He has everything of a great man: The physical size, a well-pitched voice, with a twinkle and in his eye and lots of humility, then big-thinking projects led with the ingenuity of the electronics engineer and the sensitivity of the artist. Indeed, Alainpers seems to carry permanently the light, that very one that pushed him one day to examine matter and crystals and from there, to shape time in thousands of different ways. His passion for beauty and his urge to represent all facets of reality are now conveyed in works of great creativity. Current and future, past and present, the world becomes a land of discoveries and encounters for this passionate and atypical artist, who embraces the secrets of the luminous matter to produce living and poetic works of art.
A childhood desire
Nothing really intended him to pursue this career, and yet everything prepared him for it. A rural childhood in the Cantal in France, with farming parents who worked the land. “I do not know where this passion comes from, but I know I’ve always wanted to do that.” Early and curious, he observed the natural elements, and especially the wind, and started building wind turbines and mills. I wanted to use “this natural and free energy that is sometimes so complicated to manage” to put in motion objects. Alain also tried to understand materials and their resistance to the forces of nature, learning both technical and spiritual concepts that will develop his ingenuity and a great sensitivity to natural rhythms and pulsations. At the age of 16, in the family workshop, he began to divert the electronics on which his older brother worked to create animated objects. The arrival of the light-emitting diode, the LED, in the early 60’s will mark a turning point in his life. “I was fascinated by this light of such purity. From a semiconductor, from a crystal, it produces radiation with a single wavelength and so, one single color at the end. And this is fabulous!”
His desire to create objects and shapes with this light material began there, but he remained divided between electronics and art design careers. “And as I was a bit in the desert, I did not have any landmarks in the arts, so I studied electronics and then industrial design and I went to work in both the aeronautical and industrial fields.”
From Electronics to Art Design
His thirst for beauty will push him back to the Fine Arts. Alainpers will take evening classes with the City of Paris to learn design and art. “I still had that passion for creating and that great curiosity. It allowed me to meet design agencies around 27 years old.” He then will leave everything to work in a design agency, and finally to satisfy his “visceral desire to discover and work volumes and spaces”. At that moment, time provided him a fabulous excuse to work the light and set it in motion. For the artist, it is light that vibrates, with visible mark points that shine and run out; and he naturally became a creator of luminous clocks, putting electronics at the service of his art. His first works arrived in 1989, representing the theme of time with newness and poetry. “Objects, clocks, but also monumental paintings and sculptures of contemporary art at the scale of the city.” A giant clepsydra, for example, for the courtyard of a college in the Paris suburbs. Alainpers works blown glass, light-emitting diodes and porcelain stoneware, to represent the flow of time through water, light and knowledge.
“Each time, it’s a challenge and I like to do something more.” The artist also brings novelty in the use of materials such as polished lava stone and sandblasted glass to create unexpected shapes. More recently, he introduces the crystal, both as a support for the clock and the clock itself with the quartz crystal LEDs that rhythm the movement.
More powerful and daring works
Alainpers’ art works will succeed one another; first in France and then worldwide; as modelling sculptures and design objects or monumental projects in big hotels in Switzerland, in Asia (Taipei, Shanghai) and in the Middle East. He will even create a special clock for the 3rd OPEC summit in 2007. The idea was to link the rest of the world to the OPEC members showing the hour in each of the 12 countries and the place of the sun of earth. This special order will be made in 105 copies, with engraved brass and gold, crystal foot with gold leaves from Murano, amber leads 12 watches and jewel-case. Each time, Alain’ sculptures are both useful objects and works of art, opening the minds and inviting to see and think differently. Sun and moon, Middway somewhere on earth, The rising of time, The birth of time, Time sails and Curved time are some examples. “Matter and electronics serve my creations and not the contrary. And I put no limits to creativity. Every time I find bold artisans who will know how to do things.”
Alain remains the same, realizing a simple object or a monumental project. As a perfectionist, he is concerned about every detail. As a visionary, he proposes new creations, listening to each of his inspirations. “I can create in my workshop from a personal idea, or, if it is an order, imagine the project in 3 dimensions by going into the field or according to plans. Each time, it is an aesthetic piece that comes out of the ordinary, with a team behind.”
Through his art, Alainpers visits all the concepts of time, whether historical, scientific or spiritual. As an inspired and curious artist, he wants to understand “this absolutely fabulous history of time with all the discoveries and the sociological aspects, throughout the evolution of mankind”. This training took place throughout his encounters, readings and innovative projects; “from the ancient sundial with the gnomons to the atomic clock today, then the pendulum which measures the longitudes and makes it possible to go to the conquest of the world”. He meets and befriends with thinkers and scientists, including researchers who explore matter, time and light. “One day an eminent physicist told me that my latest creation illustrated the principles of Quantum Mechanics. Yet, I just wanted to create a piece that evolves in that way. So I started to take an interest in it.”
The utopia of perpetual motion, the theories of general relativity or the nothingness behind all matter; Alain goes even further proposing works that update and push the boundaries of knowledge. “The arrow of time, for example, which remains an enigma for scientists with an expanding or explosive universe”, and even works beyond time that challenge and open to contemplation, like a series of “live” paintings where a light movement indicating the second or minute occurs without any link with the universal time measurement. “Finally, true wisdom is to live detached from time… Isn’t it?”
With an incredible energy and talent, Alainpers continues to impress with his art, enjoying today a total freedom with his creation that goes beyond the concept of time. “My most beautiful work is always the next one, and I have new series coming that open even more the fields of possibilities.” There, you can notice the spark of joy in his eyes, the one that made his childhood dream come true, creating living objects where light and time come together to disclose the beats of the present moment.
Interview with Carine Mouradian held in Paris on April 22, 2017