Alfred Rambaud & Joseph Lauga

There exists beneath the sponsored hierarchy of famous young artists, a world where creativity and talent go almost unnoticed in their nascent phase. In a six-story house in Dalston with crumbling ceilings and little furniture, Alfred Rambaud, 21, and Joseph Lauga, 21, live out their dream: to create Art.

…the grime, the suggestions of a questionable lifestyle, and above all the adolescent beauty

Every floor of this studio-cum-gallery-cum-home is filled with paintings, installations, sculptures, and the odd artist.  As one ascends the stairs, painted figures on the wall stare straight out at you. Chained to some hook in the darkness, an installation emerges from the chimney flue; its blank white face staring out from a spiral of coloured cloth.

Rambaud, a third year Film and Literature student at the University of London, moved into the building in September. Since then it has become an epicentre for the prolific work of student artists such as himself. With the grime, the suggestions of a questionable lifestyle, and above all the adolescent beauty, this house and its occupants epitomize the young Art world. Rambaud’s passion? Experimental film.


Photo by Dmitry Lapidus


Rambaud was playing with cameras from the age of fifteen. Six years on, the young filmmaker displays a promising and original style. A true eccentric, he asserts that his studies have not affected his taste. Rambaud showed me one of his experimental films: Winter Salt Stocks are Low Too, a thirteen-minute short that lulled me and my photographer into a silent trance. It depicts a live film strip of women at a lake, but the footage is obscured by scratches and colouration and its temporal aspect distorted through an irregular cadence. It seems as though the alluring subject matter is struggling to be seen.

Rambaud’s method involves the use of an editing table, a piece of equipment that magnifies images from film strips. He moves the film – in this case an 8-millimeter sample strip – back and forth underneath the magnifying lens and each frame is displayed on a small screen. This screen is then filmed from a tripod while experimental music is played, resulting in a continuous video. Before being placed under the editing table the 8-mills are broken, scratched, and defaced with ink: la ciselure d’image which can be found in Letterist film of the 1950s.

Unlike Letterism, however, Rambaud’s work does not invoke discord and shock, but rather harmony and serene beauty. The influence of one of his favourite filmmakers, Patrick Bokanowski, is apparent in its abstraction and transfixing repetition, but Rambaud, who does not consider classical narrative film to be Art, creates something that employs even less narrative structure than Bokanowski.

Rambaud has also collaborated with dubstep artist LeBelgeElectrod to create a wildly experimental music video, Travel in Bunny’s Ass, which can be found on Vimeo. Though he aims to make a career of film-making one day, he remarks that “[making Art] is a lot scarier when you do it on your own.”


Photo by Dmitry Lapidus


Lauga, on the other hand, has no desire to make his art into a career. In order to sell Art you need to convince others of its quality, he says, and this is not his aim. He told me in one simple, beautiful sentence, “I want to do nothing in my life, and in the nothing I want to paint.” After choosing to leave his foundation year in Paris he has no plans to go back to university.

As an artist who scorns Realism and sees categorization as little more than a way to facilitate the sale of one’s paintings, Lauga talks about his work as a way of thinking: “Art is the psychoanalysis of the painter. We can’t know what Art is,” he asserts, “we have people who make Art of cutting themselves.” Indeed for Lauga, who may sometimes cry while painting, Art can be a way of coping with problems.

Using a combination of spray-paints and markers, his work resembles both Street Art and Outsider Art (Art Brut) but is in no way devoid of originality. Lauga’s colourful stock of paintings is filled not with representations, but abstract figurations.

Lauga’s story kicked off when he was sixteen, discovering his passion for graffiti. Lauga has produced eleven paintings since moving into the building in September, although his pieces are constantly changing. While he appreciates the support he gets from his father, he does not share his aims of monetary success. “My choice of life is mine,” he shrugs.


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