A winter tale by Emmanuel Lafont


“I would like to be faster and more precise with the pencil so as not to let escape the moment, trapping my life to pieces, regardless of the camera. It would be great. My travel notebooks would be my photo albums. My cuts. My diaries. My world.”

The work of Emmanuel Lafont defines him as an artist with full control of the drawing and as an excellent storyteller. Its not that easy. He is undoubtedly the creator of a fantastic and immense universe. A universe with surrealistic visions and even dadaist visions, conceptually speaking. A universe in which the order of the factors does not alter the final result, which attracts us that is real, surrendered to amazement. We have the option to stay in a first reading, letting us win by the idea of ​​classic photomontage. But the artist has made us something specifically analytical, has made us think about the possibility of a natural nexus between two realities, drawn, apparently disconnected. That nexus has a name: Emmanuel Lafont. Tireless devouring of images, necessary step, to create new ones. He sacrifice realities to create fantasies. Collage is not a technique, it is a resource that shatters in its most academic sense. He draws the collage, plays with the different skins of reality, defying any logic. It is not strange to find the artist lost in the traces or losing himself among the boxes full of photographs, memories of other lives, in an antiquarian, in every city he visits. He is an enthusiast of the past that others throw away. For him, the past is a provocation, as one activates the creative subconscious. He has not stopped to analyze the photographic vision that has fallen into his hands when he already feels the capacity, the need, to transform the destiny of that fragment of life. The knowdledge is not essential, it is the perfect excuse to be in the past, in the present or in the future. His curiosity is excessive, and activates the creative process without limits. Their projects never end, they open up to sequels or prequels.

A winter’s tale should be understood by phases, chapters, each one more intense. There is a previous turning point in the artist’s career at the age of 35. At that moment he decides that regardless of telling stories through his work, he wants to live them, from his own work, but from another perspective. The effect is exquisite enhancing its most intimate side in each stroke. His life goes hand in hand with his findings. Treasures. He draws tireless. He becomes obsessed, focuses his search on the lives of the anonymous protagonists of the photographs. He rarely gets a convincing result that sets him apart from his goal. Other times, far from giving up, he create results he want, satisfying, at times, his creativity. His work arises from cuts, pieces of the life of others, as well as his own. It is always accompanied by a small notebook, in which he takes written and drawn notes. Some train ticket stucked on a lost page, texts with which he recalls his memories, anecdotes after all, that happen in his searching process. The artist tells the story, in which points and apart are called “coincidence“. These “coincidences” open up new parallel stories that end up being one more focus. The others just “listen”: see. We glimpse the illusion of a child in each and every step after the trail of Franz Maes; imagining the life of the one who held the glass that, after a sip, posed on that coaster of the 20s; or of the unusual life, for the time, of a German couple that took root in Mallorca. Maturity comes to us thanks to an extraordinary element: the drawing. His hands are shaking with emotion when he is explaining the project, curiously contained in the absolute calm executing the work. Hours and hours, days, only the artist, the pencil, the paper, the canvas or the lithographic stone, spinning stories to share. Suddenly he provokes us thanks to immense and  imposing works, using charcoal on canvas for the first time. If something has Emmanuel Lafont is respect, coherence, responsibility in everything he does. He leaves the chance for the research process prior to write and draw the history. In the work, the luck is neither cast not expected to be cast. A winter’s tale was started two years ago. It is a project in which different paths are interlaced which the artist has traveled, literally. Wanting to know more about scenes trapped in old photographs and other elements of other times, have taken him to Belgium, Berlin, Grenoble, Poland and Amsterdam, among other European cities to establish a new way to travel, through his work. To that walk, for our pleasure, we are invited. For him it has become a way of life, like a nomad. The photographs tell us stories, but he needs to know them first-hand. He looks for connections, interlace moments, and distort realities. And there is his own story: the work. A recurring literary formula could be a story with different endings, but Emmanuel Lafont could not submit to a single literary device. He enjoys very much writing stories with different beginnings for a single ending, for our pleasure, when we are visiting one of his exhibitions. An “Once upon a time…” turns out to be an old box full of paper napkins, postcards and coasters, a gift from a friend in Berlin. At the same time, his own life, intense in itself, follows other lives. These are converted into contemporary images that he traps in his mobile or in his retina, to transfer them to his notebook (it was precisely in Berlin where color appears for the first time in his annotations). Simultaneously he often visits Mallorca, to keep his idyll alive with the lithographic stone. An idyll started a few years ago thanks to a point and apart. When he is asked why he draws an image on the stone to be stamped, he can not explain it. “The stone is a romantic element, fascinating. To draw an image on a stone is tension. If it goes well, it’s a liberation. The best of the graphic work that is included in the exhibition A Winter’s Tale, is that it reflects in some way my natural process. I have not finished the images in the lithography, I have continued with them thanks to the woodcut, putting the color of the project “. Curious formula for those who create new realities from realities of the past, transformed into original graphic work thanks to a stamping technique with more than 200 years of history, today.

The Lafont’s narrator believes in destiny, without being aware that it is partly a destiny created by him. He doesen’t knows himself to be the architect of that nexus between a past and a present, equidistant to your fate. A Winter’s Tale is, perhaps, the most personal project of Emmanuel Lafont. For the first time, the artist discovers much of the work prior to the images based on research, on the other hand unfinished. This exhibition is a display of the personality of the artist, who thinks big and small alike; that shows the passion for a past, to which it does not renounce, only to be able to, at times, sustain an irreversible and too dense present. A Winter’s Tale is Emmanuel Lafont.

Bel Font

Palma, October, 2017