Luis Porquet Graeme Allwright
Luis Porquet (à gauche) avec Graeme Allwright dans les coulisses de l'Espace Duchamp-Villon, à Rouen
Photo: Claude Bernard HARENS
Of Spanish origin on his mother's side, and French on his father's, Luis PORQUET was born in Elbeuf-sur-Seine on February 23rd, 1949. Raised by his grandmother until he was four, he was not aware of the Oedipus complex so dear to Mr. Freud. He was studious, quiet and rather lonely during his childhood, at which time his love of books and the arts manifested itself quite naturally. Novels by James Oliver Curwood, Jack London, Alain Gerbault and Jules Verne coexisted on his shelves alongside books devoted to natural science, the universe and aviation. He considered himself as fairly scientific, passionate about discoveries, astronomy, and the animal world, especially that of birds. He was said to be good at drawing and his taste for the French language did not escape his teachers' notice. At the Collège Ferdinand Buisson in Elbeuf, he won the Herzog Prize.

Poetry took hold of him at high school. Like Rimbaud at his age, he experienced rebellion and doubt. He felt as though the world was not corresponding to his dreams. In 1966, he discovered the songs of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Léo Ferré. His interest in this mode of expression combined with his attraction to poetry. At the age of twenty, he published his first texts, following a national competition. Other publications would follow in a review directed by the actor Jean Richard. His career was taking off. Fairly gifted for foreign languages, he deepened his knowledge of Spanish and English, which earned him a job as a translator in the industrial sector (for the Company Asselin-Briot, producer of angle grinders for glasses in Elbeuf). His literary work developed at the same time. Entire booklets of poems were published in quick succession. He wrote songs and improvised melodies with the help of friends with whom he composed and produced. The tracks were popular. He even formed a band, 'Les Baladins', after which he recorded his own disc.

Meanwhile, he met Dali in Catalonia, discovered and devoured books by Jacques Lacarrière, and befriended Henri Pichette, one of the great postwar poets. In 1978, after having received his texts, the singer Graeme Allwright warmly welcomed him to Paris. A great friendship was born between the two men. A successful collaboration followed, and almost all of the nine songs written at that time were recorded. The repertoire of the legendary 60s figure and folk-singer, Graeme, included texts written by Luis Porquet alongside those of Brassens, Cohen, Dylan and Tom Paxton, a dream that would have seemed almost inaccessible to others… Thanks to his friendship with Graeme, he met Maxime Le Forestier, the band 'Les Troubadours' and Marcel Azzola in his studio. His vocation was establishing itself yet he never lost his focus or sense of reality. He saw himself first and foremost as an artisan. Songs cannot, without being undermined, be assimilated with marketing, and still less formatting, a word that Porquet denounces as "a pathetic perversion of the system".

At the same time that the author was making a name for himself, the journalist and art critic in him began to find their footing, to the extent that Luis Porquet abandoned one day his industrial work for the press, to which he devoted a full ten years of his life. His consistent contributions to "L'Affiche culturelle de Haute-Normandie" (the review for which he was Deputy Chief Editor), Marie-Claire, Maisons Normandes, Restaurer sa Maison, Normandie Magazine, Le Journal d'Elbeuf, Le Courrier de l'Eure, Artension, Rouen Passions, etc. point to his explosive energy. Plays for the theatre, painting exhibitions, variety shows, artists, books and museums were all gone over with a fine-tooth comb. At the same time, disks, performances and other writings multiplied as he met more and more artists. Luis Porquet collaborated with the Theatrical Centre of Le Havre alongside Jean-François Philippe. Shows devoted to Garcia Lorca and then Demetria, including Nicole Croisille and Mônica Passos, Bratsch, Koteba and the Concert Band of Le Havre under the direction of Philippe Langlet, represent just a few of the highlights (21,000 spectators at Le Bourget Theatre in June 1992). He co-wrote several songs for this musical production, and Catherine Désormières wrote the scenario for the theatre with Daniel Jannin, the music director of the Parisian theatre Olympia.

Two years later, in 1994, Nana Mouskouri made a cover of "Chanson de l'adieu", with music that had been written by Graeme Allwright fifteen years earlier. The repercussions were stimulating, and Luis's complicity with composer Thierry Pélicant gave rise to new creations (Operatic Suite "Ombre Légère", created in the town of Compiègne; Christmas Oratorio "Et de Toi, Béthléem" created at the Cathedral of Senlis, recorded and reprinted, etc.). Shortly after this début in the field of opera, the maritime rock group "Millions de Sabords" embarks Luis Porquet in the making of their second album, and Hugues Aufray sets it to music and recorded "Un arbre m'a dit" (1999) which received warm praise in the review Télérama. He also wrote several songs for Catherine Maillot and Antoine Godey's albums when the latter was leader of the group "Les grand-mères dans les cordes".

Luis Porquet's surprising eclecticism is reflected in a variety of domains, particularly in artists' books and bibliophilia. He worked alongside the great Japanese painter Yasse Tabuchi, de Bertrand Dorny, Christophe Ronel, Francis Caudron, Emmanuel Dilhac, Dominique Penloup, Catherine Bernard, Tran Van Rinh, Jean Marc and Claude Lormier, the photographer Claude-Bernard Hareng, the glassworker Monica Damian, the engraver Ivan Bafoil, the binder Richard Kunz and his accomplice, the abstract painter Jean-Pierre Désert (a commission for the media-library in Flers). He was also known to work with the lithographer Camille Selva, the engraver Robert Chemin and the graphic designer Jean-Marc Silvestre...

All these achievements could feature in an exhibition bearing witness to this journey, to which we must add his rich prefaces written for books and exhibition catalogues (Château de Vascoeuil, Palais Bénédictine, Musée de Vernon, Conseil Général de l'Eure, Hospice Saint-Charles de Rosny-sur-Seine, Maison des Arts d'Evreux, Centre culturel de Saint-Germain des Angles, Musée Canel de Pont-Audemer, Maison Henri IV de Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, Ville du Havre, Château du parc animalier et botanique de Clères, FNAC de Rouen, painting galleries in France and abroad, etc.). In the course of writing his various journalistic contributions, Luis Porquet met Folon, the filmmaker Raul Ruiz, and writers Philippe Delerm, Jacques Lacarrière, Jean Malaurie and Kenneth White. In 1998, he published an essay (Vaincre la nuit) in Henri Pichette's Cahier No. 3: avec les Epiphanies, Rubeline edition.

Open-minded, Porquet refuses to be categorized, liking both Bach and Bourvil, Edgar Varèse and Mantovani, James Taylor and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Chopin and Bela Bartok. As a great film-lover, he greatly admires Chaplin, Luis Bunuel, Andrei Tarkovski, Roberto Rossellini, John Ford, Tod Browning, Werner Herzog and Jean Renoir. He hates bureaucracy and conventional wisdom, that is to say easy answers. In recent years, Luis Porquet has written many poems for children. With Elisabeth Le Borgne, his wife and inspiration, Luis Porquet gives informal readings in public, occasions he never turns down… They both lead writing workshops in schools, libraries, cultural centres and retirement homes.

Recently published work by Luis PORQUET

Coming soon:

Luis PORQUET's Address :
2, rue Arsène Guerbette
76410 Saint-Aubin-lès-Elbeuf


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