2020, 70 x 70 cm (framed size), ink painted collage on old French book and magazine paper dated 1940s - 1950s
We all leave prints and tracks in our daily life: from tracks in the sand or the snow to food fingerprints and carbon footprints...They are the clues that proves we were here, and are tangible records of our past presence, our real life. The French word, Empreintes, can simultaneously be translated as “prints” and “tracks”, and I love the ambiguity of the double meaning.
My passion for empreintes dates back to my childhood as an enthusiast of the wild forest. I grew up close to the Fontainebleau forest, at the southeast of Paris. It is one of the largest and most beautiful forests, and full of wildlife.
In the shadows of giant oaks, chestnut trees and pines, I loved walking and hiking there with my grand-father and father, both of whom were hunting deers, wildboars, and many other wild animals...We could see their tracks in the mud, and in the snow. I was quite good at identifying their tracks and was dreaming of them.
A print is just a soft indication, a suggestion of the animal/human who made it. It gives some basic details, such as size, age, weight and speed, and the rest is up for the imagination, to interpret and assume the final, whole picture. Indeed, there is a lot of room for creating and dreaming.
My black ink-painted collages are created with the same "spirit": using a similar process, starting from an ink print of an hardwood piece. This wood piece was a genuine, full tree trunk, and a relic to my connection with the forest. This is combined with finger painting of dots, a technique inspired by aboriginal art, to spiritually represent dreams and Mother Nature.
The books, newspapers and other publications I use as background for these collages are al prints and tracks in their own ways. They are the testimony of the author, the journalist, and their antique textures is another “print” of passing time.
— Antoine Rameau