admin On settembre - 21 - 2013

by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Thierry Dreyfus, master designer of  light, utilises soft glow, bright beams and laser lines to create a specific perception of the place and its environment. His light creations become a medium for dialogue between the architecture and the viewer, to guide and enlighten one’s vision. Currently in Milan for his Fashion Week designs, Thierry, unveils all about his artistic mise en scène:

You work with light, why were you captivated by the magic of this element?

There is no particular reason, it’s simply my material. It’s like a fragrance or love, you can’t explain why they enthral you. If you try to rationalise why you love someone or something you won’t love anymore.

How did you begin in this field?

I started working as assistant light-designer in the theatre and the opera and then I expanded to the fashion world.

What about your installations on buildings?

The first one was in Lyon: I was asked me to make an installation there in 2000. Later I received a phone call in 2005 from the French Minister of Culture, who asked me to participate to a bid where 40 artists from all the world were making installations with light, for the opening of the Grand Palais. I agreed and on the opening night there were 500,000 people. That’s how it all began, then the Nuit Blanche asked me to to lighten the Bibliotèque nationale de France, then Versailles. Gradually I decided to expand abroad, in New York and now there’s one of my installations at the Borusan Contemporary Museum in Istanbul.

What was your impression of the art scene in Turkey, considering your installation ‘‘Our Dreams Remain Our Dreams,’ opened during the Istanbul Art Biennial?

I went to see the amazing exhibition by Anish Kapoor at the Sakip Sabanci Museum, and that nurtured me completely. I wouldn’t be able to say if Istanbul is an artistic growing hub, I live between New York and Paris, but I don’t feel one city is more artistic than the other, there’s probably a different way of dealing with the art market. But I believe that if you want to integrate yourself in the system you get eaten by it. Mostly if you need it to feed you.

Now you’re in Italy for fashion week, are there some contemporary Italian artists that you like?

Maurizio Cattelan. I find him amazing, I met him several times, he’s very clever. His work is alive, he’s not afraid to say what he has to say.

How about your work in fashion?

Fashion is the designers’ means of expression to make statements. Donatella Versace’s clothes make a very bold assertion, just as the ones by Jil Sander and Victoria Beckham. I’ve worked with them, designing the sets and lights.

Is it inspiring to be so versatile and switch from one field to another?

I believe it’s just a matter of one person expressing himself. People are interested in my aesthetic.

Is there field you still haven’t explored you’d like to try?


What film directors do you like?

Haneke, Wim Wenders, the French and Italian classics. I also love Kung Fu movies, since I practiced Tai Chi for a long time. I enjoy Fast and Furious, I’m not very fond of horror films.

Did you ever think of trying cinematography in movies?

Henri Alekan was a master of French cinematography in the post-war era, when elaborate lighting and composition were much valued. Wim Wenders entrusted him with the cinematography of ‘Wings of Desire’ just as Jean Cocteau did with ‘La Belle et la Bete.’ I met him only once. His work is amazing, he’s a great reference to me in this field, but films take a lot of time, and you cannot work alone, you don’t have as much freedom. If I were to work on a movie I’d like to be the director, just like when I made my 9-minute short. I wrote the script, chose the actors and supervised everything.

Do you ever bring your work home, when you’re with your family?

At home I have to have some of my works and I actually bring them with me wherever I go. In my journal I sketch my lamps, lights, installations, my daughter sleeping with her mother.

What inspires your work?

The art world, women, wine, life.

How do you see the interaction between the artist’s statement and the viewer’s perception?

I think it doesn’t matter what the artist has to say. Who cares what he has to say or what he was thinking. The important thing is what the viewer interprets. Perhaps the artist had a bad day when he was making his artwork, or didn’t feel well; but that isn’t relevant. What matters in art is the emotion that gets through, and how people fall in love by looking at the piece of art.

What about the urge of the artist to express his or her vision?

It’s a need. When I’ll feel like stopping I shall. But until I have the feeling I need to create I’ll keep going.

Related Images:


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.