Behind the Art: An Interview with Claire Tabouret

Claire Tabouret at her studio in Los Angeles. Photo :  © Logan White

Claire Tabouret at her studio in Los Angeles. Photo : © Logan White

Born in 1981 in Pertuis, France, Claire Tabouret received her BFA from École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France in 2006. Her recent institutional solo exhibitions include “One Day I Broke a Mirror”, with Yoko Ono, Villa Medici, Rome, Italy, 2017; “Sparkling Ghosts”, Museo Pietro Canonica à Villa Borghese, Rome, Itay, 2016; “Duel au soleil”, Le Parvis centre d'art contemporain, Tarbes, France, 2015; Le regard, dedans, dehors, Chapelle de La Visitation, Thonon-Les- Bains, France, 2014, and many more. Tabouret has been included in the following group shows: “Peindre, dit-elle – Chap 2”, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dole, France, 2017; “Face to Face”, Palazzo Fruscione, Salerno, Italy, 2016; Portraits from the École des Beaux-Arts Paris, Drawing Center, New York, 2015; "L'illusion des Lumieres,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy, 2014, among others.  Her work has been acquired by major collections and is notably part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Collection Pinault, Hort Mann Foundation, Agnès b. as well as others. Tabouret lives and works in Los Angeles.

1. Are you an early bird or a night owl? 

I am an early bird. I like arriving in the morning at the studio , hopefully not having many interactions before I start working. Ideally going from the world of dreams to the world of painting in silence. When the sun goes down I come out of the studio.

2. Are you a tea or coffee person? 


3. When did you first feel your calling to create art? 

I saw Monet's "Waterlilies" in Paris, when I was a child, and I had a shock. I loved it . My whole body was reacting to the colours , the brush strokes, feeling the joy, and the desire to paint straight away. From that day , I always felt painfully the lack when I was not painting . From that day, everything in my life had to do with having as much time as I could to devote myself to painting . I was four years old.

4. Can you remember the first piece of art that you ever created? 

The first painting I remember making as a kid was a collage with paper tissue , so it’s like a “Bas relief”. It represented a landscape with a Volcano , a palm tree and a bird flying in the sky .

5. Where do you find inspiration? 

My inspiration is very autobiographical. 

6. Do you listen to music while you work? If so, who or what kind of music do you listen to most?  

At the moment I like listening to The DO ’s album “SHAKE SHOOK SHAKEN”. There is a lot of energy and percussion in their music. The beautiful singer Olivia Merilahti looks and sounds like a goddess or fighter or astronaut from another planet. 

7. What is your favourite colour and why? 

I can't answer that. I love them all. A colour never exists by itself it always reacts to what is next to it.

8. What is your most creative time of day (or night)? 

All the time. You never now when a vision will appear.

9. Do you have a muse or role model? 

I’ve been painting portraits of the writer Isabelle Eberhardt again and again since 2013 . She is a constant source of inspiration.

10. What is your most important work tool?

 My eyes.

11. Is there a specific place where feel most productive? 

My studio. I love spending time in my studio. I go there everyday. It's a place of solitude. 

12. What piece of work are you most proud of? 

I don't really look back at what I have done previously. I don't have time or space for that , as my mind is full with what is to come next. The next painting, the nest show. I am mostly unsatisfied by what I have done up to know, so I keep working, hoping to get better. It’s a disquiet life.

13. What are you currently working on?  

I am starting to work on plaster sculptures. It’s a new medium for me, so I am  very excited! They will be presented for the first time in a solo show that will take place in September at Almine Rech Gallery in Paris .

14. Do you look at the work of other artists? 

Yes I do, painters of course , but also dancers, designers , architects...

15 What do you think makes art good? 

Ha! I would not trust anyone who says they know the answer to this question. 

16. What other contemporary artists do you currently admire most? 

At the moment I am looking at sculptors like Camille Claudel and Rodin, Markuz Lupertz but also painters like Marlene Dumas  and Artemisa Gentileschi…

17. Do you have a favourite city to visit? 


18. Name your top 3 holiday destinations: 

China, Japan, Italy.

19. What is your favourite gallery or museum in the world? 

The DIA Beacon. 

20. How would you describe your fashion style? 

Very inconsistent

21. What is your most treasured possession? 

The photographer Nan Goldin gave me a long time ago a small Relic that contains a tiny bit of a bone of Sainte Claire ( Saint Clare of Assisi ) . 

22. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? 

I always wanted to be a painter, nothing else interests me as much or to be considered as another option.

23. What advice would you give those wishing to pursue a creative path? 

Not to listen too much to other people advice!


Discover more of Claire Tabouret's work on her website here or follow her on Instagram.