Atelier Pica Pica is a multidisciplinary collective based in Liege, Belgium. Founded by three artists: Boris Magotteaux, Manuel Falcata and Jerome Degive in 2008. They specialise in painting, sculpture, photography and visual installations. APP produce their works based on multiple contexts and references. The first impression may be received as simple and colourful forms and shapes, but the experience they present is full of fluidity and coherence between different contents and techniques. We speak with Atelier Pica Pica about their work and creative environment, passion for music and life in Liège.
GASS: You are 3 Musketeers running APP, how did you meet and how did APP start?
Manuel: I met Boris through common friends back in the 90’s then we came across Jerome at the corner of 2000. We label the work as APP since 2008.
Jerome: I met them after I finished the school, both guys already worked together in the studio at the Arts Academy, it seemed like fun to me. At the time, we were miles away from thinking about "working" together, it was just a plain fun.
GASS: You are based in Liege, which is quite a creative place from what I've discovered on my latest visit, but I think it is safe to say, it is not the centre of the world. How does it work for you?
Manuel: It is not a centre but a world in itself, we still have things to dig at and expectations to dream about.
Belgium is a small and very interessant country, beautiful is never far from despair, a forest never far from your street, untidiness from rationalism…
Boris: Our part of Belgium is still a bit suspended in time. Love that feeling.
Jerome: And I really like the fact that we are sort of a step back from Brussels. It is still very close, so we can be there often without losing that outsider position. I like that a lot. Also, because we work as a trio, I have a constant feedback from Manuel and Boris on what I do, something one would look for in a bigger city environment.
GASS: Have you never planned to move and work somewhere else, for example, big cities like London, New York, LA or even Brussels?
Manuel: I love big cities for sure, but also the quietness, and over all, (I love) to be free and comfy in doing my things. I love to travel. Belgium has a very strategic position for that.
Boris: I’m a small town boy.
Jerome: I really enjoy the laidback position that allows a different time frame from bigger/busier cities.
GASS: You focus on paintings and sculpture. Can you talk more about your working progress. How you come up with your pieces and what are the topics you explore in your work.
Manuel: Some of the paintings are realised and touched by all three of us as a result of the conversation and purpose of the particular time and space. For most of the other works ( like objects and small sized images ), we usually work « alone », sometimes with a little help and involvement from each other. About topics, I would say, we focus between an image and the object or the image as an object.
Jerome: Usually, the piece or/and idea comes from one of us. As he starts working on it at the studio, he starts a discussion with the other two and we decide how the others could join in making the piece or add to the idea with another piece. Thats how we install our pieces too, continuing from this process.
Boris: I’m very interested in a kind of surrealistic poetry that could emerge at a certain point in our work because of our specific working process. Each of us bring our own vision and merge them in the right moment on the spot.
GASS: What are you currently working on?
Jerome: We’re working on these new gouache works, experimenting the technique and trying to figure out how we can work with it together. We’re also doing a public project in Charleroi around the Boucle Noire, a walking trail of the industrial neighbourhoods around the city.
Manuel: We have books in the oven too… We will do the first small release at Dieter Durinck's - Social Harmony, soon.
Boris: Midnight Chardonnay.
GASS: Is music important for you and your work? If so, what are you listening while you work, what are you listening to at this moment?
Manuel: Music is more important than anything else, maybe I even paint as an excuse to be listening to music.
Latest top 5:
Slint - Spiderland
The field Mice - Sarah 18 - Sensitive
Erik Satie - Musique D'ameublement, Vexations, Concertpiece for Trautonium & Strings
Loren Mazzacane Connors - Airs
Jurgen Knieper River’s Edge OST
Red House Painters - Retrospective
Jerome: For now, I’m really into Roc Marciano’s Bitter Dose and all the Griselda Records productions, so into rap mainly.
Boris: Random Podcasts.
GASS: Very excited to have you exhibit your work at the 1st Antwerp Edition of Midnight Chardonnay. Midnight Chardonnay is a Contemporary Art, Progressive Music and Creative technology merging platforms festival. So far, it doesn't really fit any tagline. Not really a museum, not really a club night. It is designed for everybody: art buyers, professional gallerists, amateur art lovers, art students, ravers and science ethousiast. Do you think the world is ready for this new platform and how do you think this concept will sit with the royal art aristocracy in Belgium?
Manuel: I'm not sure art has anything to do with royal aristocracy anymore. Or maybe it does? Anyway, mixing things and medias together is great, let's go!
Jerome: I don’t know about the result but I’m interested in the process !
Boris: Que sera, sera :)
GASS: Even if this country is very small, it has sooo much amazing talent. Would you please, give a shout out to a few of your favourite artists or creatives from Belgium right now?
Manuel: William Degouve De Nuncques, Leon Spilliaert, Joachim Patinier, Roger Drieduizend, Stefaan Dheedene, Benoit Félix, …Jan Van Eyck, still . Big up big up!
Jerome: Shout out to spacey Julien Meert, sharp Harrisson, futurist Poxcats crew, Big Lawrence Ledoux, ding dong Maju and jewel Candide. Also, my favourite painter happens to be Belgian, so shout out to you too, James Ensor, rest in paint.
Boris: Frédéric and Benoit Plateus, master Walter Swennen.