The Re Gallery NYC – LOST GEM
One would not suspect a popular French singer to be holed up in an unassuming studio on 36th Street. Nor would one suspect that this renowned singer with twenty-five albums would also be an avid visual artist and a poet about to go on tour to further his musical career. Stepping into ReGallery, we met this multitalented man, CharlElie, who offered us a taste of his fascinating perspective on art, creativity, and New York City.
CharlElie settled in Manhattan with his wife and daughters in 2003, opening ReGallery a few years later. This is not a structured gallery, but might be better described as a space where CharlElie enjoys meeting curious passersby while continuing to work on his art. He finds it to be considerably less confining. CharlElie opened the Re with the purpose of escaping his isolating label as a singer back in France and to have a place where his art could be appreciated and removed from his celebrity status there. “I feel more respect from people who don’t know anything about me. I was frozen in a certain image that people had of me as a singer.”
CharlElie is someone who actively practices various forms of artistic expression, which he calls “multism,” meaning that it is the inspiration, and not the execution that is important. “To be an artist is an attitude, a way of being,” he told us. His long career as a painter, poet and musician commenced at a young age when his grandmother began to teach him to play the piano, his mom inspired his interest in literature, and his dad, an art history professor, instilled the love of all things visual.
When asked if he has a particular passion for one form of art over another, CharlElie was explicit in his belief that each of his talents is distinct. “What I do when I’m writing music or a poem is quite different than what I’m expressing as a painter.” He described it as being similar to a triathlete’s mindset of doing each activity fully and to the maximum extent, while keeping each one separate. “You give all you have wherever you are. When I’m on stage, I’m only a singer; when I’m a painter, I’m only a painter; when I’m a poet, I’m only a poet.” The multi-talented artist does not think that actively pursuing so many forms of creative expression limits his expertise. “Lots of people think that if they do one and only one thing they’ll do it well, and my response is you see better if you have two eyes.”
Art is a powerful, emotional, and personal experience for CharlElie. “Every gesture has a meaning when I do a painting…every kind of art is like frozen, petrified emotions. It’s good to see the inside coming outside. When I see my own painting, I see it as if someone else did it. I almost forget that’s me.” This perspective of himself as an artist falls under the classification of what he says some have called abstract narrative, or neo-constructivist. The “conjunction of reality and the inner mystery” holds great intrigue for him, and he went on in detail about varying subjective interpretations based on one physical, undeniable reality: “Any kind of presentation comes from yourself, and is the shaping of your inner mystery.”
New York City holds a special place in CharlElie’s “veins, heart, and soul,” as it serves as a constant stream of inspiration for him. He described the city as a human being, and as a stimulating environment where people come to reinvent themselves. “I always say that in France, you live well, but you feel bad. Here, you live bad, but you feel good…The pressure you feel in this city obliges you to go further.”
CharlElie said he sees the whole world through the door of his gallery on 36th Street. What an incredible opportunity for anyone who takes a step inside that door to experience the palpable passion he has for all the creative potential this world – this city—holds for him. As CharlElie so perfectly phrased it, both in regard to his heart and his art, “there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.”