Photograper, director illusionist: Alexandre Dubosc handles candies, sweets, eggs and anything attractive that happens on his dish. After stuffing himself with awards for such works as Food about you and Show co show, Alexandre has finished Alimation, his latest sweet and hypnotic creation.
Hello Alexandre, we’ll start talking about the main character of your latest work: food. What are the dishes that “shocked” you and later became part of your animations?
My ideas don’t really come from eating, I’d rather say they come when I observe what I eat.. Food’s appearance fascinates me more than its taste. It’s like a ghost burst from the design of a dish. This is how it is born, totally spontaneous, a desire to “play” with food.
How do you choose the ingredients of your animations?
Mostly according to their shape and colour. I love creating shape and “colorimetric” matches, such as “le flamboisier” (a gateau made of marches, see photo): looking at the matches together I thought immediately of a raspberry. So I wanted to go further and I created a “sulfurically ironic” dessert that can even cause a heartburn…
In your short films irony comes from an amused look on colours, shapes, texture and the inner capacity of certain food to be transformed. What food fascinates you and seduces you more than anything else?
It’s food that fascinates most of us: chocolate for example is famous for its strange ability to trigger hunger only after seeing it! I think that this hidden hypnosis of my pictures and movies is the most powerful: I love it when people, no matter in what language, tell me that watching my works makes their mouth water!
A symbol of cosmogony, the soul of the world, a universal power, fertility: the egg has always been a strongly symbolic element and you often use it in your works (“making oeufs” “Oeuf cow” or the image with the lightbulb-egg) What eggs represent for you?
Eggs have always fascinated me because of their simplicity, their design and their symbolic connection with life, that can be found in all the cultures. Eggs are somewhat complete, from a nutritional point of view, but also for their (en)closed shape, and simple at the same time… And we all use them every day… To me, eggs are the real “stars” of our fridges!
Your ideas come from an intellectual process, they go through paper notes and they become real handmade constructions that after being photographed and animated are able to create pure illusion. How do you live this process?
Exactly, what I love is the intellectual process that leads to construction but also the “cut” from our everyday point of view, to give food a new beauty, highlighting its joyous or humorous aspects… it’s a research of the pleasant sensation of artistic and food “taste”. My photos, as well as my latest films, are actually a funny game that I play with the viewer, looking for a smile among words and images.
Your previous works were created using very different techniques, how did you get to the zoetrope techinique?
Optical toys (zoetropes, prazinoscopes etc) as well as the stop motion are reference points for me. They are the original and essential vocabulary of “animation”. These techniques are not only the forerunners of animated films, but of the whole cinema in general. And the reason why I use them today is the pursuit of magic and the illusion of movement.
Can you tell us an interesting story about your technique and the making of your films?
When I started working on “Food about you” I would never have imagined that 800.000 people would have seen it in just three days! Now it has more than 1.2 million views and I realize that really many people have liked it, and they support me and want me to create new projects. There is also a curious little statistic: “The Flamboisier” was created using 1475 matches assembled one by one and in my short film “Show co show” there are exactly 2011 grams of chocolate on the scale.
Where does the humorous aspect come from? Is it something that comes instinctively from your sketches or is it a frame that you create later around the work?
For me humour is something very natural, it is a part of me and it’s a reaction to the desire of making life more enjoyable. It’s an amused look on everyday life and on food that I invite to share. Meals afterall are enjoyable moments of the day so I liked the idea of expressing this pleasure with a game of words and shapes.
Zoetropes, praxinoscopes, phenakistiscopes, stroboscopic disks, magic lanterns. No compositing or CGI, but only traditional techniques, that goe back to Euclid: your food is als Not Aesthetically Modified?
Certainly, my works have a touch of irony towards our world of “food”, but after all, my main goal is to make people smile with hypnotic, light and sweet handmade works …
What filmmakers inspire you the most?
Many of them. For example, to create “Alimation” I immersed myself in Andreas Hykade’s universe. He used the idea of hypnotic animation with optical effects, especially in his latest work “love & theft”. I love this language that uses repetitions and evolution: it triggers almost a mystical perception of the power of animation in my eyes.
Is there any new project that you are literally cooking?
Absolutely yes, many of them! Photo projects, animation films but also films with actors. My next projects will be filled with pictures and desire to create and experiment more and more.
Your bookmarks: where do you like eating, in Paris or abroad? Some tips?
I think that if you want to convey emotions you have to feel emotions yourself. So my advice is to taste everything, from all the cultures of the world: I love fast food as well as haute cuisine, Japanese, Indian… In Paris like in all the big cities we have plenty of that.
What are your favourite dishes?
A simple soft-boiled egg, with its mouillettes satisfies me in its aesthetics and taste
Thank you Alexandre, before leaving, would you tell us your own recipe?
Here is my recipe of Œuf “Coq” (see photo)
“True œuf Coq (Box of 15 oeufs)”
Heat some water very slowly for 40 minutesRemove water from fire for some minutes and gently put the egg in, leave it there for 40 minutes to « Bain © Gilbert » (a technique that allows you to remove the shell in a particular way after cooking).While it’s cooking, prepare the presentation of the dish
Warning” A green tablecloth is necessary, as well as a chair with a regulation on the backrest.Once cooking is over, just sit at your table and enjoy your egg together with the unmissable buttered mouillettes.
Please note: an excessive consumption of Oeuf Coq can cause behavioural disorders!