In the heart of the village of Trappes, an unusual place, steeped in history. If the walls of this centuries-old house could talk, they would undoubtedly have a lot to say. Like their owner, Marc Giai-Miniet. It was there that he received La Gazette, at the beginning of July in his lifelong studio, installed in this property where he was born, in 1946. “My grandfather, who bought this house, gave it to his two children, and my father bought out my aunt’s share. My father was not born in this house. It was born in 1918, so my grandfather must not have bought it yet. He must have bought it in the 1920s. We’ve been there for a century, ”says the 76-year-old artist, son of a worker from Italian and Slovak immigration.
Painter, engraver, “fitter”, Marc Giai-Miniet has several specialties. But above all a passion for art that dates back to his 11 years. “It was a teacher who had set up an exhibition of color reproductions of Rembrandt. It was quite well done. He was of Dutch origin, and he spoke quite passionately about this painter. He made us draw a lot, so it was through him, you could say, that I had a vocation,” he recalls. Adding that he was “not at all destined to become a painter, I did not know what it was”.
Marc Giai-Miniet took his first steps in art in a small drawing school in Paris, before entering the Beaux-Arts in Caen and then in Paris. “I went straight into the workshops. When you get there, you already have your job, he explains. Afterwards, it’s a question of finding what you are yourself, what you call style, a style of writing, and above all, trying to understand what you’re trying to do, because it’s long to find yourself. That’s why painters have a lot of trial and error. »
And it was felt by Marc Giai-Miniet, even decades later, just under 30 years ago, when he started creating his boxes. “In painting, I was missing that discourse, on light, on shadow, on literature”, explains-
he. Even if it is also a serious health problem that led him to turn to this type of creation. “In 1995, I had a heart attack, I had surgery, and it tired me. I couldn’t paint so much, wave my arms, climb on the stepladder… I started making little boxes, remembering that I almost became a theater decorator. I love theatre, these recompositions of winter, these closed spaces where all the human drama happens, confides the artist. It inspired me a lot, and the boxes got bigger and bigger. »
These boxes would almost look like dollhouses at first sight, but they are not a toy but a work of art. There are several levels represented with often, in the upper floors, libraries, then ladders descending to the lower levels, where the elements are much darker. “The book represents both the memory of men and literature, intelligence, spirituality, and light, details Marc Giai-Miniet. The bottom of the boxes are the sewers. Besides, it’s a bit like man, let’s imagine the brain of man [en haut]and the sewers below, like the gut, from the brain to the outlet. […] The deeper you go into the belly of the Earth, the darker it gets. And we know very well that the belly of the Earth is our own interior. »
Among the elements evoked through these boxes, libraries in danger, immigration, or even coercion. In total, Marc Giai-Miniet stores around fifty boxes in his Trappist studio. Very often with the desire to convey this message: “The world is worrying, and men are especially worrying. This is also found in his other works, because in addition to the boxes, the artist has produced some 500 paintings, including watercolors, creations which now occupy the majority.
Very attached to the place of painting in and around SQY, Marc Giai-Miniet founded the association Regard parole in 1973, still believing that there is “no space for painting in this territory. The association now has 28 artists, and will be exhibiting in Houdan at the start of the school year. Marc Giai-Miniet also donated two paintings to the SQY conurbation several years ago. He also plans to donate works to the city of Trappes. Father of two daughters, he also hopes that his children will keep the family workshop-house going. “They are attached to it, but the house, is it keepable? What do we do with these things? It would be a shame if it ended in the dumpster. That’s why I don’t hesitate to donate to the city of Trappes. »