The artistic practice of Yoan Sorin (Cholet, France, 1982) is embedded in ornamental aesthetics, references to pop culture and collage. Sorin expresses himself through a variety of formats such as drawing, installation or performance. In five questions, Contemporary And América Latina (C&AL) author Frédréric Emprou took a journey through the works of the French artist with Martinican roots.
C&AL: How did art enter your life? I know you used to play basketball on a competitive level. What made you decide to go to art school?
Yoan Sorin: I come from a modest background where what most consider the oficial culture had no place; it was something that didn’t speak to us. I grew up listening to my mother’s and grandmother’s records of bélè, biguine y zouk [rhythms from the French West Indies: Guadalupe and Martinique], as well as my father’s punk-rock albums. Then, in my teens, I discovered rap music. It is true that I practiced basketball on a high level. I always saw my grandfather, the boxer François Pavilla, as a performer, as a dancer. It made me realize how the body can take on the role of an emotional amplifier so to speak. Art history and painting came later, through art books and magazines.
Art school allowed me to get in touch with different printing, painting and drawing techniques. At first I was nourished by images whose context was often unknown to me: I represented and redrew everything around me, I wrote down the phrases I understood. The idea was to explore the most absurd associations and see what happened. This notion of collage came to me very early, as a way of building bridges between the culture I was familiar with, or rather the popular culture, and the new culture I was just getting to know.