«Raoul Pictor cherche son style...» 1993-2011
«Raoul Pictor cherche son style», an artwork created in 1993 by Hervé Graumann, is one of the case studies of the digital art conservation research project. Nelly Massera researched this work for Vidéo Les Beaux Jours (in collaboration with Arnaud Obermann at the ZKM). Nelly Massera and Hervé Graumann discuss the artwork acquired by FRAC Alsace, problems encountered during research, possible solutions for exhibition and preservation, as well as the various versions in which this work has been updated, from its first incarnation until the present. The work acquired for the collection of FRAC Alsace is the second version of the installation, from 1997. It shows the animated character Raoul Pictor in his workshop, engaged in creative activity—he walks around, thinks, looks through a book, then begins painting on a canvas. After a while, he exits the screen with his finished painting under his arm. The painting is then printed in color on a printer near the screen. The image is unique, randomly generated by a program written by the artist. Once the image is printed, it leaves no trace on the hard drive of the installation. The printed artwork is signed, dated and numbered, and the visitor can take it away.
Hervé Graumann was born in Geneva in 1963. He studied at the Ecole supérieure des arts visuels in France. Andreas Meier writes: «(...) Hervé Graumann's true tool is not a brush, not paint, not a computer or any other means of expression traditionally taught in fine arts. His work relies on a brusque alternance of gaze and perspective, or on means of expression that are tinged with humor and irony, which allow him to address reality as much as questions concerning the philosophy of art. (...)» Hervé Graumann has participated in various exhibitions, including the 3rd Biennale d'art contemporain (Lyon), Documenta X (Kassel) and White Noise (Kunsthalle Berne).
Nelly Massera was born in 1974. She studied visual arts, art history and philosophy of arts at the university and the Ecole supérieure des arts décoratifs in Strasbourg, Winchester School of Art and the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. She has participated in numerous artists residencies and exhibitions in France, the UK, Poland, Latvia, India and Quebec. She has been an associate curator for several exhibitions in rurban zones bringing together English and French artists. Her installations mediate video, photography, drawing and objects. Her research evolves within a particular social, cultural and geographical context, questioning the gaping unrest between these realities and mythologies, traditions, fairy tales and nocturnal dreams. For the theatre, she stages video elements in narrative interaction with the actors, where viewers are bound to a space in-between, a wandering journey where their own experience of forms and meaning has yet to be constructed. She has also hosted workshops in prisons and schools. She is contributing to the digital art conservation project with the association Vidéo les Beaux Jours.