Originally from Brittany, Yves Garandel now lives in Nièvre. His passion for art emerged in his childhood, and his already exceptional talent earned him a first exhibition at the age of twelve. The need to express himself through painting prompted him to hone his skills at evening classes in two Parisian schools. Having acquired a perfect mastery of oils and acrylics, he discovered pastels in 1976, a medium to which he adhered with much enthusiasm. Following his discovery of Hans Hartung, he is now experimenting with ink using a very personal graphical method that holds plenty more surprises. Despite his very demanding career, he always feels a craving to paint wherever he goes. His discoveries of the African continent, the Reunion islands and Mauritius in 1966, and some thirty years later Mexico and Cuba, are at the origin of his best creations. For over forty years, he has exhibited almost continuously at various regional and Parisian salons, earning him not only recognition but also many awards and distinctions.
Yves Garandel has an innate sense of aesthetics and harmony. Nourished by his discoveries and journeys to flourishing, exotic and untamed natural spaces, his lively imagination has allowed him to “recreate” sublime landscapes that are worthy of his “artist’s dream”. Following a period characterised by Cubism, he adopted Figurative Expressionism in 1987, highlighting lines and colours, and yielding also to a certain temptation for abstraction and at times symbolism when the inspiration takes him. Through this means he expresses his “wildest dreams” as well as his most intimate feelings, letting the rhythm of the music that he loves guide his paintbrush. “I play with music,” he confides. This tireless pioneer-explorer of pictorial possibilities ventures far beyond simple visual perception, on a quest to convey what he calls “the unseen”, and which is born directly from his subconscious. Whether oil, acrylic or pastel, his paintings are powerful and well-structured, and lie somewhere between realism and surrealism. Their underlying drawing, which is always precise, emphasises exaggerated and entirely reinvented shapes while bright, full-bodied and flamboyant colours bring life to these accomplished, stylised compositions.
Remarkable for its inventiveness and audacity, Yves Garandel’s artwork is undoubtedly a tribute to nature’s splendour and fertility. Yet the infinite variations that the painter has brought to landscape art resonate with emotion, emotion which he conveys with deep sincerity and inner vision, rendering his works veritable spiritual paintings.
Francine BUNEL-MALRAS, Art Historian
Colour as a garden
Yves Garandel’s painting
is as exuberant as vegetal outbursts or lava flows. His
chromatic vitality was born from trips to distant lands
and his passion for gardens. No wonder then he always turns
to nature. Fiery nature saturated with light.
Agave fields in Mexico, tobacco plantations
in Cuba, royal poincianas in the Reunion island, green suns
on the Indian Ocean, jacarandas rustling to a jazz improvisation,
this is in short Garandel’s world, a man with a passion
for garden and trips to the ends of the earth. He can talk
for ever about flowers when you ask him. He describes himself
as a self-taught man, but will not deny the good memories
from his early youth, when he attended evening classes at
the Grande Chaumière and at the Atelier de l’Impasse
Bellefeuille in Paris 15th Arrondissement. The months he
spent there fed his vocation without making it a prisoner
of this or that school. After a cubist period, from which
the “Cités Florales” inherited someway,
he gradually turned to more spontaneous motions. His garden
in Ouville l’Abbaye probably was a major step in his
own language development which was gradually brought to
a fuller extent by successive travels. It is his passionate
love for colour and his taste for motion that sustain Garandel.
As René Char once wrote : “He who will trust
the sunflower will not meditate in his own house. All the
thoughts of Love will become his.” Garandel is a man
of the open, a painter infatuated with the open air and
luminous landscapes, a traveller with a child’s heart.
His mind has not aged a bit.
Jazz or rhythmic music are sound food to him and really
helpful when painting or reviewing his travel diaries. Although
he uses oil and acrylic mostly, he has nothing against sand
or coating. For the whole duration of his Cuban period,
he even often used large portions of tobacco leaves mixed
with colour. From canvas to abrasive paper (ideal for pastel)
he invents new horizons. Although his themes follow the
logics of the traveller marvelling at everything he discovers,
Yves Garandel admits he likes changes too. Redoing what
has been successfully achieved the day before is out of
the question. Painting is definitely not about painstaking
repetitions. From the curves of a hill to those of a body,
what he loves most is the Earth, the mother so frequently
mistreated. From active volcanoes to quiet sea beds Garandel
hunts down the wildest things life can offer him. He knows
that man was not meant to master it but to go along with
it and serve it. That is what his painting endeavours to
do with ardour and extravagance.
Luis PORQUET, art critic
Underneath his benevolent appearance of a stunned cat, Yves GARANDEL, in addition to his imposing stature, possesses a force and an instinctive, decisive boldness, making him a real adventurer when it comes to painting.
This beefy bloke has come a long way in thirty years. Ever since he became passionate about scuba diving, he has brought back reason to celebrate the mysteries and poetry from the depths of the ocean and seas.
It is partly due to his job and his travels that Yves GARANDEL now dazzles in his use of colours and new shapes, ranging from motifs composed of soft waves to the evocative power of a forceful and brilliant surrealism. Through exploring the opulence found in nature and in expression, and remaining alert to the impulses created by colour and vitality, GARANDEL often depicts sites and motifs wherein the imagination combines with poetry by means of rich perspectives. These are brought to life with a vibrant and active palette that conveys as much drama as confidence.
Always more, always better; both creative and adventurous, Yves GARANDEL has had the courage and authority to make a name for himself, enjoying a fruitful and full independence.
André RUELLAN, art