Jacques Schneider: Bringing the Lion to Life
Art is constantly changing, while remaining essential to human happiness. We talked to Luxembourgish artist Jacques Schneider about his work and the role of art in society. Interview.
Can you describe your creative process? How do you find inspiration?
When I photograph someone, I try to show empathy. Everyone is different, and that's what makes each photographer charming: each has their own art, empathy, and signature... Everything inspires me, I'm a giant sponge. And if what I imagine works, great! If it doesn't, so be it! I refuse to force things or stress. Even when fulfilling commissions, creation must remain innate; the idea must be evident. Otherwise, it needs a change. This applies across all domains: look at the photographer, they have their red thread of 'how do I create a quality shoot?' That shouldn't be altered, risking ruining the setup. The most challenging thing in society is not following the flow but following oneself. Being able to do so isn't always straightforward: familial obligations, financial, professional, they can all make this difficult. It's not easy to say, 'I'm truly doing what's deep inside me.'
“My work is like a magnifying glass; when someone faces me, I hand it to them to look at everyday objects they might not usually examine."
How do you see the role of art in modern society?
In a way, we live immersed in art, but we don't fully realize it. I'm convinced its role hasn't changed. Since the dawn of humanity, humans have always sought beauty and joy, and today's art doesn't have more merit than yesterday's or tomorrow's. Look at the 1920s: airplanes, cars, buildings... the standards weren't the same as today, but artists were drawing those plans. The artist has a message to convey, be it political, societal, or a personal impulse; the artist seeks to transmit. This is where the atmospheric change occurs, where the question of what I want to do arises. I believe that the most important thing is to convey a vision, information, and a different perspective. My work is like a magnifying glass; when someone faces me, I hand it to them to look at everyday objects they might not usually examine, to make them question those objects.
Tell us about the 'Léif Léiw'.
I've often pondered the potential of national symbols, particularly with regards to my lion. The idea struck me to create it as a personal emblem, 'Léif Léiw,' the kind lion. Its function is that of a protector, a symbol of good luck beyond mere merchandising. We collaborated with a workshop in France that creates engraved medals, with my lion on a 25-centimeter punch, which I will strike myself. The idea is to possess a good luck charm. When I see people participating in the Olympics wearing socks with my lion, or even giant lion tattoos on their backs, it's an indescribable feeling!