A Talk with Nathalie Du Pasquier
I was struck by the variety of uses, forms and colours of those little bricks that defined the style of the Industrial Revolution.
A brick is a module?
Yes, it is the module par excellence; it is small, inexpensive, and with it you can build anything.
A brick is a word?
On its own, a brick says nothing. Only a twisted person like me could use it as an object and see the aesthetic qualities inside it.
Is a brick a sound?
Yes. If you toss it, or when it breaks. If you throw it at someone it can also bring about a human sound. George told me that master bricklayers use their trowels to test the “clink-clink” of the brick. If it goes “clonk-clonk” it means the brick is broken, so it should not be used for an important structure.
Is a brick a work of architecture?
Perforated bricks have this odd characteristic of seeming like buildings when you look at them. You can build a modern neighbourhood in miniature by putting some of these bricks together. In the end, they are hives, and we are simply pesky insects.
A brick is a landscape?
No, it is part of a landscape.
A brick is a space?
For an ant it is a space, for a bee it might be a bedroom.
Is a brick empty?
Is a brick a composition?
No, it can be used to make a composition.
Is a brick an image?
It perfectly represents the idea of the module, so we use the term when we want to talk about a structure made of equal modules.
Is a brick a way of thinking about ourselves in the world?
Yes, if we think of ourselves as each being a module that forms the world. It is a democratic idea, but we do not want to think that we are equal to all the others: we are all very irregular bricks; some want to make a wall, some a castle, others want to make a labyrinth...
How did your story “about bricks” get started?
I know nothing about bricks. For me they are strange, anonymous objects I have inserted sometimes in the still lives I paint.
Which building contains your ideal brick?
Maybe my first awareness of bricks came when I was starting my work as a designer in 1981, during a trip in Manchester and Leeds with George, who comes from that part of the world. We were looking at Victorian architecture. I was struck by the variety of uses, forms and colours of those little bricks that defined the style of the Industrial Revolution.
Is your brick physical or metaphysical?
The brick is PHYSICAL.