In Conversation With: Nanou Dupuis
Belgian-born Melbourne-based artist Nanou Dupuis pushes the boundaries of space.
What is your work about?
My artistic field is primarily abstract painting that stretches its dimensionality beyond the limit of a flat surface. I feel at peace when pushing my visual aesthetics towards an uneasy state. Using traditional techniques in addition to industrial material, I create contemporary compositions on clear surfaces, canvases, and paper. Multiple layers resulting in interactions between fore, middle, and background.
When did you first fall in love with art?
I’ve always had a creative mind since a very young age, gathering and transforming materials found from my Belgian childhood in the countryside. I left home at the age of 16 to follow my dreams of studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Namur, Belgium, much against the wishes of my mum who wanted me to become a lawyer. Among undertaking intensive workshops and artist residencies, I hold a Master of Art – Art in Public Spaces, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a Graduate Diploma in Interior Architecture Design.
Is there anything special about your studio?
There are so many special attributes to my creative space in the western suburbs, 15km from Melbourne’s CBD. Starting with the original doorframe which is crooked and reminds me to think outside the box. Inside, the centrepiece is a painting station that turns into a stretching table and the natural filtered light offers a glimpse into our native garden. Conveniently tucked away under benches, are trolleys and tubs on wheels, ready to emerge and surround me whenever I am in my painting frenzy, just the way I like it. I start by selecting my surface, preparing my pigments and medium according to what I wish to achieve on that
day, which is often influenced by the weather. From there, the music in my head automatically starts to conduct the rhythm of my movements.
Where do you find inspiration?
Past and present experiences, in addition to images from my direct and indirect surroundings, all contribute to my creative process. The essence of my inspiration comes from the practical knowledge of my tools and mediums, alongside the understanding of my physical balance and limitations, which push me outside the edge towards a forever evolving visual aesthetic.
What have you been working on recently?
Being confined at home allowed me to listen to my inner voice and set up my studio for visitors. In mid 2021 I joined the Artoure artist stable in Sydney. I received the Abstract Encouragement Award at the 2021 Linden New Art Postcard Show and have been invited to hold a solo exhibition mid-January 2022 in the newly located BlackCat Gallery in Fitzroy, Melbourne. I am beyond thrilled and honoured to be invited as the first artist to have a solo exhibition hosted at the Belgian embassy in Canberra. This opportunity is the first of its kind, with the focus to offer artists of Belgian descent practicing in Australia an exhibition platform in Canberra to widen their audience and networking.