Yann Queffélec's life & works

Yann Queffélec was a french artist and film maker born in 1965. He took on drawing sketches and painting during his studies at the Art School of Quimper first, in Finistère, at the western tip of Brittany, and later of Nantes. But his early interests rather lead him to focus on the cinema culture. He experienced video as a form of art at a time when, back in the mid-1980’s, it was not even regarded as one by the art teachers and critics. Still, Yann Queffélec pursued his task of filming differently, some how influenced by Jean-Luc Godard and later by the world-renowned documentarist an anthropologist Jean Rouch, whom he admired and met twice.

From the nineties on, he worked regularly with documentarists in the breton region like Eric Pittard, Thierry Lemerre or Michel Dupuy, often as assistant filmmaker. These were times of great freedom of creation but of little recognition, as only few festivals, like the one in Lussas, opened their gates then to the creative documentary made by filmmaking authors, independent from the main TV channels.

In the meantime, Yann Queffélec always kept some periods available for painting, and presenting his work in galleries, fairs and exhibitions. By 2007, he decided to start his own filmmaking and signed two major poetic documentaries, both set on rather isolated grounds : the archipelago of Glenan, off the southern coast of Finistère in Atlantic ocean, and the island of Louët, near Morlaix, in the Channel. There, he found not only a matter to explore nature through animated image and sound, he discovered a whole new way of looking at the world and, subsequently, of painting. Gathering the writings an sayings of great artists and philosophers he always referred to, he went beyond representation, beyond the very notion of realism versus abstraction. And he decided to give away colors and to use only black acrylic paint, from the darkest, thickest layer to the light, almost imperceptible dilution of gray.

His marine landscapes stretched then on either side of a new shady, misty horizon, sometimes puzzling the viewer to the point of not knowing what the eye embraces, wether it is air, sand or sea, all drowned in the melancholic mix of light grays. Yann Queffélec also painted night skies, stars and comets speeding through space, as he was truly moved by mystery of our Man’s place in the universe.

His works gathered a growing interest amongst the art lovers, and from the mid-2000’s, he would hold exhibits on a very regular basis in the galleries he liked to work with in the cities of Quimper, Concarneau, Saint-Malo, Audierne, Nantes or Brest and of course Paris. Some of his works were also on show in Abu Dhabi, and he has sold many works in many countries of Western Europe.

Yann Queffélec was very fond of hiking and climbing. He suddenly died while climbing Peak Coolidge in the Alps in 2018, at the early age of 52.