Les Solèls de Trovic
A hand-stitched journey of discovery
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Les Solèls de Trovic

Mosaïque de Solèls - Les Solèls de Jacques Trovic, une odyssée cousue main
Mosaïque de Solèls - Les Solèls de Jacques Trovic, une odyssée cousue main

The pitch

This documentary tells the story of a man born in 1948 in a town located in the North of France: Anzin. A city of the end of the mines and the dying steel industry. As from he was a teenager, on the dark kitchen table of his mineworkers' house, he created a luminous and colourful work, despite his handicaps and his rough and modest environment.

His mosaics, his tapestries made of patchworks and embroideries show a joyful universe which Trovic feels is dying out. Was his handicap, his epilepsy, the founding circumstance of his work, but also what painfully broke his aspiration to join the ordinary human community? This tension, together with his unwavering attachment to the history and culture of his native North, will be at the heart of the issue developped through this documentary.

17 mai 2018. Atelier d'art du Centre: la Pommeraie (B). Jacques Trovic répond aux questions de Francine Auger-Rey
17 mai 2018. Atelier d'art du Centre: la Pommeraie (B). Jacques Trovic répond aux questions de Francine Auger-Rey

The project

I had decided to document some artists from the northern region of France, and Jacques Trovic had been indicated to me as a must.

The project was then to make a radio broadcast and a video-slide show. I recorded his words and answers during 3 visits I made to Bruno Gérard's art studio at the Pommeraie (B) occupational home. We were to meet again in November. But Jacques died suddenly at the age of 70 on 27 October 2018.

I had been struck by his attachment to continue talking about his work. I was also moved by his undeniable awareness of the value of his work and the very stifled way in which he tried to express it, his addiction being very great.

His death and the fervour of all those who knew him made it urgent and possible to produce a documentary essay to translate in a sensitive way what I was discovering: the tension of an existence oscillating between marginality and impetus towards the human community, between the confined space of a coroner's kitchen where he produced most of his work, and the luminous space of the world, as it appeared to the artist.

It is therefore from the testimonies of those who saw him live that I understood that this artist had transcended all the "impediments" of his condition by the meticulous construction, hour after hour, of a major work. It became necessary to free him from a reductive image of a naïve artist devoted to folklore and to the reassuring and stale image of an infantilized North.

It is clear that this project must contribute to the reappropriation of a work by a territory which, although it has regularly organised exhibitions of Jacques Trovic's work and paid tribute to him throughout his life, has not yet given official recognition to his work (a dedicated place, the creation of a catalogue raisonné, research and studies on his work, preservation of his archives).
The documentary could contribute to these objectives.

1983 : Jacques Trovic étale ses oeuvres au pied du coron d'Anzin. Photo © Jean-Pierre Kocherhans
1983 : Jacques Trovic étale ses oeuvres au pied du coron d'Anzin. Photo © Jean-Pierre Kocherhans

State of play

In October 2020, 7 days of shooting have already been completed, and 6 days are scheduled for November and December 2021. To support the communication around the project, the decision to create a website dedicated to the documentary is taken, it is published in November 2021.

Since the first reflections and the beginning of the research, the first meetings and interviews carried out towards the end of 2018, what a beautiful journey in the company of the artist Trovic, he is always pulsating with life and his work abounds with colours! We are already at the time of the editing and post-production planned for 2022. With the film team, your support and that of the project partners, the time to share this beautiful story is coming, soon to the screens...

Key dates

A decisive meeting

I met the artist Jacques Trovic at the Pommeraie occupational home in Belgium. The project was to produce a video-slideshow and a radio programme. I had to see him two more times. Appointment is taken for November 2018.

Jacques Trovic dies in Ath, Belgium.

I decide to continue the project, to direct it towards a documentary production on the life and work of this artist. I start the research, meetings and interviews.

Research

220 people who knew or worked with Jacques Trovic are contacted, 50 face-to-face interviews are carried out.

First supporters

The Board of Directors of the Trans-Arts Association votes to support the project. Pictanovo, through the Emergence Fund, grants a 5360€ subsidy.

The team. First shoots

The filming team is being formed: Emmanuel Dehaene as chief cameraman, Jean Marie Daleux as sound engineer and Virna Gravina as technical assistant.

Scouting

The final scouting takes place.

Start of shooting

Shooting of the first interviews in Lille and Paris in the turmoil of the Covid pandemic.

The team is growing

Jean Pierre Kocherhans: photographer and webmaster, he takes photos of the works and creates the documentary website. Marielle Lemarchand (author, translator and TV series adaptor) supervises the writing of the filmic narrative

Filming, financing and web communication

2nd period of filming and website developpment, launch of crowdfunding for this phase of the documentary.