During a particularly late night wandering the damp corridors of the internet, I stumbled upon the abstract work of French artist Abel Burger. Combining freeform poetry with paint splatters, minimalist shapes, and collage inserts, Burger is able to create a landscape of child-like wonder and raw emotion. Peering into her journal is like gazing inside a surreal art gallery, one without rules and without a defining era; her work could fit inside past centuries as well as 20 years in the future. I spoke with the talented visionary (who resides in Port-Vendres) about dead authors, UFOs, her creative process, finding her quiet place, and her views on Netflix.
Your pieces often feature multimedia elements (collage, paint, typography). How do you approach a blank notebook page?
Most of the time, I don't have a fixed idea of what I want to do, only images, feelings, a certain poetry in what I want to transmit. So I don't expect any results, there is no search of aesthetic but truth. Maybe it's the same thing, so by searching truth, it maybe means that sometimes I reach beauty. In fact, I only use what is accessible to me and share what is within my reach. God, my answer was so serious, sorry.
Serious is totally fine! How long have you been involved in poetry?
About 10 years. I started to read Bukowski when I was living in the middle of nowhere Canada, without electricity and warm water. It was hard and beautiful. I started to write things. And then, when I came back to Paris, I was approached by literary magazines, and some galleries where I read some of my poems.
Do you write words that come to mind (like a daydream) or do you prepare your poems beforehand ?
I thought for a long time that I needed discipline. I was trying to organize my thoughts but everything which was created that way was mediocre. It was artificial. Without emotions. Exact opposite of what I wanted to share. so I destroyed what I used to try to construct, found a certain idea of liberty and did what I felt during the day, during the night, during tough events in our countries, of happy moments, memories. You know, there are many things by which we can be inspired.
What intrigues you about abstract art?
At the beginning I was interested by people doing abstract art. In this way: people and then art. Now I prefer to see first, art and then people. There is always the question of ego, because everybody who wants to share their art, especially abstract art, want to be understood. They show things which can't be explain by language. But I love people who try to explain to other people with real intention to share things. It's like: Hey, let's build a new language.
Your pieces seem to blend mature and dark elements with elementary/childlike approaches. Can you speak on this please?
I always work for this search of truth and innocence in the processing of images, emotions, ideas that I wish to convey. We are constantly exposed to a certain kind of reality of this world, at least not necessarily objective, and given by medias, politicians, religions...I'm just trying to turn what I feel into something positive, without disguising reality. I'm not in the duality of what exists, which means I'm not directed by hope or good feelings. It's a means of expression that corresponds to what I am and the vision of the world I want to have.
Outside of your own art, what have you been reading/listening to/watching/dreaming lately?
About novels, I have to admit I only read dead people. It's due to the lack of confidence in me, I prefer to tell myself that people whose writings are brilliant are dead. I know it's stupid. I love CG Jung. He had a global perception of things that include science, faith, paranormal, shamanism. Global vision of people. I love that. Recently, I've been listening to US hip hop; it helps me to have confidence when I walk in the streets. My last dream was pretty cool. There was this young girl sitting in the back of my car. She said she was dead and asked me to tell her mum she was ok. When i woke up, I wanted to do that. Help people by building a bridge between their subconscious and reality.
When do you know that you are finished with a page in your notebook?
I never know that. I just decide to stop. I never know if it's a good idea.
Along with art, you also seem to travel a good amount. What/where are some of your favorite locations?
I used to travel a lot, especially in the United States and Greece. I love Greece because it's quiet. And I love the small town of Rachel, Nevada, because I stayed there to see UFOs and I love UFOs and documentaries about Area 51. So I went there and I rode a quad bike with Rya, spoke with Canadian people and their helicopters, searching for gold in the mountains. I like isolated or ghost towns and people who don't give a shit about Netflix or the last iPhone.
Do you always bring a notebook? What are some essentials for you to create?
Always. A notebook, pens and watercolor. Collages is a new thing, I can do stuff without.
Do you have any advice for artists working on their art?
I think people have to really know, and recognize why they are doing art, for what reason. And stay focused on it. No matter what the reason is, it's yours. It makes sense. Don't let people have a bad influence on you.
Any final thoughts / words of wisdom?
I wanna thank you for your interest of artists and asking questions which permits to think about the meaning of our actions. I don't have words of wisdom, sorry. I just have something like this on my mind: "I don't do mistakes, I make choices" and I hope I will not forget this tomorrow.