“My portraits are inspired by the psychology of my characters”
Rachel Convers, designer ibride
Only one of Rastignac eye is visible - and yet this single eye reveals the intensity of the two. By playing on the exchange of looks, a link is set up between Rastignac and the person who observes him — a troubling mirror effect.
Eugène de Rastignac, one of Honoré de Balzac's characters, appears in more than twenty-seven novels from La Comédie Humaine. Of peasant stock, he is ready to go to any lengths to be accepted into fashionable society, putting on the elegant manners and the lifestyle of those particular people.
Rastignac will not comply with prevailing social norms for he is driven by passion - here associated with the aspect of a horse. Through him we can see youth with a sprinkling of insolence and nonchalance.
With his bristling mane, his right shoulder jutting forward, his ears flattened… it is in this pose - which suggests a sense of alertness, of restraint but also of invitation - that Rastignac reveals his intensity. When in movement, he reveals very little of himself, keeping hidden his secret garden. He is a real driving force who always achieves his ends — a belligerent feature which can be detected in his horns.
Rachel Convers describes her work as, above all, the manifestation of her personal aspirations and values.
“Everywhere in my work there are hints of what profoundly moves me as a person, such as questionings about the relationship between man and animal, about gender issues or about woman's place in society”.
In the “collector” portraits, while Chatterton has a calming influence and inspires confidence, Rastignac cannot be controlled. But if his melody is principally governed by masculine attributes, many feminine counterpoints also appear, as if the question of gender were actually posed. Rastignac is the result of a complex play on light, to such an extent that, upon detailed examination, each hair on his muzzle, his chestnut eyelashes and even the light on his horns can be seen. There are numerous details which, associated to his dishevelled blond hair, highlight the feminine aspect of his character.
“I want animals to be given the dignity they deserve” R.C
Rachel Convers' work puts forward the idea that the animal has long been demeaned by Man and that its greatness must be restored. The humanity which can be found in Rastignac is the fruit of a conviction which borders on anti-specism.
With her passion for the 19th century and Romantic literature, Rachel Convers carried out extensive research work in order to create Rastignac. She met a historian and scholar of the period who instructed her on the dress codes and values of the time. In this way, she is able to enrich the atmosphere and psychological dimension which surround Rastignac.
And If the latter manages to look fashionable without betraying the dress codes of his day, it is partly thanks to his jacket — which is nothing else than a part of Rachel Convers' very own wardrobe.
Driven by the desire to remain close to reality and to avoid anachronisms, Rachel Convers develops the eternal character of her portraits. And it is this desire to express timelessness and respect for the animal which drives her to devote long months to the conception of her works.
Originally, dandies convey in a subtle manner the presence of the books situated behind them; these major literary figures were, initially, bookshelves. Today they are real collector's pieces - signed and numbered mural portraits. They carry within themselves a powerful Romantic literature which is both tormented and exacerbated.
They say the devil is in the details.
Adopting Rastignac is a way to discover new details every single time that you cast your eyes upon him..
Conception rédaction : Salomé Laurent
Conception musicale : Amadou Masson