“My main claim is to remember that we are a crowd, ants, occupying and transforming a territory gradually.”

Fabrice Clapiès

Fabrice Clapiès is a 42-year-old artist who works in Bordeaux as an architect. He attended the Grenoble Architect School and spent one year in Montréal’s Québec. Highly influenced by everything he has learned, it’s been 18 years that he draws city maps. To him it’s like a game, transforming sheets of paper in cartography: sometimes he is inspired by real city and sometimes he creates urban fixtures.

He started drawing maps during a phone conversation, as a mechanism of repetition. The painting itself grew from a very geometric pattern about 5 mm in side. The result is mainly an abstract pattern, but it can accidentally reach the figurative style. This little game of his was initially done on smaller support (10 x 15 cm), then it reached larger dimensions (75 x 55 cm, even 100 x 65 cm).

Fabrice has the ability to create fictional yet plausible places from scratch, not an easy task, as those who tried to draw a map of a fictional place know. All his drawings feature a dense grid of highways, back roads, junctions and neighborhood incredibly lacking that feeling of implausibility often ruining fictional maps. Some look like walled medieval cities, others like modern model cities, others like a patch of countryside on the verge of turning into a city.

Fabrice Clapiès, "geo-graphique", 2014

Fabrice Clapiès, “geo-graphique”, 2014

Watercolor tecnique

Once completed the the imaginary or real urban patterns, Fabrice Clapies fill them with watercolors. It’s not a casual choice, indeed he particulary likes this method for its propertise and characteristic. Its use requires rigor, but it’s relaxing and the colors are reassuring. The great challenge of watercolor is the absence of correction, nothing can be erased. Once the line is laid, it is impossible to go back.Watercolor also brings lightness and speed that collage, colored pencil or computer graphics software can’t reach.

The features of watercolors also remind him of his work, because he finds the same rule in urbanism and architecture. Once built an architecture or modified a landscape the space unvoidably changes. This art work express the sensibility of Clapiès for his responsibility in modifing the urban pattern as an architect.

Fabrice’s artistic research is unique because it mixes this two distant worlds: the watercolor tecnique and the architectural project. The result is the creation of these beautiful maps in which he delevops the repetition of a multitude of geometric elements, the clutter of the parcels, the urban sprawl.

Fabrice Clapiès, "geo-graphique", 2012

Fabrice Clapiès, “geo-graphique”, 2012

Fabrice Clapiès, "geo-graphique", 2016

Fabrice Clapiès, “geo-graphique”, 2016

Fabrice Clapiès, "geo-graphique", 2012

Fabrice Clapiès, “geo-graphique”, 2012

Fabrice Clapiès, "geo-graphique", 2014

Fabrice Clapiès, “geo-graphique”, 2014

Sources:

http://geo-graphique.tumblr.com

http://massimopoti.it