Martinon’s passion for the arts stems from his affinity for rock music and graffiti. “I am what we call in France an enfant du rock,” he says. “When I was younger, I was a real rock ’n’ roll encyclopedia! I also got interested very early by US rap, around 1985, before it was really known in Europe.”
No doubt the French Consulate will promote music during Martinon’s L.A. residency; his office is already hard at work preparing lots of gorgeous performing arts events, including an electronic music festival. “I am pleased to welcome very soon Emilie Simon, known for the soundtrack of March of the Penguins,” says Martinon. “The Make Music Pasadena—a Fête de la Musique event—was a success last year, and we are working on its extension to all of the LA area with the very open spirit that made its success in France.”
“In terms of contemporary art, I grew up in the 80s in Paris with the Figuration Libre movement, and I am sensitive to the work of Hervé di Rosa,” reveals the consul general. “His sculptures are tremendous.”
Martinon also cites Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat among his favorite artists. “I have also recently developed an interest in video, and I am keen on Pierre Huyghe’s work,” he adds.
Major French artists like Louise Bourgeois and Christian Boltanski are regularly exhibited in L.A., and the French Consulate has many projects to promote the new contemporary art scene. Recently, with the program Jeunes Talents, eight young American photographers were invited to go to France for ten days. When they came back, their photographs were unveiled at Louis Stern Fine Arts in West Hollywood.
“For me, it’s a blessing to be in the capital of cinema and, in a few days, we are inviting famous American screenwriters to come to France,” says Martinon. “We wish that France will inspire them!”