Christian Gaillard has painted portraits of the greatest contemporary matadors in modern time. His paintings are beautiful and raw, offering a peek into the struggles and passion of a matador. A retrospective will be featured in the upcoming show “Heridas” at the Ariel Sibony Gallery in Paris.
Q: If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
A: It’s very difficult for me to imagine myself not being an artist. I only can imagine myself making something else but always in the artistic field. Let’s say an architect or a tango dancer.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an artist:
A: I was an illustrator before I started painting. I used to work here in France as well as Mexico and Germany as a commercial artist. During my period working as an illustrator, I also painted on my own time. One day I found I had accumulated enough personal paintings to consider showing them.
Q: Why do matadors inspire you?
A: I am fascinated by the figure of the matador. I am interested in capturing a particular moment: just before the beginning of the fight. The tension, their solitude, their control fear, the elegance and the nobility. The essential purpose of my work is to try and capture a moment .
Q: How do you feel about the bulls that are tortured by the Matadors?
A: A bull, (a toro bravo as they say in Spanish) is a wild animal, a very powerful beast, naturally aggressive and violent, weighting about 550 KGS. Let’s get this straight: the word of “torture” is inappropriate. Believe it or not, understand it or not but a matador respects the bull, considering him as a noble adversary .
Q: What do you say to people who think that bull fighting is a cruel and outdated sport despite its deep cultural roots?
A: I perfectly understand people who refuse bull-fighting; I’ll never try to convert them; Is it a question of culture? Yes. “Corrida” is out of date, not modern. “Corrida” is not a sport, it is not a form of dance, “Corrida” is equivalent with nothing, “Corrida” is “Corrida”. It is what the famous matador Luis Migue Dominiguin said: “A work of art built on the risk of death”.
Bull-fight will vanish maybe not so far future. The world can live without it in the same way, that we can live without many things but it might be a little less interesting life.
Heridas by Christian Gaillard at the Ariel Sibony Gallery
24 Place Des Vosges
November 1st 2009 (for 30 days).