Artist interview: Gérard Fromanger

Was ‘pop art’ a term used by yourself or colleagues or was there a different terminology that referred to a new figurative movement in the 1960s and early 1970s?

No. New figuration and/or figuration narrative.

Did you ever consider yourself (now or in the past) a pop artist?

No. I don’t consider myself today, nor did I in the past, to be a pop artist. For me, between 1958 and 1964 there was no pop art in France.

Did your work engage with current events in the 1960s and early 1970s?

Yes. Between the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970 my work engaged with current events of the time.

How did you choose the subject matter for your work included in The World Goes Pop?

During my participation at the Atelier Populaire des Beaux-Arts de Paris in May–June 1968 and after a visual work created in 1965.

Where did you get your imagery from (what, if any, sources did you use)?

From two sources:
1)      the flags from ten countries
2)      press images from current events, demonstrations and work, chosen from the archives of press photographer Elie Kagan.

Were you aware of pop art in other parts of the world?

Yes, of course, pop art was globally well-known.

Was commercial art an influence on your work or the way it was made?

In no way. On the contrary, I made this work to be radically anti-commercial.

Were there a feeling at the time that you were doing something important and new, making a change…?

Yes, something important and new.

Was there an audience for the work at that time – and if so what was their reaction to it?

Yes, this work – Album The Red – was immediately internationally acclaimed and was awarded the Tokyo Biennial Print Prize as well as Kyoto Biennial’s (before Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns!). With it I also earned Jean-Luc Godard’s friendship and collaboration.

Looking back at these works, what do you think about them now?

It was a great moment of unity between art and life. This emotion is still present. Art can be at the same time knowledgeable and popular. It is only in this perspective (and not historically) that I can consider myself a ‘pop artist’.

September 2015