Today I introduce you to my friend Tess Dumon.
Tess is at the same time a painter, designer, sculptor, visual artist and... beautiful person, which in her slender body encompasses the heart and the soul, without having to wonder if there is any difference between all these functions, except what good? They merge so much into each other.
We asked him to illustrate our founding mantras: Be Yourself, Hope, Never give up, Committed, Dream big.
I say illustrating with a sort of laziness of language, but it is about something else.
It's about giving them life and meaning, to share with you, in the mental landscape that is ours, where we wander between emotions, convictions, beauty, memories of the strong moments of our lives, correspondences between so many rainbow feelings.
Tess spontaneously joined the project.
I'm taking the risk of harping on, too bad, but you know, Eluard is implanted in my private hard drive! “There are no coincidences, there are only meetings.” You will understand why.
30 years ago, Tess was born into a loving family, gifted for happiness and able to accompany her children on the path to success. Alas, a misfortune, unjust and cruel, soon struck Tess's brother who remained walled in his silence. This suffering brother will force Tess into her own metamorphosis. Sinking is not an option, although there is another: saving yourself.
Not an escape, but salvation. Too bad the verb (to save), in French, is ambivalent. On the other hand, the English, as often, leaves no room for nuance.
SOS, a universal distress signal to save oneself from danger, gets straight to the point: “Save Our Souls”. Yes, that's exactly it, when the Grim Reaper insists on tormenting our days and nights, "Save our souls"!
After graduation. Tess's soul wandered in a thick fog, waiting for a foghorn or a sparkling light to find a direction. One fine morning, encouraged by these parents, Tess saw this milestone, glimpsed during adolescence, sufficiently outside of time and space, in a universe studded with beauty and rage: art.
In 2010, the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London responded to Tess's SOS. A fantastic incubator, both eccentric and very structured, which brought to fame a plethora of creators from “swinging London”.
Damian Hirst or Gilbert & George were initiated there as well as, in my sector, Stella Mc.Cartney, Phoebe Philo or Alexander Mc.Queen.
Graduating with honors from Central Saint Martins, Tess went on to obtain a Master's degree from the Royal College of Arts. This is what we call a brilliant course, a simple variation of the quest for an ideal.
Very quickly, Tess's first works revealed their strength and their singularity. She did not choose the preciousness of painting on silk! Tess cuts and shapes strips of metal mesh to transform them into monumental sculptures, preferably suspended in the air. Easy is not an option. The struggle with matter and the conquest of space offer salvation. At the end of this single combat Tess is exhausted; the artist is also a tough craftsman. His hands are often bloody, the metal is twisted.
The psychologists. of service would not fail to see self-mutilation or, more complex still, quasi-religious stigmata. Let's not get lost! The truth is in the hands of the pharmacist, who knows how to measure Tess's satisfaction at having done a good job, by the number of times she goes to buy Urgo compresses and Biseptine spray. Art is not always metaphysical, fortunately. Rodin, Camille Claudel, as well as, closer to us, Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle had a lot of trouble sculpting.
Tess's first monumental work, a true founding myth, is composed of four life-size horses, made from this sparkling metallic beehive. The ensemble, which for a long time hung majestically from the ceiling of the nave of Central Saint Martins College, has joined a private collection.
The horse will remain an iconic figure in Tess's work. This is Pegasus, the winged horse, so beautiful that he was authorized by the gods to gallop on Olympus. It is also he who, on this thankless earth, is called by benevolent therapists to restore complicit joy to autistic people. More than an experiment, equine therapy is a cause that touches Tess deep in her soul.
And then the installations during biennials, the media events, the public and private commissions follow one another, the honors too – better, the recognition -. Not enough to turn Tess's head, simply to allow her to say to herself, in the time of a curl of cigarette, no more: "ten years ago, I was lost, I think I found my way, that’s good.”
On this path, a decisive event occurred. At the end of 2017, after her swinging London, Tess moved to Paris full of dreams to accomplish, also Dream Big in size. During the Paname Biennale, she exhibited a giant 6m metal octopus suspended in the air. We will see an allegory of addiction, entangled as we are in the consumer society and the sprawling GAFAM. The Galerie Dumonteil saw the promise of a work that would leave a mark and immediately recruited Tess.
Belonging to a gallery is not a servitude to which are added performance obligations, marketing strategy and all those things so foreign to the freedom to create. Pierre Dumonteil is, above all other considerations, an enthusiast. He notably rehabilitated French animal sculpture from the last century, including Bugatti. The boys will say “Ah! Bugatti, the designer of legendary cars”, no! his younger brother named Rembrandt.
This Bugatti was destined for an exceptional destiny far from the racing circuits. But I digress, you will Google, Rembrandt Bugatti to better understand the exceptional and heartbreaking destiny of this artist. All this to say that Tess is now surrounded by good vibes in this gallery, which also hosts another precious friend, Ugo Schildge… I tell you that “there are no coincidences…. ".
Don't imagine that Tess is going to indulge in a monumental and metallic composition of our mantras, it would be grandiose, but a little presumptuous for our Brand and everything it embodies.
Tess is also a wonderful colorist and draws dreamlike worlds, between two sessions of wrestling with metal. Is she calm today? The unspeakable suffering has never left her, I am almost certain, but she flies, like Pegasus or the blue butterflies.
“Even for the simple flight of a butterfly, the whole sky is necessary” said Paul Claudel, brother of Camille.