IN THE VICINITY OF THE STADIUM, ON THE WALL LOCATED ON ROUTE DE LORIENT, PORTRAITS OF SEVERAL FORMER RED AND BLACK PLAYERS APPEAR ONE AFTER THE OTHER. EACH POSTER COMES FROM THE STUDIO OF A WELL-KNOWN ARTIST IN RENNES, PATRICE POCH. THE PLAYERS SELECTED ECHO ANECDOTES SHARED IN THE FEATURE FILM AU FER ROUGE (DUE FOR RELEASE AT THE END OF THE YEAR). MEETING.
Patrice, first of all, can you introduce yourself?
I started stencilling in 1988 in the Paris suburbs, before taking up graffiti the following year. I then gradually turned my attention to visual art. I left Paris to move to Rennes in the early 2000s, so you could say I'm an adopted Rennais!
What motivated your decision to settle in Rennes?
It's a city that's associated with rock culture, and music plays an important part in my practice, even though I'm not a musician. Maybe it's a way of compensating for that (laughs). I wanted to do something in this field, and through painting and drawing, I managed to create a bridge between the two worlds. What's more, when I came to Rennes, it was also the fact of discovering new territories that motivated me. Finally, when I arrived here, urban art wasn't at its peak. It was a bit of a virgin territory where I could express myself at will.
Has it changed a lot?
The situation for urban art as a whole changed in the 2000s. There is now more recognition for this discipline than in the 80s and 90s... But there's still a lot to be done to organise it better.
What inspires you?
As I said before, I draw my inspiration mainly from music. I'm thinking in particular of the punk-rock culture that I like to highlight in my work. I do a lot of research into the Breton and French-speaking punk rock scene for my paintings and other projects. I've also set up a label (Poch Records) to strengthen this link with the music I love, and I do all the album covers for the label.
So working on the theme of football is bound to change things!
It's true that this is the first time I've tackled it. To be honest, I don't have much of a football culture. On the other hand, I've already got my foot in the door of the Red and Black because in the early 2000s, I was lucky enough to paint the bar at the Roazhon Celtic Kop.
How did the portrait project come about?
I was already in contact with several of the stadium's employees, and I immediately liked the idea of the stencils. Initially, the plan was to do a street route, like what I do for punk rock. But given the current health situation, we decided to use the wall around the stadium instead. Over the course of the discussions, the idea that came up quite quickly was to do portraits similar to the Panini vignettes: it's a model that appeals to all generations.
How do you go about creating a portrait?
I have a selection of photos at my disposal. I work on the portrait on the computer before redrawing the face in large format. Then I cut out several stencils (grey, black, white, red and burgundy) so that I can spray paint each colour. I then superimpose them and the face appears. It takes 3 to 4 days for a portrait like the ones on display on Route de Lorient.
This wall in front of the stadium is ideally situated...
It refocuses the subjects at the heart of the theme and I think that it also helps to sustain the project over time, more so than if the portraits had been hung in different streets. We'll see what happens over time. They can deteriorate despite the protection. In any case, the feedback has been pretty positive!
Have you had a chance to have a look at the comments?
I see them mostly on the club's Facebook page. I like the speculation about who will be next, it's quite funny.
Haven't these portraits brought you closer to SRFC?
You could say that I'm discovering players I didn't know at all. I really enjoy the historical aspect of these portraits. Generally speaking, my work allows me to make a link with history. Even if I'm not a football fan, there are always very interesting things to learn. The comments from the public allow me to find out more about the exploits and personalities of each player. For example, I understand that Wiltord is quite a party animal! (laughs).
These 120 years have also given pride of place to art, with the statue of Jean Prouff now enthroned at Roazhon Park...
It's true that sculpture is something that's a long way from my work, but I thought the way the statue was placed in the stands next to the public was really nice. It's a great project.