Translating Dreams Through Fabric And Drawings
In conversation with Louis Barthelémy:
How would you describe your profession to someone who knew nothing about you?
I would present myself as an artist and textile designer, translating my dreams through fabric and drawings.
What are your career highlights to date?
Joining Christian Dior under the helm of John Galliano in Paris in 2010 to design silks and prints. Having my Erotic tapestry “Nile Gym” featured in T Magazine last summer. My first solo exhibition last October in Beirut at Tawlet which coincided with the first day of the Revolution that Lebanon has been going through since.
Nile Gym by
Louis Barthelémy and Louis' first solo exhibition
If you could own any piece of art, regardless of the price, what would you select and why?
I would go for two artworks that I absolutely love : a gazelle shaped bar cabinet in gilt bronze , called “Mouflon de Pauline” by Francois Xavier Lalanne for its playful functionality, sophistication paying tribute to Nature, the ultimate source of inspiration. Secondly it would be a painting of Henri Matisse “Le Cafe arabe” for it’s ravishing colour palette and the lasting memory it has left in my heart when I first saw it at the Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg years ago.
Le Cafe Arabe by Henri Matisse and Mouflon de Pauline by Francois Xavier Lalanne
What is your favourite photo from a vacation and the story behind it?
I would choose the picture of my friend Ayman, met here in Siwa. He is praying, his head on the sand, wearing an elegant white galabeya, facing the Mecca. I find the gratitude towards life and for the beautiful day spent together with another friend Mohamed in the Sahara, expressed in his pure gesture on the photograph really moving. That day, just before the holy month of Ramadan, we went the three of us for a desert trip, racing through the dunes until we found a little oasis where we swam and chilled for a little while. Afterward, we took the Jeep again and drove to a nearby hot spring in the middle of the desert. The spot has few chairs and tables made of rattan, a white cotton tent, and is organized around the basin of hot sulphuric water. It is surrounded by glorious date palm trees and a vegetable garden. It is run by a bunch of young men in military service. After a dip and a mint tea served by the boys, Ayman discretely walked away to pray quietly. I felt in his meditation a fond appreciation for life and it’s simple yet divine moments brought as gifts like the ones shared together that day. Although I do not consider myself religious, I took a moment to thank God... It was beautifully troubling.
Ayman in Siwa
As someone who traveled to many places and been exposed to different types of music; what is your favourite genre or song and where does it transport you?
Lately, I have been obsessed with the 70’s Egyptian and Sudanese disco. Always been a fan of disco music but was never exposed to the African version of this genre and it takes me to a mellow and joyful trance.
Your work has such an affinity with Egypt’s decadent history if you were able to live another life in any era, when would it be?
It would be during the prosperous New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt throughout the 20th-19th century BC. The golden age of the pharaohs!
The Siwa Desert in Egypt, home of the Pharaohs
Say you were to host your dream dinner party who would you would invite and why?
I would invite Louis IX also known as Saint Louis for the novel of his battles in Egypt during the crusades. Antoine de Saint Exupery for his curiosity without borders and oniric eye on the world beautiful depicted in my childhood’s favorite book called “Le petit Prince”. Alexander the Great for his erotic and spiritual escape in Siwa. Jacques Majorelle for his passion dedicated to the colors of Africa. The exquisitely exuberant Queen Cleopatra for a touch of glam and finally Dalida for the party afterward!
Handwoven artworks by Louis Barthelémy