Presentation of Françoise Maréchal Alligand, founder of FMA Art Editions
I had a professional advertising career in agencies, rich in encounters and projects since the 80s. From the 90s, I focused on communication editorial and digital in the telecommunications sector.
I have always drawn and been fascinated by the plastic arts. It was Léonard Cohen, Brassens... who opened me up to poetry, then reading Baudelaire, Reverdy, René Char,... My encounters with creative people and artists have always inspired and nourished me.
How did the urge to make and publish artist books/dialog books come about and when did it all start?< /strong>
Bernard Alligand, my husband, has collaborated for several years with several publishers including the editions, Matarasso, de Rivières, Arichi… and has produced artist's books with several poets including Jean-Pierre Geay, Michel Butor, Kenneth White, Régine Detambel… I admired this medium, a literary work and a work of art that invited (almost) all the senses; sight, touch but also smell (ink, paper) and by extension hearing via the readings by the authors... After several decades in marketing and communication, in search of meaning, I wanted to express myself in through a creation that was personal to me. Bernard's experience facilitated my immersion in this unique universe and allowed me to express my artistic and literary sensibility.
In 2007, I asked Bernard to put me in touch with Michel Butor, whose novel La modification I knew, especially through literary commentaries. I immersed myself in it, then I read several poetic works and also, Passage à Milan. A prerequisite for any collaboration with poets, read them!
Can you tell us about your publishing house?
Created in 2008 in Paris, the FMA art editions are the synthesis of my professional and personal life. The collection now represents around thirty original editions with many contemporary authors and artists, including the first Michel Butor! Bernard is the painter with whom I have collaborated the most. I find in him a rare creative richness and our life as a couple facilitates our exchanges.
In search of excellence, I wanted to combine the tradition of book trades by collaborating with master craftsmen such as l'atelier du livre d' art and printmaking at In, then more recently the Montquartiers workshop, and modernity with current and present authors and artists. Each book offers a balanced dialogue between unpublished texts and original images in a manageable, intimate structure. I attach great importance to highlighting these exceptional works through meetings and distribution in media libraries, libraries, museums and specialized bookstores. I produce and publish on my YouTube channel and my website the videos of the books read whenever possible by the author. I am also developing a series of testimonials from managers of collections of artist's books in institutions. The artist or dialogue book is a wonderful medium, which opens so many doors to our emotions. Still insufficiently known, I wish to participate in making it known to as many people as possible and to create interest in these literary and plastic works.
What are the technical characteristics of the books you publish?
Tradition, audacity and contemporary creativity characterize the FMA Art Editions. I realize the layout of the text, attend the typographical printing on art paper, deliver the printed copies to the artist for his entirely original plastic interventions on each copy. The original edition, signed by the author and the artist, is limited to a few copies (30 to 45 copies, sometimes less), presented in a box or slipcase. The object is precious, it is a unique work that will have a parallel life in its digital form and will be the occasion for poetic and artistic encounters.
When did you start collaborating with Michel Butor?
I began my collaboration with Michel Butor in 2007 with epistolary correspondence, which has become so rare today. I thus discovered the poetry in image of the Butor cards and its prompt, brief and precise messages. It was in March 2008, during the dedication of our first book at the bookshop-gallery Les Arcades in Paris that I met Michel Butor for the first time. I don't know which of the two was more intimidated. I was fascinated by so much simplicity, genius and drive. He had come with his family with his wife Marie-Jo and one of their daughters, Agnès.
When did you start collaborating with Michel Butor?
Over the almost 10 years of collaboration with Michel Butor, we have had several projects always initiated with great enthusiasm. In 2008, Restoration of the female body, 2011 Going up the river, 2012 < em>Hexagons in disarray, 2013 Meteor Square, 2014 Future Ruins, Return from Iceland 2015 At the gardens of the unicorn, Barrack 2016 Newton's youth, The apple and its pips. The meetings have multiplied and each of them has brought us a little closer. In 2013, Bernard and I organized exhibitions of artist's books written by Michel and illustrated by Bernard at the St Corneille media library in Compiègne, then at the Blaizot bookstore for the dedication of Meteor Square. Both exhibitions were the occasion for warm encounters with the public. We went to Iceland in 2014 for the exhibition “Michel Butor and his painter friends< span style="color: #241c24;">” at the National Library in Reykjavik curated by Bernard Alligand. It was Michel's last big trip with his daughter Agnès, an unforgettable memory. We also organized a magnificent exhibition of the work Ruines d'avenir, a collective work by 7 artists, at the Logis royal du château d'Angers in collaboration with the City of Angers, the teams from the Toussaint library directed by Jean- Charles Niclas and Marc-Édouard Gautier, and the Angers Musées Vivants association.
Can you give us some details on the process of creating the works with Michel Butor and on the creation?
I can give you an example, the one created around the hanging of the Lady and the Unicorn in the Cluny museum. We had just completed the original edition Ruins of the Future inspired by the Angers Apocalypse tapestry. I was looking for a similar project, based on an emblematic heritage work. After a good lunch at home, we decided on the idea of mirroring a masculine and feminine gaze on the Lady and the Unicorn hanging. Bernard and Michel have teamed up for the male gaze. I proposed to Régine Detambel and Patricia Erbelding, with whom I had already collaborated, to bring the feminine gaze to the wall hanging. Michel was enthusiastic about this project and went the following days to the Cluny museum to see the hanging of the Lady and bounce on the motto "My only desire"! His text is a marvel of summary on the ornaments, the senses, the imagined story of the Lady and courtly love. Bernard and Michel have decided to be descriptive by bringing all their poetry to it. We had organized a meeting at the Cluny museum and the exhibition Magic unicorns was scheduled from July 2018 to February 2019 including the complete book. Alas, Michel left us on the eve of his 90th birthday and was unable to take part in these meetings which, I am sure, would have given him immense pleasure.
What publishing projects are you currently working on?
Tfirst of all I would like to tell you about the "little -big last” with double title. The sleepers of the forest – the Humus of the world by Paola Pigani and the artist photographer Sophie Zénon, opens onto an invisible world where plants and animals seem to hold the keys to a secret. The leporello book includes 2 photographic works, to which is added, for the leading copy, a leporello in 8 sections of a sublime photographic work! I plan to organize a dedication at the Museum of Hunting and Nature soon. At this time, I do not yet have a firm answer, I cross my fingers. You can discover the book on video here
I am currently working on other original editions which will be published by the end of this year with Alain Freixe and Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Michaël Glück and Bernard. Other projects are in the making, I shudder with enthusiasm and hope!