Etude 7 is called Loustal’s piano. Who is Loustal, which drawing in this etude plays the main character?
The French artist Jacques de Loustal, is through comics – together with writer Paringaux, autonome drawings, travel sketches and paintings, very well known but only in French.
Some years ago books of Loustal were published in Dutch by Casterman in Belgium and in Holland by the well known comic publisher Het Raadsel, later Oog & Blik, not long ago integrated with Publisher De Bezige Bij in Amsterdam. At the time the independent publisher sold his stock very cheaply such as What he expected from her. At times I bought a lot of them to work with in workshops with students, also comic books as Kid Congo and travel sketches: Java.
text at this drawing: Giorgio read aloud in the hope of captivating his audience
Travelling often forms the basis of his work, an intermezzo between atelier and assignments. He needs to travel, to observe, to be ‘empty’, cut off from daily life and work, concentrating on here and now, publishing with intensive and open sentences. The very first work, the first sketches, were published by Editions Seuil in Paris, in five wonderful books: Carnets de Voyages, covering all parts of the worl, often including islands, harbours or desolated areas in the USA, Asia, Japon, Cuba and Latin America.
There, on the corner of a street, at the border of a river, or on the quay of an harbour, he reflects on the world in front of his eyes, with his subtle view. By travelling through the contemplative state of mind he continues to an ‘island’ in time. There he is drawing, impulsively and quickly, a sketch, yet another one, almost in one movement, all the time translating the reality in which he is at that moment, into one image, or, as he said: in a semi-reality’. Sometimes these moments are so short that he makes pictures and works them out in the evening at his hotel room, directly in sketches.
In an interview with the French writer Philippe Muri, which appeared in Loustal, Chambres avec Vue, published by the Festival International du Bande Desinée de Lausanne, where he was the guest of honour in 2011, he worked out this idea, out of which I use some elements in order to introduce him. In this interview, just as in later meetings I could have with him, he talks about his ‘milieu famiale’, his childhood, in which books were always present, photo books, also objects, small statues and maps. Also about his need to discover the world, always present and feeding continuously.
When considering the oeuvre of Louystal, one sees two lines: the fictional and the one of the permanent observing traveller.
In the fictional line, as in his drawings at Sous la lumière froide, from Pierre Mac Orlan and in the comics of Philippe Paringaux, he is travelling through the story, making a stop here and there and as always he is a fabulous observer. Of course the story has its drama, histories of love and betrayal and he is able to draw this drama, but it is his attention to the landscape, the architecture, the interiors, the surroundings, which play also such a dramatic party in his visual interpretation of the story.