FRENCH STUDENT MATIS LEGGRIADO IN CONVERSATION WITH CATHY BELL
Matis Leggiadro is a student of History of Art, he lives in the southern French city of Albi. Matis is passionately concerned that art and culture should be for everyone. His belief in this concept led him to create the website HISTAL M, this multi-media project includes a YouTube channel, radio station, Instagram and various other projects such as exhibitions and conferences. In short, HISTAL M is a platform dedicated to promoting democracy in art and, therefore, actively challenging the status quo - the challenge is to "do better". This is one of the reasons why I have joined Matis's team and why we collaborate on projects together, our aim is to bring these issues to public attention. I asked Matis a few questions in order to better understand his reasons for the creation of HISTAL M and what is thoughts are in the situation on general.
CB You are studying History of Art, does this have any connection to why you created HISTAL M?
ML Indeed I study the History of Art but this has no connection with the creation of HISTAL M. I founded this media before studying the History of Art. On the other hand, it was thanks to the history courses of Guillaume Gras (historian and professor of modern history at the Champollion University of Albi) that I received at the college that the desire to found HISTAL M came to me.
CB Can you explain what you are trying to achieve with HISTAL M?
ML I have a very global vision of things. My goal is therefore to allow individuals to encounter art and history. I deeply believe that culture is fundamental to the future of our civilization because it is the proof of our humanity and our intelligence. History is the learning of the past that makes up our present and art is the human gaze on his world at a specific moment. The two are complementary. I want to allow very different audiences to discover this two major concepts. That’s why I am specifically interested in my territory: Albi. It is quite interesting to look at what is happening in our city because that is where our daily life is. Once this step is completed...the world becomes more accessible and it opens its doors to you.
CB You and I have similar aims, do you think this is helpful for us to share ideas and experiences?
ML Our ideas are indeed similar and I think it is very relevant to share them and to question our experiences. It’s a great way to enrich and stimulate each other. Creation doesn’t really have any limits because it comes from imagination and I think we create.
CB Also, do you think it is helpful for people in general to work together for the purpose of building a democratic platform for the arts?
ML That’s a very interesting question, and I think the answer is yes. I have the chance to work with other great people for an artistic media whose purpose and allow young people to meet the art: "8 Vestibule". I think there would be some hypocrisy with the idea of setting up a democratic platform by being alone.
CB What issues occur in France that spoil or set-back democratic access to the arts and culture?
ML The rather obvious problem in France is that most museums in the provinces are too exclusive. Sometimes you feel that if you are not a specialist you cannot understand, because nothing (or too little) is done for everyone to understand.
CB From what you know about where I live in Scotland – do you think there are also issues that need to be addressed?
ML I think, Cathy, that people in your area do not understand the urgency of the situation. There is a quote in French that says: "A force de sacrifier l'essentiel pour l'urgence, on finit par oublier l'urgence de l'essentiel." (Edgar Morin, La Méthode). If we translate the quote, it says: "By sacrificing the essential for the emergency, we end up forgetting the urgency of the essential." I think that’s what’s happening in Livingston.
CB What would you say to people of your age in Scotland regarding the situation the situation – that is – do you have any advice for them based on your own experience?
ML I’m going to talk to them directly and hope they’ll read this : Do you guys like music? I guess so. Why? I imagine that by listening to music you disconnect from life, you are in your world, as if liberated. You know why I tell you this? This is what art is for, to emancipate itself, to open itself to its world and sometimes to the world simply... and without it how to be fulfilled and happy in our society? Think about that, please. If I have any advice to give you, I’ll tell you : believe in yourself and your ideas !
CB Finally, you actively work with the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Association in Roussilon (France). Can you explain your thoughts about him (and his wife Margaret)?
ML What do I think about Mackintosh and Margaret? That’s a question I’m having a hard time answering. I have had an artistic crush and I think that their couple was deeply, artistically, visionary.