After completing drama and theatre studies, french artist, Cécile Davidovici attended a film school in New York City. The movies she wrote and directed there have been shown at festivals over the world, some receiving multiple awards. A common thread ran through them all: exploring the link between innocence and illusion.
After her mother's death, Davidovici felt a need to replace images and sound with tangible, touchable materials. She found that a new medium allowed her to anchor herself in the moment: textiles. The stories of innocence and illusions remained, now tinted with irrepressible nostalgia, and with a desire to capture memories and to immortalize past moments.
I understand that you have a background in drama, theatre, and film. What led you to the embroidery work you are creating now? What instigated this shift in mediums?
I’ve always been drawn to tell stories and express myself with images and, for a long time, writing and filming those stories was enough. When my mother passed away a few years ago, I felt I needed something to change in my life, but it took me some time to figure out what it was. Embroidery started first as a hobby but quickly became essential to my artistic process. I realized that what I was missing was the tangible aspect of things. I needed to work with my hands, create something I could touch.
I’m always so interested when two artists collaborate. What has been your experience fusing your artistic vision with that of David Ctiborsky’s for the series Fire Season?
David and I were always very connected artistically. We already worked together when I was writing and directing and he collaborated with me for my first plastic series called <<1988. Even when he is not involved with a piece, I always ask for his opinion. He helps me take a step back and be more analytic with what I am creating so it was very natural for us to create a series together.
Can you tell me about the series Fire Season? What was the impetus behind this work?
I needed to create a new piece for a French art fair last year (that actually got postponed due to the epidemic) and I started to talk with David about it. He works in filmmaking but plays with a lot of other artistic mediums. He has a thirst for experimentation and learned to use a CGI software for our project, so these objects were created as synthetic images via physical simulations on a computer. This process has brought us a lot of freedom. I, then, embroidered them. Through this movement in which images rise out of the warm reality of fabric, this is the story we are telling: of love and of the reconquest of a missing past, through the reconciliation of technology with the world.
What type of subject matter are you the most drawn to and why?
In 2020, when we started thinking about our project, California was ravaged by historic wildfires. An idea started haunting our minds: that of a fire season that never ends. We don’t believe in the end of the world. That’s not what we’re afraid about. We dread the end of love between the world and humankind. We see it in the material world around us that we found ugly and disturbing. It’s not the modernity that is ugly, to the contrary. We believe it’s the disconnection between our minds and the matter. That’s the kind of concerns that guide our work. And for us, it’s through the work of embroidery and its travel from a virtual conception to the meticulous and loving handling of the fabric that the love and passion between mind and matter is reborn.
What are you currently working on?
We are currently continuing the series and, on a personal side, I am working on portraits. Something clicked inside me quite recently and I am obsessed with them now. I think I’ve always wanted to make portraits, but were always scared to do it because I was limited by the technique. So many new possibilities are opening to me now and I can’t wait to keep exploring. There is something extraordinary about the skin tone. How it contains so many different colors, telling something about the light and therefore creating an emotion, is fascinating to me.