breath. (11.7.99)
“If I know how to see where the energy is going in the tree, the tree sends me new energy, which can take shape in a drawing. It can spread gradually into the body of the drawing: making it last, inhabiting it. (13.8.99)
How do you perceive the luminous vibration within a tree?
The luminous vibration is produced by three primary colours: red, blue and yellow. Colours that collide in the brush. Their difference creates a vibration, electrifies each stroke, opens up a luminous space.” In this space, trees come out of the darkness, they radiate. (5.8.14)
Alexandre Hollan was born in Budapest in 1933. He has lived in France since 1956 and was a student at the Paris Schools of Fine Arts and Decorative Arts. He shares his time between the scrublands of Languedoc and his studios in Paris and Ivry.
He explores the mysteries of eye and colour through two major themes: trees and “silent lives”. In his quest, his notes on painting accompany his work on motif (“Je suis ce que je vois”, volumes 1 and 2, éditions Le Temps qu’il fait).
The great poet Yves Bonnefoy has devoted a number of texts to him, “L’arbre au-delà des images”, Editions William Blake & Cie, and a monograph, “La journée d’Alexandre Hollan”, Editions Le temps qu’il fait.
The painter’s dialogue with such poets as Jacques Ancet, Philippe Jaccottet, Claude Louis-Combet, Luis Mizon, Salah Stétié, Pierre-Alain Tâche, Jong N. Woo and Louise Warren has led to the publication of over forty art books and artists’ books.