I have never had the pleasure of diving underwater and it is perhaps unlikely that I will be doing so in the near future. However, to some extent I don`t need to. Andre Laban is one of the world`s most famous divers. He spent many , many hours underwater. But he has done more than this. He has provided for us land lovers an insight into the underwater experience in his paintings. These are not ordinary paintings. Andre Laban was the first person to consider taking his canvas underwater and painting in situ. True. The paintings that you see on this site were made underwater. Using oil paint of course.
Andre has explained to me why he did this. Like all great artists Andre is passionate about observation. When he was diving he could see the intensity of the blue around him. However, when he tried to capture this sensation in photographs there was something missing. The images did not really capture the sensation of being underwater. The blues were not as intense. He therefore did exactly what Turner would have done (if he had had the technology), he took his canvas underwater and painted what he saw.
I once had the pleasure of exhibiting some of Andre`s underwater paintings in my gallery in the South West of France. The lighting in the gallery was perfect. At night I could go into the gallery and stare at the amazing paintings before me and feel as if I was below water. I could almost hear the sound of the ocean.
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Andre Laban is a genius. I am not joking. This man who worked for twenty years on the Calypso with Jacques Cousteau is a polymath in the true sense of the word. He is an engineer, film maker, painter, sculptor, musician, writer, cook and photographer. I am lucky to have met him six years ago in the small medieval village of St Antonin Noble Val in the South West of France. I had no idea about his background but there was something in his manner that drew me to him. Andre is not someone who likes idle chatter. However, he loves a good joke. In this blog I will try and capture some of the genius of this man.