- LA PROVENCE - May 2, 2002 -

Art, an outlet as seen by painter Tapiézo.

Through his Roussillon exhibit, artist Tapiézo presents an ambitious art-therapy project, remedy to school failure and violence

Usually introspective, a few phenomenal individuals among artists feel art can't sum up to mere self inquiry.

Asking Tapiézo about his work is to ask how the world turns and face a string of advice on how to permit, with the sole painter's tools, the weaker to express themselves. Could painting have revealed therapeutic powers ?

"Certainly, mostly considering that my approach requires no language, and that is why it's so successful abroad as well as in France. It tends to develop individual autonomy, giving or restoring a wish to undertake while permitting to succeed. In fact it's more a real concept than just an approach". But what keeps Tapiézo going ? "A desire to give hope back to those who may have lost the self confidence that keeps us all going, this through self expression, painting in a free and personal way".

The painter has, in fact, been holding workshops around his practice for several years for both adults in difficulty as well as school children. If sand and paint were at the origin of the "Tapiézo style", anyone is free to translate, his or her own emotions using these same elements, without the "master" interfering at any moment with the creative process. "I try to help a passive subject become an active individual", he says and adds "one accepts things easier when in "the pleasure of doing", that's why, in the absence of aesthetic constraints, people liberate themselves around their own "sand box". They are all masters of their own project". As to the risk of ending up with cloned Tapiézos, the Dijon painter sweeps the question with the back of his hand : "What belongs to me is the concept, the sand box is not an exclusivity but a universal mean of expression that we have all used".

Art as a shield against violence

Noting his art work had already been honoured many times, early 1990, the artist initiates what is known today as the "Tapiézo approach" and begins working with it in schools around America, Belgium and France.

There, the youths direct, mix, draw and plunge their hands in the sand and paint to extract the essential substance : their 'me'. A process that attempts to raise a shield against violence, stupidity as well as idleness and could also raise interest within big firms where self negation is even heavier. But the artist's ambition does not end there and aims towards national educational structures, impregnable fortress that Tapiézo intends to shake to bring scholar institutes to follow his concept and equip in consequence. "The School of the Future" is already underway.

- Olivier Meissel -