I am a painter, a photogtrapher, a performer, a writer.
I lived and studied in Paris from 1981 to 2010.
Sorbonne Paris I from 1981 to 1985 where I obtained my undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Arts Plastiques. I also attended L’Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (1983-85), took part in the workshop Les ateliers de la Grande Chaumière (cours du soir 1981-83) and followed lectures in philosophy at the University of Paris VIII with Gilles Deleuze (1981-83).
I went to seminaries au Collège de France with Michel Foucault and enlisted in the lectures by Séverine Auffret at the University of Caen on : « Les idées féministes, entre 2002 et 2004).
Between 1986 and 1990 I worked as a graphic designer for french newspapers, such as Vogue, Le Nouvel Observateur and Architecture Crée.
In 1990, I started to work as an indépendant artist and soon began to show my creations in various exhibitions across the world.
Main stages in my artistic career
From 1985 to 1999
My Works, mainly pictural motifs, are part of an anthropological and metaphysical research. I put MAN in the centre of Universe and paint him in relation to its closest relative : the animal.
I drew my inspiration in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, of whom I used to be an avid reader ; in the Works of Georges Bataille, as well as in the contemporary philosophy of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu.
I worked on the subject of ‘The First Man’ and the ‘Sysiphe’ as defined by Camus.
I pondered the idea of masculinity of the Human Being, after all don’t we live in a patriarcal type of society.
In order to involve towards the feminine, I first decided to work on the Man. I paint the body of Man, the manly body on canvas in an effort to understand what I am not , what is escaping me, but also as a tribute to him, to the Other.
Up to 1999 I have signed my paintings with my birthname Raymonde Philipps.
After my work on the Phallus (more than 500 pieces), I use the stage name of Ray Monde.
Since then I enlisted at La Maison des Artistes under the pseudonym of Ray Monde.
From 1999 to 2006
After a year of work on pagan icons (a series of 500 gold sheet icons on wood), I see in the blink of an eye, behind the phallus : La femme voilée (the veiled woman).
Having managed to represent Man (my first stage), I leave him behind to work on the Female iconography.
I used my own body and my image in this new search. I favourised temporarily photography ower paintings. The body , my body plays a very important rôle. It became my main tool, like a brush for a painter. I look at myself, at my image to find what I call the ‘Feminine’.
After many years of research, my Icon ‘ECCE FEMINA’ is created (second stage). It represents my body, as an X, and reminds one of the female chromosome. My new symbol becomes my signature mark.
My project is to represent women differently than the usual way in which they are traditionnaly depicted. I proceed to a deconstruction of the représentation of the fair sex.
I follow the lectures on Feminism given by Séverine Auffret at the University of Caen and study deeply the questions raised, though without claiming to be a feminist.
My goal is to discover what women really are by refusing the stereotyped représentations.
I have been publishing several books in that period :
- Anaïdeia, Paris 2002, entretiens avec Robert Fleck
- Confessions au cheval, éloge du chevalet, Editions éoliennes, Paris 2006
- Au-delà du Principe Phallique, Editions Ecce Femina
After a difficult moment in my private life, I start my third iconography: BB BOUDDHA
BB BOUDDHA is the mask of a baby born from the caresses I gave to a plaster during a15 day performance at my workshop. Then I write a novel about my life, a romanced autobiography.
BB BOUDDHA, Editions Thélès, Paris 2009. The book talks about my artistic journey, and my relation to art and the world of art.
From 2009 to 2010
I continue my work in photography and resume painting.
Working mainly outdoors, surrounded by nature’s most beautiful sights, the sea and the land, I let my inspiration fill gigantic canvas.
Not only I am trying to connect myself with Mother Earth,my paintings also talk about the ellusive aspect of the present, of the ephemerality of life.
Later, using my feet as a brush, I created a series of paintings called MARCHE (marche sur la lune, marche dans la mer, marche sur la terre, marche vers la lumière, etc….) / Walk ( Walk on the moon, walk on the sea, walk on the earth, walk towards the light...)
From 2010 onwards
Since 2010, the HAND has become the emblem, the symbol of my workshop as well as my main connection to the World. After all, the very first works of Art were painted hands on cave walls more than 20'000 years ago.
I then came up with the idea of the artistic project: Caress the World
CARESS THE WORLD 2013-2023
The artistic project 'CARESS THE WORLD' officially started at the North Pole on the 5th of July 2013 on board of the icebreaker 'Fifty Years of Victory'.
It will travel around the world until the South Pole. The whole project will be exhibited at the Biennale of Venice in 2023. Its aim is to promote the universality of Art, the beauty of our Earth and the power of the Human Spirit. Thus throughout the globe, from the most populated areas to the most secluded regions, one will soon be able to contemplate these hands caressing the world and uniting its inhabitants.
The project shall continue to travel around the blue planet….finishing in South Pole later in 2023 .
A summery including all stages of the journey will be presentented in 2023 at Venice Biennale.
To take part in this incredible journey and embrace the idea of 'CARESS THE WORLD', follow us…
Ideas about the early work
The work is centered around the body. It is a new way of living and thinking.
It is a philosophy of karma and kismet, with a restatement of the ancient saying: “Become what you are !”
In this context, her code of ethics is a special excitement of the body and soul, an intense joy radiated through well-established conventions. It is a sort of inner fortress, a construction that suffices to itself with a specific alchemy comprised of heightened awareness, perseverance and discretion. It has an origin and its own impetus; it is infinite in its subtleties, the vibration of an instant, and discourse on the swift passing of time.
It is a new form of responsibility that requires both civil and political peace, driven by an individual determination to improve one’s fate. It resides in a single thought, a sort of elevation. It advocates balance, precision, strength and harmony. It is the reflection of specific gestures and attitudes, a mirror to a frame of mind in pursuit of its vocation: elegance, taste, social niceties, courtesy, distinction and beauty. Before being an act of social utility, it is above all a refined attitude wedded to an aesthetic emotion. It is tantamount to an ongoing initiation, and adapts to those who know how to turn it to good account.
Her work is a code of ethics and a mystic process shared by cognoscenti. It is the fruit of an instinctive and spiritual process; it originates in the body, takes root in the earth, and resolutely promotes the energy and joy of “being.”
It pays tribute to ambition and elegance, and is resolutely creative…
It is philosophy in the name of sheer pleasure.
The key of search of Ray Monde is related to the posture that rips the veil asunder. Its strength is corporeal, and it is guided by the silent knowledge that communes with the universe. It should never be forgotten that, in a world that has lost it bearings, there still exist, scattered here and there, bringers of light, alchemists of burgeoning awareness.
Non-verbal communication, an alternative language…On the path of origins there are links far beyond knowledge, far beyond anthropology. These links can heal or kill, illuminate or blind.
The concern of the future and of remembrance of things past is the evolution of mankind, the very evolution of his awareness in his “being”.
It is this that allows us to speak about metamorphosis, an act of alchemy, a transmutation. The work of Ray Monde is to be found not only in this awakening turned towards the light but also in the use of a clear and explicit language. This language is swarming in brutality and “is” corporeal. It is the very body of the world.
Where the secret dwells
If we begin with the notion that man possesses a soul, then we assume the self-evident fact that he is the bearer of a secret. He is the bearer of a secret despite himself without, indeed, even realizing it. Certain individuals, here and there, are aware of this fact. This is why secret societies exist, and it is clear that a secret society is essentially defined by what it hides from others. It is like an icon not based on imitation but on “Vision”. The icon expands perception of what cannot be seen or given a name…
And if we were merely a fragment of the Earth ?
In certain periods of History – just as in different parts of the world – there prevails the idea that the body (the anthropological body, but also animal and vegetable existence) is merely material in nature, a fragment of the world, that there exists neither birth nor death. The succession of generations would then merely acquire the status of a huge cosmic dance far beyond the grasp of the living.
The almost universally shared obsession today with a perfectly formed, ideal body – ultimately, the notion of a divine body – still belongs (in the West, at least) to that old belief in its transcendent model.
Now, at last, it is time to dispense with common sense, and transcend our existence in a discourse replete with light. As such, the world of Ray Monde will be the genesis of a reversal of values with a focus on matter, earth, mass, mud and body parts.
For a tutored eye, the work of Ray Monde acquires the status of a greeting to the sun and a eulogy of the earth; it becomes deeply-rooted truth.