Lalla Mimouna. MOROCCO. FEBRUARY 05, 2021.
My name is Abdellah EL-HAITOUT, I am 49 years old, I was born in Lalla Mimouna, Morocco, I hope to have a dog in the coming years when I move away the city. I like to read about life of painters, their notes & their diaries. I think the most important book that influenced me is the interviews of David Sylvester with Francis Bacon.
Tell us your story, how did you come to painting?
I’m now in my forties, which is the age of perfection for a man, or rather a kind of perfection. My problem is that I was born in a village, and when I grew up, I also worked in a village, because there was no art circulating among the villagers. It is true that these villagers are very nice, but that does not help the art. I didn’t have anyone to imitate, so my drawings were spontaneous and out of order. Because of this, my artistic awareness was somewhat delayed. Of course, if we can call it consciousness. I always prefer my latest works, and this preference doesn’t last long, as it quickly fades, and I move away from it and consider it ordinary and worthless works. I always tend to remove something or bury a color, there is always a reason to do so. I consider myself more hesitant to add anything, but when it comes to deleting, I do so immediately and with great pleasure. I put on a color and erase it, apply one and bury it until it becomes more visible.
How would you define your current painting?
When I start painting I don’t know where I ended up or where I can get to, and I am always ready to destroy my work if I don’t like it or not satisfied, I often find the next step for one painting, while I’m working on another, the important thing is how it’s going to be & what it will look like, and that has nothing to do with the technique. It’s just a way to get to things that I find interesting.. In my experience, I like to leave spaces on my painting, and the recipient should not view it as a vacuum, because, absolutely, there is no void in painting. He has to see and complete from his soul what he considers a voide. The receiver should also improvise.
Tell us about your style and technique. Any secret that can be told?
The painting route is not furnished with roses. And it’s not without magic either, it’s the magic that makes the painting, and the magic is inside, inside us. Yes, what I call the side or the cold part in the painting, its non-intrinsic form, that is to say the technique and process, which we can teach you what process. Then the things that give you a deep breath and a new spirit and a way to feel the universe are personal and subjective things No one can give you that stuff. The miles that we walk is what means we’re healthy and strong, and that’s what I call the flesh of the painting and its inner face, and each of us has it inside.
Papers are the painter’s paradise. I like my painting to have a spontaneous & thoughtful effect at the same time on raw & fragile things, and the cheerful and gentle spirit of collage and paper. When I work on small sizes, time flies so quickly and cheerfully, I find myself unware of time & get around them and swallow them in an endless speed.
How do you usually start your paintings? With a sketch, a draft or is it just an improvisation?
I always start with a movement, There are a lot of things that we paint, & we only understand them after while, As I always say, you are never assured of painting, whoever is content with painting and its results is not an abstract painter. As with jazz, we have to create a void and strive to fill it. The quick fix will not come from the head alone, easy results have to be achieved by difficult painting, from the painting itself. Therefore, the painting will not respond to us if we rush it, or squeeze it, it will not give up until we are completely inside. Each previous painting is a seed for a new painting. In each new painting, we continue to develop and always complete the previous painting, each painting projecting you or referring you to another painting. The empty canvas is empty land, I paint to water the seed.
What are your motivation forces? And the artists who have been and are an influence for you?
Look , the good painting is a good painting, we are all shortcuts for everything we’ve seen. With age, a painter learns to absorb everything he sees. Learns to be quiet and be content with silence, to paint and tear, paint and repeat the ball, not to mention the most important: paint and listen.
Listening and learning, let me explain something here, I made a multiple effort not to be influenced by anyone, but I failed miserably, painting is contagious and art feeds on art, I really learn a lot of other people’s work, to be able to fly like them; because I can shave like them freely. Ootherwise I like Cy Twombly when he says “I have my pace and way of living, and I’m not looking for something.” Or Philip Guston when he says “Frustration is one of the great things in art. Satisfaction is nothing”.
What can you tell us about your studio, what kind of place is it?
A painter needs a stock of innocence and spontaneity like children, and a measure of mental clarity like Sufi men. So I find myself dreaming of a studio in the mountains, where there is emptiness, stillness, serenity and distant gaze. I need this glorious retreat, I paint during the day and read at nightfall by the candle light and the sound of the wind and clouds. Otherwise, currently I paint now in my home studio, I like to remain next to my family which allows me paint whenever I feel like to. Though I sometimes wake up at night and go painting.
What is art for you?
“it’s the painting that makes me healthy” Pierre Soulages. What is painting then? Go without knowing where. Art (painting), is to find childhood easily. Painting means a lot to me, it is not only an experience, the life of painting is a tumultuous and alluring life, a perfect thing. Painting is always right.