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THE IMPRESSIONS D'EGYPTE OCCUPY A SPECIAL PLACE in Bernard Alligand's work for two reasons: one, because, on a sandy bottom, they are only made up of plants with only a few colored notes and a few scraps of manuscripts; the other, by their technique of execution, a passage in press, from where the word of impressions . But these are neither paintings nor engravings. On the other hand, these works have no antecedent in his creation they did not give rise to any subsequent extension.

Extract from the Retrospective in Angers catalog, text by Jean-Pierre Geay.


Mixed media. Papyrus, pigments, palm and banana tree skirts, manuscripts, sand and resin on palm branch crate or Moulin de Larroque pure rag art paper 600 g.


(...) I proceed in the same way with the engraving. In the artistic process, I know very well what I am going to look for. On the other hand, in a country such as Egypt, whatever his knowledge, the share of discovery and the unexpected thwarts the methods learned.

We are going to look for a content, a meaning, and perhaps we find an aesthetic?

The aesthetic dimension is added to the meaning.

Do you have the impression of being able to form, through the work, a chain of union between men of the past and the future?

I do not seek to be inspired directly by what the artists of the Pharaonic era did. My concern would rather be to assess what was happening in those millennia, 3000 years before Jesus Christ. We have, of course, fairly precise knowledge of the practices and the environment. The materials I am going to look for were already in use. I try, however, to work today, with these materials, trying to understand the logic of the anonymous artists of the time.

Are you looking for a link of development, maturation through gesture?

By the hand, by the earth, we instinctively cover the gestures. (...) An abstract work can be more sensual than one thinks ... I remain convinced that an abstract work, whatever it is, keeps always a connection to nature. (...) To free oneself from the explanatory image is to open up to other investigations while remaining linked to nature.

Regarding your receptivity, was your first shock to Egypt more visual or intellectual?

The first meeting, on arrival, was visual. With, of course, the intellectual background that had given my determination to discover Egypt. But this mode of contact is not unique to Egypt, it is my approach. I write little, for example, even when it concerns the impressions, the sensations that a landscape gives me.

You write them in your painting.

Yes. And I sometimes help myself with photos. I therefore remain visual.

Does the title Impressions of Egypt bring together your own impressions and the impressions you want to produce by your work?

I evoke the junction point between the impressions felt and translated in the work and the impressions that the public can capture in the eyes.

Can you make a short inventory of the original material that makes up the Impressions of Egypt.

The karkadé. It is a national plant, in Egypt, which is used to cure all ailments (...) it is drunk hot, cold (...) Peppers, saffron ... Everything is possible. I technically experiment with reactions to resins and glues. But I can also mix them with the traditional pigments that I have at the workshop.

You traveled to the Libyan border to stock up on spices.

Yes, but not just the spices. The coloring of the elements (sands, plants) changes with the terrain. I use white, ocher sands ... The papyri are more or less tinted because they dry differently. Because they were collected at different times.

What are your plants?

The banana tree, the cotton, the sugar cane, the palm tree, a little eucalyptus ... In the palm tree itself, I use the fiber which, traditionally is dedicated to the manufacture of the twine, the branches which serve on the crates, at the end of the branch, the opercula which hold the dates and the tree dress which is at the same time a fabric of fine and sustained fibers and a kind of "leather".

Interview with Tita Reut. Extracts from the Impressions d'Egypte 2000 catalog.



"It was about making a book that was a unique work, presenting it as a performance. The idea: what can represent Alexandria and be a passage between Alexandria, France and the Mediterranean with a desire to make the book come alive to provoke an interaction between the public and oneself, and a direct interaction, especially for the Alexandrians who will come to see the exhibition. "

Workshop in Alexandria, April 2005. E xtract from the video interview

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