Rebecca Campeau, a Franco-Brazilian artist, began her career by drawing and making art objects out of cardboard, fabric or paper. In 1985, she participated in the adventure of the Atelier des 3 Coups. L’Atelier des 3 Coups does scenography for museographic and artistic exhibitions.
She collaborated on several ethnographic exhibitions at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. She also worked with Claude Levi-Strauss.
“Meeting Levi-Strauss was a privilege for me. His calm, kindness and availability touched me. He had a particular way of seeing things. Thanks to him, I discovered new materials such as feathers, fruit stones and prints.”
Since this major encounter with Levi-Strauss, Rebecca Campeau has never ceased to integrate a multitude of recovered, diverted and transformed materials into her works.
Indeed, to look at one of Rebecca Campeau’s large textile works is to discover numerous small objects recycled into elements of art: parts of old cameras, crab claws, shells, zips, lead soldiers, pearls, coral, chains, golden safety pins…
Rebecca Campeau hunts, recovers, recycles and stores all these objects in her Belleville workshop, often for years, before using them.
“Sometimes people also give me objects to incorporate into the works they buy from me. A mother’s watch, an old piece of family jewellery, buttons from a child’s clothes… all these objects end up inhabiting my works.”
“It’s swarming, it’s swarming. They are all here. They have made an appointment to meet at Rebecca Campeau’s house. Standing, sitting, under glittering bells, locked in cages, hand in hand, life-size or miniature, haughty, proud, friendly, sometimes indifferent…”.
It is not only materials and objects that abound with Rebecca Campeau. Her creative universe is also overflowing with characters painted, glued, sewn or sculpted in fabric.
Entering her studio in Belleville is a breathtaking experience as it is filled with thousands of faces, trognes, portraits, women, men but also animals, as in a cabinet of curiosities with a late 19th century or early 20th century atmosphere.
“I love this era and I’m passionate about old materials and costumes. I love saving old things. I’ve seen so many old things disappear it’s sad.”
We discover famous people such as Van Gogh, Flaubert, Proust or La Goulue (famous dancer at the Moulin Rouge and muse of painters such as Toulouse-Lautrec), but also a multitude of anonymous people.
A link with Tardi and Adèle Blanc-Sec?
Rebecca Campeau’s world sometimes evokes that of the heroine Adèle Blanc-Sec by the comic artist Tardi. Same atmosphere and same faces.
Overwhelming creativity and energy
We had the chance to meet this wonderful artist in her studio and were impressed by her exuberant energy.
Rebecca Campeau has an inexhaustible inner energy. This creative vitality characterises her personality as much as her work: vivid and accelerated strokes and stitches. In fact, Rebecca Campeau never stops in life or in her creations!
She talks to us in front of one of her works and at the same time readjusts it as if she were still finishing it !
She offers us coffee and biscuits and at the same time rewires a beautiful electrical installation of two large fabric figures!
We turn our heads, and there she is with a hammer, hammering a nail to hang a work she wants to show us!
But this extraordinary vitality does not overwhelm. Rebecca Campeau remains a discreet woman when it comes to talking about herself.
A beautiful meeting on a Sunday in Belleville.