2016
Florent Mattei
Florent Mattei’s photographic work combines his interest in composition, storytelling, and a form of committed relationship to the world. The often meticulous presentation of his works functions as a release mechanism that prompts a narrative. Whether he chooses to address the subject of youth and its subgroups (skaters, underground boxers, skinheads, etc.) or to confront our everyday lives with the horrors of bombings, his photographs are invariably conveyers of a bigger picture. What remains unseen in the frame of the picture therefore becomes an integral part of the work, the photographer’s role relying on his ability to enable such a projection. Precision of composition is a recurring element in his work, which alternates studio shots (with painted backdrops) and pictures taken in determined (and organised) or more impromptu public spaces. Florent Mattei’s photographs are starting points, origins that rely on reality to allow viewers to better understand and question it.
Jean-Simon Raclot
While Jean-Simon Raclot has recently begun working on large-scale canvases, the better part of his output usually relies on the use of “small” formats, which construct a world where nature becomes an unnerving object of fascination. His meticulous and thorough depictions sometimes appear as unfathomable chasms, and sometimes as impenetrable and stifling canopies – indeed, trying to fit the infinity of the plant realm into a canvas sometimes hardly bigger than a single sheet of paper is likely to generate friction zones. Various elements occasionally disrupt the luxuriance of these horizonless landscapes – a staircase, a road…, like signs of a possible opening, of a direction, an escape. To this fragmented vision, Jean-Simon Raclot opposes a method of self-exploration through painting.
Gilles Pourtier
Gilles Pourtier’s conception of photography is an open one. Refusing to constrain a practice usually based on residencies, exhibitions, specific publications, and collaborations, he enjoys distorting formats to produce pieces that can be considered both pictures and objects or installations. In this sense, each project is the start of renewed formal research. Collaboration is often at the centre of his approach, providing a space for negotiation that enables each participant to move forward with his practice, and sometimes produces works in which the joint signature makes it impossible to tell the works of the different photographers apart. Whether travelling upriver with Anne-Claire Broc’h (Before Science), documenting broken-down barns with Sandro Della Noche and Guillaume Gattier (They shoot horses, they don’t demolish barns), or the life of workers in Slovakia (Vztahy), Gilles Pourtier’s work is always marked by a sharp vision suffused with humility and poetry.
Quentin Spohn
The multitude of details that make up Quentin Spohn’s black chalk drawings structure and compose imposing murals. Halfway between a chronicle of the times and a collection of the artist’s obsessions, his work, which refers both to the masters of social science fiction (particularly J. G. Ballard) and to American figurative painting, depicts a dystopian and disquieting world. It also borrows elements from current events and digital culture. The grid of a platform video game can, for instance, support an array of various bizarre elements. Identifiable characters are also featured in strange compositions, such as the trader Jérôme Kerviel, shrouded in a torrent of digits and standing on a wad of banknotes. The large formats and composite arrangements of Quentin Spohn’s drawings on canvas make them imposing presences in the exhibition space, inviting us to become immersed in the infinite mass of data that fuels the artist’s life and our own.
Clémentine Carsberg
Wallpaper is the main material Clémentine Carsberg uses in her work. However, she mainly does so by folding, rather than applying it. The papers she uses allow her to alter space and, in doing so, to question reality. There is something akin to the domestic, to the familiar in wallpaper; something that evokes memories and moderates the neutrality of a room, sometimes infusing it with the faintly unsavoury warmth of a timeless interior. All of Clémentine Carsberg’s work is balanced at a tipping point; whether added or subtracted – particularly to architectural elements –, her trompe l’oeil remodel and invent a new approach to their surroundings. The artist is interested in structuring the volumes of the spaces she works in, but also in creating her own architectures. Her cardboard constructions are fragile artefacts that seem to provide support (with colonnades) or rise up (piles of archive boxes). Her immersive work develops at the crossroads between solidity and fragility, real and fake, past and present, private and public.
Gilles Miquelis
Gilles Miquelis paints in oils on large canvases that sometimes unfold into diptychs, or on small formats, on tracing paper or Rhodoids. After working on the composition, he paints in swift strokes, constructing his pictures like snapshots. There are various aspects to his painting. One of these consists in compositions in which naked women, isolated in nondescript nature, bask in the sun beside languid animals. As if, owing to present times and a resolutely open-ended culture, the artist had catapulted the “girl next door” into a genre scenery and, in doing so, tinged his paintings with humour and a form of banal eroticism. Another aspect consists in close-up portraits of actresses and children, black-eyed or puffing on cigarettes, often in black and white, and which seem to come straight out of 1950s movies. His often irreverent work can be understood as a joyous reinterpretation of the classic themes of painting. Behind Gilles Miquelis’ highly meticulous craftsmanship lies a scathing and quirky portrait of the present time.
Lena Durr
The starting point of Lena Durr’s work is the collection and organisation of hundreds of valueless objects. While the collection seems endless, it does eventually settle into its own logic, as the objects group together, fall into place, and coordinate in reinvented spaces or in catalogues/books. Multiplicity in multitude, dozens of plastic ducks, girl’s leotards, naked dolls, plastic Virgins: as the spaces that the artist occupies fill up with all sorts of trinkets, they become permeated with a strange atmosphere that combines a form of nostalgia and obsessional presence. While this bric-a-brac confirms an overall taste for kitsch, if not sordidness, it is shown with troubled tenderness. This type of mise en scene based on the great paintings of the history of art is also present in Lena Durr’s photographic work, in which she hires non-professional models to pose in amusing and meticulous re-enactments.
Diane Guyot de St Michel
Negotiation is not a preamble to Diane Guyot de St Michel’s work: in fact, it lies at the heart of a production based on speech. A major part of the artist’s work consists in convincing people foreign to the art world to actively support her in the creation of her pieces. Whether it be photography, installation, publication, video, or performance, her work relies on the sharing of knowledge and on co-construction. The artist proceeds through displacement and pooling: by placing herself in the position of a stranger, like the people she invites, she tries to outline a common ground that will create meaning. For this reason and for many others, Diane Guyot de St Michel’s work is a standpoint, a committed statement aware of its surroundings and revelatory of mindful and generous forms.
Justin Sanchez
Justin Sanchez’s work is often based on literature, cinema, or life stories. One might therefore say that his works carry narrative potential; that their form conceals a story, an adventure, an experience. For instance, his piece featuring an imbrication of hundreds of staircases – a long-term endeavour still unfinished to this day – alludes to Sarah Winchester, the armorer’s widow, who tried to evade the ghosts that haunted her house (and her mind) by building onto it until it literally became a maze. Henry David Thoreau, the Big Lebowski and the designer Enzo Mari are also featured in the artist’s subjective pantheon, which contains a repertoire of forms and actions. Justin Sanchez draws inspiration from what surrounds and moves him; by experimenting in the studio, he constructs a personal, candid, and sometimes intimate body of work that reflects his keen outlook on the world.
Muriel Toulemonde
Whether using video or photography, Muriel Toulemonde shows a keen interest in whatever constitutes an image. Her entire production is constructed like the weave of a fabric, one stitch at a time, until everything becomes connected. Her work can be divided into several periods, from the study of bodies at spas, to the rehabilitation of horses, to training, sprinting, water rescue, or waves… All these worlds bring to mind the notions of body, flow, energy, and seem to play on the antagonism between power and fragility, speed and restraint, strength and inertia, biology and technology… It is precisely in this tension between opposing poles that the complexity of the mechanics of life is expressed. However, beyond this opposition also lies the captivating, not to say hypnotic quality of Muriel Toulemonde’s pictures. Her videos, the only post-production of which consists in cutting, extracting, or stretching out, take viewers back to a suspended moment in which they can experience the image as an immersion.
Pascal Grimaud
There is, of course, subjectivity in the photographs that Pascal Grimaud takes around the world (in Comoros, Madagascar, Slovakia, Mali, Senegal…) or close to home (in the villages of Provence and in Marseille…); but there is also a sense of situation, of fragmentation; something of a particular connection to reality, which gives his photographs the strange quality of witnesses. Beyond the photographer’s eye, one striking aspect of his work is its capacity to encapsulate the substance of a given context through the sensitive world. Pascal Grimaud works on the side of life, of the marks it leaves, of its harshness or sweetness, of its rites. He presents us with soulful photographs that express the tales of an impervious humanity, without words, with nothing but the picture.
Caroline Bouissou
Caroline Bouissou’s work belongs to a class of its own, as she prefers a multiplicity of experiences to remaining faithful to a single medium. By attempting to discuss questions as complex as “Can one see an illusion through imagination?” or “How can the viewer’s mental space become a creative space?” she engages in a production that combines poetic forms, the viewer’s involvement, and a work on perception. Landscapes are recurrent throughout her art, betraying a (futile) desire to grasp their full complexity. Whether using sculptural objects, performance, cut-outs of photographs, sound, or installations, the artist offers us a perspective that shifts the common apprehension we might feel toward our surroundings. Her interest in archaeology and minerals leads her to appropriate stones as possible relics of a collective memory. The different paths that Caroline Bouissou traces in each of her works must undeniably be followed with senses alert.
2015
Pascal Navarro
The image lies at the centre of Pascal Navarro’s oeuvre, and through it, it is time, far more than representation, which is often challenged. The conditions whereby the images appear and above all disappear convey his interest in the work of memory. From now on, whether they are printed using solarization on paper (Un week-end à la maison), or whether they are revealed during a fleeting moment (Les phosphorescence), or whether they are composed in the slowness of a gesture a thousand times repeated (the Eden Lake drawings), Pascal Navarro’s works invariably carry their own time-frame within them. The progressive erasure of representation and its process-based application offers the viewer an evolving visual experience. We find this dimension again in certain sculptures which depict frozen objects, petrified in the wake of a lengthy process of sedimentation. In order to withstand time’s erosion and their disappearance, these sculptures seem, paradoxically, to have made the choice of separating themselves from the living world.
Mathieu Schmitt
Mathieu Schmitt’s work is not precisely where you think you will find it at first glance. Behind its forms, which often draw from a recent history of international abstraction, his work plays with opposites. So when he re-interprets Le Corbusier’s armchair, he imagines it made using crates for transporting pictures. Once these pictures have been removed from their packaging and affixed to the wall, they will, with panache, complement the standard array of the perfect contemporary interior. The artist is fond of offsetting the viewpoint and he does his utmost, furthermore, to be surpassed by his works. To this end, he introduces arrangements enabling his sculptures to acquire a certain autonomy. Henceforth, in his output, green potted plants themselves choose their level of luminosity, they compose poems and pictures, a monumental Ouija board communicates with the hereafter… By wittily handling technique, the artist uses it like a vehicle helping us to interpret the world. In his oeuvre, Mathieu Schmitt puts his mastery at the service of incidents and accidents, and thus sets out in quest of things living.
Jerome Cavaliere
Saying that Jerome Cavalière’s sporting career is echoed in his artistic work does not just mean that he makes the most of his skills as France’s vice-champion in team archery in order to produce his works. It is in fact possible to read in this overlap a clue to a more general choice, which involves creating within the porousness of the fields in question. Jerome Cavalière takes pleasure in muddling the “art world” and life, and his oeuvre strives to cause the codes of one world to topple over into the other. He accordingly appropriates television reports (Competitions Are for Horses, Not Artists), and videos of brawls on the Internet (Désaccords/Disagreements with Stéphane Déplan), and by changing the subtitles and voice-overs, he wittily re-addresses them. Conversely, he also enjoys delivering instructions for use so that everyone can reproduce famous contemporary art works (Art at Home). Jerome Cavalière’s entire body of work is being developed in the direction of the seemingly inappropriate encounter; this latter gives rise to an off-beat and critical world which, with conviction, asserts that the autonomy of art is not on the programme…
Julien Clauss
Sound lies at the heart of Julien Clauss’s art praxis, liaised with the architecture, history and nature of a space, so it becomes an active factor offering a new experience of the world. The artist works at modulating perception by relying on sculptural and more environmental arrangements which address the viewer’s whole body. His works, which often call on a specific ear, also bring movement into play, especially when they are presented in the public place. The spatial arrangement of sound tallies with an interest in the ubiquity of looking in an age of permanent connection. So the Webcams which crisscross the world are a resource which Julien Clauss pounces upon to create works like meeting points (one such being Insulation, which diffuses the variations of the colours of the sky around the world in a fraction of a second by way of a Webcam network in use around the 45th parallel). Julien Clauss’s oeuvre is based on technology as a revealer; with him, it becomes the wherewithal of a more active attention to the world surrounding us.
Marine Pages
If drawing is often marked by absence and restraint, in Marine Pagès’s work it functions paradoxically like a revealer. The artist works on the basis of a minimal vocabulary of forms which she develops in order to capture the clues of what makes reality. In her work, the line is a recurrent “motif”, which presents itself in a restrained way when it depicts tracks and roads traced in the desert, and in a balanced way when it plays on the physical data of its medium; it indicates the artist’s interest in construction and rhythm. Marine Pagès is interested in space as much as lines, her drawing juggles with voids and solids to arrange both landscapes and cities. As a result, her praxis, which tacks constantly between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional, at times exceeds the edges of the sheet of paper, thus becoming an installation and playing on features involving the volumes and architecture of a place. Marine Pagès has set her work in this unlikely interstice, from which she tries to carry out experiments through the eye.
Jérôme Grivel
Be it through sound, installation, performance, video or sculpture, Jérôme Grivel’s work acts on the experience of reality. So his works often involve the spectator’s body, they isolate it, put it to the test of space, surprise it, and offer it specific listening systems… they introduce a dialogue. His work is activated by presence, his sculptures call for the strolling and mental projection of a body in space. The forms he handles are minimal and geometric, they do not exceed their “function”, and they seem keen to tighten the attention we pay them. It has to be said that his works are balanced, they try the limits of the possible. Auditory resistance accordingly links up here with the resistance of the materials, and whether he yells until he can yell no more into a microphone in the middle of an opening, or whether he constructs complex structures with inappropriate light materials which inevitably end up collapsing, he tries to work, through amplification, on this breaking point, based on which everything teeters from one state to another.
Sofi Urbani
Sofi Urbani sees her art praxis as a place where scientific know-how and formal hunches overlap. By emulsifying these two poles, she develops a plastic vocabulary in which the phenomena of sciences (magnetic flows, fossil influences…), and the fascination they can give rise to, are set in motion. The tools enabling the appearance of the image (televisions, cathode tubes, electron guns, as well as reflecting surfaces…) are all dissected and reformulated with a view to producing often poetic forms and experiences. It is the mechanisms of vision that interest the artist just as much as the image itself, so her sculptures and videos often bring into play questions connected with perception. Sofi Urbani’s oeuvre, which is inquisitive about the world and the way it works, strives endlessly to experiment and make things perceptible.
2014
Fouad Bouchoucha
Through its use of mediums ranging from sculpture to theatre, and from video to performance to sound, Fouad Bouchoucha’s work focuses on creating systems that test the potentiality of things. His works catalyse the possibilities of an object, a place, or a situation. They summarise or multiply the forces involved. Often, power (of a Bugatti Veyron, of a Ronnie “Mister Olympia” Coleman, of an over-amplified sound system…) is interpreted through more or less transformed or pumped up objects – a condition that seems to betray their impending malfunction. Fouad Bouchoucha is particularly interested in various types of cultural and sports activities (body building, Sound Pressure Level…), and appropriates their codes in order to develop a deeply contemporary work. His production positions itself at a tipping point, where everything can still change.
Moussa Sarr
Mousa Sarr’s work does not beat about the bush: his videos are based on a direct confrontation. With wit and a good measure of self-mockery, he films himself in sequence shots in the process of undertaking more or less lengthy actions. This way of imposing his image and getting straight into a face-to-face encounter with the spectator seems to respond to the desire to question, and posit his presence as a problematic factor. The fact is that the political issues which inform the whole of Moussa Sarr’s work are rooted in the archetypal idea of the stranger or foreigner whom he incarnates against his will. The outcome is thus an oeuvre like an assertion manipulating the symbols and narratives of a nation, the better to call them into question. Moussa Sarr’s sculptures also play with this relativity of viewpoints. Like hybrid objects, they invent an elsewhere at the crossroads of various worlds, and experience the difficulty of existing somewhere.
Driss Aroussi
Driss Aroussi’s works focus to a considerable degree on the world of the working man. So we have building site shacks, monolithic constructions which, alongside work zones, accommodate moments of relaxation, and are at times the artist’s subject. As minimal and fleeting forms of architecture, they are like so many pre-fabricated lodgings in the middle of the city. Driss Aroussi’s eye likes to dwell on building sites, lingering on what brings life to environments of materials, on arrangements of objects, on tools abandoned for the duration of a work break, on clothing hung on scaffolding, like so many clues to a construction activity which is never directly shown. Alongside these series, Driss Aroussi also likes experimenting with the photographic medium by setting up specific systems for taking photos. These two parts of his work (to which we can add drawing and video) organize a sort of political commitment to the desire to be forever inventing the place in which he finds himself.
Frédérique Lagny
Frédérique Lagny’s projects are usually put together over several years. Her films and her photographs are the result of a long-term commitment which enables her to immerse herself in a territory. So the oeuvre which she has been developing since 2006, with its central focus in West Africa, and more specifically in Burkina Faso, represents a space in which word and/or image describe a jostled humanity. The women, men and children she rubs shoulders with establish the means of their survival. The portraits which Frédérique Lagny makes, whether brought to life in videos or presented in images, deal without any indulgence with the condition of the most destitute people. They stand out because of the quality of the gaze which accompanies them, a gaze formed by painting as much as by documentary film, or contemporary dance, proof, if need there were, that in this work there is much more than mere testimony.
Josué Rauscher
Even though Josué Z. Rauscher does now and then work on imagery (in particular by collecting images on the Internet, and publishing books), his praxis is basically associated with sculpture and its spatial arrangement. The materials he uses are often basic and elementary. When shaped and put together, they essentially come to life in the relations they weave with the exhibition. Attracted by oddjobmanship (bricolage) and experimentation, he also constructs his oeuvre on the desire to test, with both pleasure and determination, manufacturing techniques which are at first glance unknown to him: casting, smelting… We might say that Josué Z. Rauscher practices sculptures like a foreign language. So the outcome is an oeuvre like an ever-renewed experiment. His pieces are like so many building sites which he strives to close up, so many forms which he can re-work and re-combine as his thinking sees fit, and from one attempt to the next.
Hildegarde Laszak
Hildegarde Laszak practices drawing the way other people do exercises, with a regularity dictated by necessity. This, in any event, is the impression you get when you stand in front of one of her walls of drawings, with formats, style and subjects that are as different as they can be. Hildegarde Laszak takes her scribbled characters from news items and daily life, usually associated with words which tip meaning towards the absurd or the comical, as they reflect the amused, subjective and perceptive eye cast by the artist over what surrounds her. Whether funny or moving, irreverent or private, they seem to enjoy a freedom that has no limits. Her collages are sardonic, unreservedly using dark humour to alter often violent images found in old magazines. Hildegarde Laszak’s oeuvre is invigorating, drawing a cautious portrait of the frenzied day and age which she is part of.
Ahram Lee
Ahram Lee rigorously constructs his oeuvre by developing a spare formal vocabulary. The different materials she uses (objects, bits of glass, scraps of paper…) are put at the service of minimum concepts and experiments. So, more than techniques in the strict sense of the term, we might say that it is first of all time, language, chance, breath, error and invisible forces that construct this art, which is sensitive to its immediate environment. What is involved for the artist is working in the layers of the infinitesimal, acting with regard to the “barely visible”. In so doing, she plays with discrete mechanics which lend these works essential forms. In this desire to create with little, “Posing” is Ahram Lee’s main gesture, “less as a goal, more as a principle of construction and installation, like a way of doing things, and a way of being.”
André Fortino
André Fortino’s body lies at the heart of his art praxis. In it, it is presented in a state of physical effort, in direct confrontation with a context, and in written and off-the-cuff productions. Hôtel-Dieu, a video depicting, camera in hand, the artist’s encounter (he is made up as a pig-man) with a former hospital now abandoned, is the point of departure for a task of both cinematographic writing (Les paradis sauvages) and choreographic writing (first stage, Les habités…). A nervous, curious character, seemingly impatient to be done with the world that surrounds him, incarnates, all on his own, the savage nature of a work which has made its ballpark its relation to reality. André Fortino’s oeuvre works between abandonment and mastery, constantly playing with confrontation. It is based on the establishment of orchestrated or more “performative” rituals, which powerfully present an essential form of freedom. *
François Paris
François Paris’s drawings seem to result from a desire for stories. As fragmentary and essential elements of a narrative that goes beyond them, they are like so many possible paths activating a world in a permanent state of construction. Retrieved in the flood of images circulating on the Internet, or else specially produced, the photographs which the artist uses as points of departure have differing qualities Whether unusual or anecdotal, they often conjure up the body or mechanics, the face or the human skull… They refer to fleetingness and appearances. Each drawing is the starting point of an elliptical tale that needs inventing. François Paris’s exhibitions are thus open screenplays, and sequences. In this sense we might thus say that these works borrow as much from film as they do from photography: the viewpoints, the framing, the characters, the clues, but also and above all this capacity to introduce factors capable of opening up the way to the imagination.
Gilles Benistri
Gilles Benistri’s oeuvre was hallmarked first of all by a fleshy, doughy, textured kind of painting. A mineral paint which, with a certain form of violence, seemed to freeze disconnected faces and awkward bodies. As his work has advanced, so representation seems to have got the upper hand, and as the space of the canvas becomes more and more removed from the thickness of the touch, so it has gradually changed into a setting for scenes in which figures move about in a more or less natural way. Gilles Benistri presents us with a painting which mixes incongruousness with the domestic, and strangeness with the familiar. It involves cramped bodies in traditional costumes. These characters are usually faceless, with no identity, thus bearing the attributes of the standard.
Nicolas Pilard
For a long time Nicolas Pilard has been involved with an art praxis almost exclusively linked to painting (let us say to the two-dimensional) before getting to grips with sculpture, with an interest in the nature of materials, and the way they talk to each other. It must be said that his painting made up of dismantled architectures and all manner of elements mixed together, arranged in an uncontrolled movement, also gives pride of place to the quality peculiar to objects. Suppleness responds to undulation, rigidity to the “vegetal”, and everything seems to revolve to construct a split-second espacebenistri.jpg, a living composition heightened by strong colours. The sculptural praxis which he is developing today is part and parcel of a continuity, it gives volume to the question of precarious assemblage. In the artist’s own words: “At this particular moment I am questioning pebbles, bits of wood, tiles, breezeblocks, shards of flower pots, pieces of plaster cobbles…After painting the idea of the unauthorized rubbish dump, and jumble, I go there to really collect things.”
2013
Eve Pietruschi
Eve Pietruschi’s oeuvre has its source in peri-urban zones where the artist locates abandoned industrial architectures. Once photographed, they act as a matrix for refined works composed of ghostlike representations ready to vanish at any moment. Her drawing--because drawing is what is involved—mixes techniques (transfers on to paper, crayons, shift on to glass, water colours…) and multiplies areas of know-how. It spills over from the frame provided by the sheet of paper and spreads over objects, sculptures and installations. This oeuvre, which often verges on abstraction, seems to display the impermanence of things, describing the fragility of an ever-changing world. The fragments of spaces which form it are so many fallow landscapes being traversed by time; they are transparent to history and emerge with a kind of bygone majesty. *
Franck Lesbros
Franck Lesbros’s artistic output consists essentially of video, yet in some respects it might be said that it is akin to a hybrid form somewhere between installation and sculpture. His films take as their décor ingenious models which, like puppets, are activated during shoots. They are the leading characters of a disturbing “atmospheric” plot underwritten by precise editing. Volumes are brought to life gradually as the narrative unfolds, spare special effect follows spare special effect, forming a poetic world whose vocabulary borrows straight from the language of film. When Franck Lesbros talks about his work, he reconciles Ed Wood with Samuel Beckett, referring to his shoots like at once written and empirical adventures ,during which almost anything can happen, and this inevitably lends his videos the freshness of experimentation. *
Boris Chouvellon
Through his work, Boris Chouvellon develops an interest in the movements of construction and abandonment which define the landscapes of most peri-urban zones. Tugged between featureless concrete and wild nature trying to reassert its rights, these suburban territories, marked by de-industrialization, are the centre of a praxis where the materials seem to have been taken straight from source. A fence around a building site, concrete, steel reinforcement bars, tanks… Boris Chouvellon constructs sculptures like so many lost monuments. By using things like a jet-ski (bent and fossilized), a toboggan (spinning in dilapidation), a grandstand (skeletal), a sports ground (abandoned)… his art announces a decaying leisure society. Alert to the world around him, together with its limits, its boundaries, and encounters with landscapes (when he works on “the shore” in particular…), this oeuvre becomes the reflection of a day and age which, in trying to move forward, is forever building and re-building its ruins.
Nicolas Desplats
Nicolas Desplats’s paintings come across, first of all, like deserted places, monumental landscapes, and interstitial interiors, positing space like an origin. From the voluminous mass of mountains to the domestic organization of a bedroom or drawing room, the artist finds in heterogeneous environments the means for an immersion in the pictorial field. Working the notion of viewpoint and off-screen, he explores ways of reading painting while at the same time blurring the distinctions between different spaces of representation. His works often set frames within the frame, coming across like duplications—mises en abyme—which also act on the exhibition venue. We might say of Nicolas Desplats’s paintings that they are atmospheric, and hazy, playing with their possible state of incompleteness; they seem to be held in a state of permanent instability and, in this way, they leave the voices of interpretation open, and invite the onlooker to have a perceptible experience.
Jérémie Setton
Jérémie Setton’s pictorial praxis is based on an extremely sensitive approach to light and colour. His painting, which veers toward installation, focuses on twisting our perception of forms and spaces. Working on the borderline of the visible and the invisible, it often gives rise to an impression of strangeness, something akin to the feeling of an infinitesimal shift which is at first indefinable. Working against luminous intensities by perfectly nuancing the chromatic values of coloured surfaces and putting them in a simple artificial light, his painting transforms volumes and inevitably pushes the viewer over into an in-between world where the object and its representation seem to merge. Volume becomes totally flat, and shadows vanish. Jérémie Setton uses the traditional tools of painting (colour, light, texture…) to re-define the pictorial medium and include it in a given context. In so doing, the artist acts on the onlooker’s real space, thus summoning the sensorial experience of the picture and/or the environment.
2012
Sandra Lorenzi
Sandra Lorenzi’s work should be seen as the place of a somewhat strange encounter between areas of knowledge and different cultures. Comic strips, philosophy, anthropology, history, indigenous art and the sciences all converge, confront each other, and form a paradoxically homogeneous art. The sculptures are organized and unmade to create environments which are so many fictional spaces; they are made in bronze, concrete, aluminium and fruit… Her installations introduce architectures and décors, and compose twisted spaces in which the viewer’s sensations are often disturbed. Sandra Lorenzi’s oeuvre, which is conceptual and attached to form, is interested in thought and in what defines cultures, and as such it keenly experiments with the images, ideas and histories which go to make today’s world.
Yves Schemoul
Yves Schemoul’s art works more in the direction of the appearance of the work, than on the image itself. How does the eye perceive the image? At what moment does the trace beckon? What relation does colour have with the medium on which it is applied? How does the type of paper, its grain and its fibre, determine the nature of a representation? It is on the sidelines of the image but at the heart of what makes up our way of looking at things that Yves Schemoul’s work acts. By manipulating his media, and in particular using silkscreening, photography and painting as much as accident (trace, streak), the artist sets up an extremely precise oeuvre which, when all is said and done, focuses on what makes the origin of art, to wit, the issue of how it is received, and perceived.
Stephane Lecomte
Stéphane Lecomte is fond of blurring categories, imagery, and values… If he displays a consenting infidelity to the media he uses (drawing, painting, installation, writing, sculpture…) this is in order to assert the need to subordinate the medium to the idea (and not the other way round). Coming in the wake of a tradition of artists who do away with the boundaries between life and art, his work enjoys not having distinct outlines, preferring motion to immobility. He is attached to popular culture, and duly refers to it and borrows its forms (cars, figurines, newspapers…). DIY, collecting, farce and the burlesque, the mechanisms of art, these are just some of his areas of visual/plastic research. His works are determinedly anti-spectacular, contrasting an attitude of resistance with models of cultural consumption, and they play with discretion and wit. They gradually construct what the artist calls an “Ideal Terrain”.
Marc Quer
“I don’t have huge means, I don’t use imagery, I don’t use explicit writing. I simply have recourse to snippets of objects, words and experiences, and I have to make do with them to reconstruct them in an ideal way, with as much relevance as possible, it’s a sort of homage. I myself am concerned in a very material way with the promises of Eldorado, with the sacred in everyday life, in a basic way, a mystique of the down-to-earth, the quest for an absolute, of the ‘I’m looking for the woman of my life’ type”. Marc Quer, extract from Radiogramme # 11, FRAC PACA programme.
Robin Decourcy
Combining activites as distinct as painting, performance, drawing, installation, dance and directing, Robin Decourcy’s work cannot easily be defined by pulling the comforting string of the medium. Capable of travelling across Spain for several months with a donkey (in particular), installing a dense mass of dry brambles in the middle of a gallery, or introducing performance devices which touch on issues connected with a form of introspection, he tirelessly revels in his freedom to underpin an oeuvre whose challenges are situated beyond form. His painting itself seems to have understood that style is a limit, so it rejects the question of style and allows itself an open field of intervention. More than the purely formal nature of the works, what creates a link in Robin Decourcy’s work is to be found, first and foremost, in the relation (which we might describe as intimate) that the artist has with his subjects. The individual lies at the heart of his artistic research, be it through trauma, stereotype, commentary or identity; he is presented in all his complexity. So “unsaid things”, “self-concern”, personal history, and illusion all have a predominant place; these lines of research are connected with issues of displacement, flight and at times disappearance.
Claire Dantzer
Claire Dantzer often works on the ambivalence of feelings, on the way desire topples over into disgust, and on the porousness which links repulsion to desire. She installs her work in the place where opposites are joined, where certainties crumble, leaving the spectator facing a troubling indecisiveness. Her subjects are often chosen for their capacity to stir up a meaningful feeling in a split second. Be it through greed (the desire to stuff oneself to bursting with a wall of chocolate, or a cake weighing 1000 lbs.), curiosity (the desire to peer into the faces of those people who have devoured other people, trying to find therein what, precisely, is inhuman about them), compassion (the desire to save this girl in her underclothes and rabbit’s ears who is forever falling into the cream cake), nausea, violence… the spectator is singled out, challenged, and jostled. Her oeuvre plays with the after-the-fact, it is consumed in the latter (the form is direct, and inciting, then imposes (often too late) a kind of return to reason. Through elegant pieces which are only innocent in appearance, Claire Dantzer plays with excess and questions our capacity to withstand the immediacy of our impulses.
Olivier Amsellem
The series titled La Poétique du bord [Poetics of the edge] reveals challenges which run through Olivier Ansellem’s artwork. Made up of a set of photographs taken on the coast of the Bouches du Rhône, this emerges from the photos and broaches the subject of the sea’s edge through the question of the conquest of a territory, limits, and upheavals in landscapes and urban developments. Transitoriness, metamorphosis, instability, as well as symbiosis and disappearance… these are all words which might cursorily describe this living praxis of photography. Olivier Ansellem’s works, which are almost completely devoid of any human presence, nevertheless express movement, they show changing landscapes which more or less cleverly come to terms with architectures (and vice versa). This is a modest and ambitious history which is gradually written with photographs, a history made up of prestigious buildings and abandoned places, debris and nature parks, reverting to what, through successive experiences, fashions the environment, and to what, through capillarity, fashions the way we look at things.
2011
Cécile Dauchez
The multifaceted oeuvre of Cécile Dauchez is concerned with the processes whereby images appear and disappear. Be it through collage, digital printing or sculpture, she sets up a territory of experimentation in which her at times minimal gestures work with the traces, marks and textures of raw materials. Cécile Dauchez’s approach is not connected with the formation of an idea or pre-conceived concept, but focuses, on the contrary, on making displacement, intuition and tentativeness the operative methods of an artistic endeavour. Image reproduction techniques (scanning, printing, photocopying) are part of this mental path which, by dint of manipulation, will lead to the work. The work of the images often conditions the way of thinking about sculptural forms. These latter, fragile and unstable, are also the place for questioning representation, the place for stimulating the eye.
Manuel Salvat
Through his oeuvre, Manuel Salvat shows us a minimal architecture, a fearful vision of the space of the city floating between reality and apocalypse. Made up of items of furniture, cut-out photographs, glued and sometimes burnt, of found objects, assembled on the basis of the nature of their volumes, expandable foam rubber, “frozen liquids”, polystyrene packaging… his miniature buildings seem to stage their own disappointment. They often ooze, drip, and release repulsive substances as if produced by the explosion of a gland within them. Like constructed ruins, Manuel Salvat’s works powerfully pinpoint the limit of a social project. The fragility of objects, and their vulnerability, refers to the precariousness of an urban programme which has drawn some areas of the city like so many bankrupt landscapes. Yet a certain poetry emanates from these works. A poetics of the model, the tomb, and forgotten utopia.
Colin Champsaur
In Colin Champsaur’s work there is a need to relate things. Be it in his works which together build an inexhaustible set of connections, or through his activities as an exhibition curator which he regards as part and parcel of his activity as an artist, what matters to him is establishing the conditions of a dialogue, connections, and active thinking. This need quite well reflects the at once general and individual way in which he sees his art praxis. Sculpture, which has a major place in his output, asserts the significance of construction materials (just like his photographs, incidentally). These latter point to an artistic territory imbued by the issue of work and, in a more general way, of “making”, “not-making”, and “making do with”… The construction of meaning links up with the construction of cities, and thus situates Colin Champsaur’s oeuvre in the realm of the political.
Gilles Desplanques
Gilles Desplanques’s works react for the most part to specific contexts. His oeuvre, which ranges from sculpture to video, by way of installation, photography and performance, is based on an attraction to architecture, and more generally on an interest in the relation of the body to space and on a desire to grapple with the normative models which organize constructions, society, and the individual. It thus happens that his works take as their object suburban housing standards (Marée haute/High Tide, Soto Mayor/Powell) interior decoration (Trophée tête de cerf/Stag’s Head Trophy), and mass-produced furnishings (Kill Billy)… These elements, as paragons of present-day society, are then corrupted, mistreated, and reinterpreted. They construct an artistic language which plays on perpetual displacement and shift, offering an unusual and amused way of looking at how the world is ordered. Gilles Desplanques’s work does not call into question the laws of the norm in any authoritarian way; on the contrary, he tries to create interstices which are so many critical viewpoints of our environement.
Nicolas Pincemin
Nicolas Pincemin’s oeuvre is forged by the history of painting as much as by ubiquitous imagery of present-day society. His pictures, which for the most part are incorporated within the tradition of landscape painting, are put to the test of the keenest kind of contemporaneity. As a recurrent object of study, the forest forms the abundance of representation and imposes a certain tension. The imposing concrete architectures which can be glimpsed camouflaged behind curtains of trees, the raised cabins which act as watchtowers, and the dynamic forms which pierce the undergrowth, all help to set up an oppressive atmosphere. Nicolas Pincemin’s canvases also combine with abstract elements which are integrated in or overlaid on the image. By creating planes and emphasizing depths, these motifs completely reorganize our reading, suggesting that the artist practices painting the way other people make collages. Plane on plane, element on element, his oeuvre is constructed like a dialogue between heterogeneous elements all echoing one another, thus manhandling the image and once and for all undermining the quietness of the landscape.
Jérémie Delhome
Jérémie Delhome’s painting comes across to the eye like the place where form is isolated, like the place of colour vibration, and like the space of interaction between just these two elements which form each one of his pictures. A form, an element extricated from the landscape, from an object, or from an architecture…, with no scale other than that of its representation and of the picture itself, often crumpled, folded, describes a volume by combining with the passages of colours and textures. The plain backgrounds, for the most part subtle variations of grey, isolate and go hand in hand with these floating objects. Jérémie Delhome’s works seem to lay claim to an economy of the general composition to force themselves to exhaust the form, and to try and go to the very essence of representation. This is an “elementary” art in which colour constructs volume. The artist has chosen to direct his study towards details rather than towards something overall, so he wagers on something minimal in order to arouse the eye. Jérémie Delhome offers a silent and poetic painting with tremendous precision.
John Deneuve
Straightforwardly combining music, acoustic experimentation, performance, drawing, video and installation, the artwork of John Deneuve is intended to be decidedly decompartmentalizing. Underpinned by a sharp electro-pop energy and finding its source in the mechanisms of the world of labour (in the wheels of the bureaucracy dealing with “helping people back to work”, in particular), as much as in the world of childhood, his output plays with a false innocence in order to question the codes of the contemporary world with fierce precision. In this way, from the creation of a “background sound to improve office life”, to the establishment of psychological tests to motivate a team (L’aventure cérébrale), John Deneuve’s oeuvre works by means of constant discrepancies and wittily grapples with the structures which organize society, for better or for worse.
Xavier Theunis
By way of a multifaceted oeuvre, Xavier Theunis introduces an artistic vocabulary based in particular on a personal re-reading of elements of interior architecture, objects, and design furniture. By appropriating some of the gimmicks of upmarket contemporary domesticity, he produces a glossy and seductive oeuvre. Whether he covers pages of decoration magazines with white paint showing just the lines of the contours of objects in space or whether he recomposes, shade on shade (using adhesive tape on aluminium) the “Favela” armchair designed by the Campana brothers, the artist works on a return to the surface, and on flat transformation. The shift from three to two dimensions, and vice versa, represents one of the themes of Xavier Theunis’s work. The change of status between the object and its representation (between space and its representation), and its translation, enables him to produce disconcerting forms, which are at once familiar and unstable (like this sculpture representing a drawing table with an impossible perspective titled sans titre, table de dessin 2010). His oeuvre is at times all-encompassing and environmental, so the artist manages to compose unreal spaces with suspect perfection which unravel the traditional exhibition venue.
Anna Byskov
Anna Byskov does not baulk at involving her body (and sometimes her mind) in off-beat actions in which nonsense takes precedence over reason (like diving until you can dive no longer into a swimming pool after putting on a swimming costume that is too big, or like hitting your head against trees until you are senseless…). She is physically involved in her oeuvre, for the cause of self-mockery, farce and for the desire to try the impossible, and her videos and her actions alike show an artist who is determined in her project. Anna Byskov also presents herself incarnating extravagant and stereotypical characters. Entangled in crazy conversations, these latter develop paradoxically absurd and plausible dialogues which often tend to relativize the notion of madness and idiocy. Her sculptural work is also based on this need to counter the value and permanence of things, so she constructs with imbalance and cardboard. As if to be sure that nothing will withstand time. That, once shown, her fragile forms will fall the way she herself falls when she tries to climb her paper stairways (L’escalier/Stairway).
Chourouk Hriech
Chourouk Hriech’s drawings seem caught by an endless movement. Made up of elements of architectures, landscapes, motifs and imaginary forms, they come across in their many different forms like areas of experimentation inviting the eye to drift and go astray. Her black and white drawings are distillations of worlds within which reality links up with fiction. Based on a physical experience of space, they nevertheless manage to free themselves from the laws which govern the organization of the landscape, and offer a field of possibilities to be explored. The artist works by way of synthesis through a perceptible relation to nearby environments; she captures and reorganizes, invents her forms and condenses time. The urban territories which she turns inside out thus become hybrid places permeated by poetry as much as by science-fiction. In reinventing a geography of cities, the artist invites us on a journey inside upturned and a-chronic worlds.
Catherine Melin
Reality is the starting point of Catherine Melin’s oeuvre. She incorporates it and questions it by way of a praxis in which notions involving the use of space, the movement of bodies, and ways of looking at things are recurrent issues. Her work seems to be borne along by a dynamic which immediately puts the viewer at the heart of an arrangement which questions his/her presence. Catherine Melin’s exhibitions play with viewpoints and can be seen not as fragmented or composite forms, series of videos, sculptures, wall-drawings and drawings, but as a homogeneous ensemble, a unit. In her videos, Catherine Melin is particularly interested in the issue of the relation between body and space. Working closely with choreographers and tracers (traceurs, practicing parkour –a holistic training method) she presents dances which are like so many re-readings of our relation to the world.
Jérémy Laffon
When Jérémy Laffon has to appoint his potential assistants, he produces a series (a collection) of photographs of people sleeping. By dwelling on their inactivity, we might first think that the artist sees his praxis (video, sculpture, drawing…) with a certain form of quiet dilettantism. But we should also see in this negative representation of his artistic activity the context for these deep siestas: the public place. So Jérémy Laffon’s oeuvre should be understood from the point of view of exhaustion as much as that of repose. On the one hand, the processes introduced by the artist summon what we might take for idleness, by often relying on an economy of actions and means (making a tap drip on a bar of soap, sliding citrus fruit on a conveyor belt, making a ping-pong ball bounce on a racket). On the other hand, his oeuvre also has to do with Stakhanovism, because it takes a certain amount of perseverance to toss or throw all sorts of objects to the point of exhaustion (all this for videos which never last more than five minutes after editing). So Jérémy Laffon’s open oeuvre is thus situated at the exact interception between lazy production and excessive energy.
Flavie Pinatel
We might say that, over and above its medium, Flavie Pinatel’s art praxis is based above all on human relationship. Once this principle has been announced, it should be pointed out that the eye she casts has nothing anthropological about it, but refers to the flesh of relations, to encounter, to dialogue, and to exchange. Whether her films are static shots inside which people with a more or less strange look about them (a thoroughly relative notion) execute an action without a word, or whether they are offered as objects on the edge of the documentary and the experimental, they all objectively present a humanity which is at times battered and always elegant. On closer inspection, we can see that Flavie Pinatel’s artistic output is in fact much more than a portrait gallery, a comfortable and welcoming Spanish inn where everybody seems to have come with what they had, to play the game of this shared look at things. Through her films, the artist creates the conditions for meeting the other.
Yannick Papailhau
Yannick Papailhau’s works do not tally with any programmatic desire; on the contrary, they seem to powerfully lay claim to their decidedly empirical dimension. Combining the pleasure of construction with that of DIY, mechanics and quirkiness, his sculptures and his drawings alike have turned their back on any form of technological fascination. The fact is that the artist is more interested in the way bachelor machines function than in the effectiveness of mechanical production. He gropingly develops a poetics of ricketiness/ unsoundness which is at once funny and sensitive.
Pascale Robert
If some people have made the “art is life” slogan an artistic one referring to interpenetration and the merging of experiences, Pascale Robert, for her part, has chosen life as the inexhaustible source of a practice which is decidedly referenced and historical: to wit, painting. The culture of the party is associated with studio labour to produce a merry and knowing oeuvre. Faces askance, unlikely failed framings, outrageous attitudes and disappointing pauses… everything which is ordinarily forgotten or deleted in a split second in digital cameras here becomes the subject of an excessively precise attentiveness. And after hours of work, each piece becomes the witness of a fleeting instant. This contradiction between the beauty of the gesture and the thanklessness of the pose (which, it just so happens, is not a pose) forms the nub of Pascale Robert’s praxis. As if there was in what eludes us, and in what reason does not manage to master, a form of truth whose obviousness only merits being revealed through the aptitude for drawing loose hairstyles, hair after hair. As if painting in oil these moments of festive roaming in the end of the day said more about things human than any other testimony.
Isa Barbier
Isa Barbier’s work is developed above all on the basis of the encounter with, and understanding and interpretation of, a place. This latter, which is often specific—a chapel, a castle, a monastery, a seashore… (but also a more traditional museum or gallery)—determines, through its unusualness, the way in which artistic intervention appears. So, most of the time, Isa Barbier works in situ, developing his installations with their light and animate materials (feathers, petals, mirrors…) organized as geometric, architectural and dynamic forms, so the works seem to float in space. To these elements in mid-air, we must add light, breath and air as so many unstable components taking part in the perception of the work, and its fluctuating condition. The effect of external elements is not for nothing, it stems as much from the artistic proposition as from its own materials. So Isa Barbier’s aerial and living works are forever rediscovering themselves.
2010
Jean Dupuy
Jean Dupuy, who has been busy in the art scene since the late 1950s, is constructing a demanding and generous oeuvre, in his own image. Going against the grain of trends, his oeuvre reveals an unusual itinerary, invariably borne along by the pleasure of the artistic act. From the lyrical abstraction of his early days, which he shed in 1967 when he decided to throw all his work into the Seine before going to New York, to the technological art which would enable him to be represented by the Sonnabend Gallery (from 1968 to 1973), by way of performances which he either put on or organized (and during which he invited such artists as Nam June Paik, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Laurie Anderson…), Jean Dupuy produced a body of work determinedly connected to the world and to others. Since 1984, and his return to France, his art can be read through a multi-facetted output which is developed in particular by way of the writing of colourful anagrammatic texts. Unfolding through painting and the publication of artist’s books, these are like so many constricting and playful forms.
Karine Rougier
Karine Rougier’s drawings, which float on the white surface of the paper, house a curious, disconcerting, sexual and at times macabre population. Evanescent, and lost in the immensity of an A4 sheet of paper or a surface measuring 120 x 115 cm (in particular), the characters discreetly pursue their angst-provoking and liberated activities. The black line draws each hair, each coat, and each detail with a precision which probably has to do with a certain kind of obsession. So everything contributes to laying the foundations of a precious and knowing oeuvre, in which the most blurred of dreams takes shape with a tremendous clarity. Everything passes through Karine Rougier’s world, medical imagery, shamanism, Indian gods, Bat Man and Hieronymous Bosch… the sources become entangled with no distinction other than their role in the narrative composition of the drawing. But these creatures seem to be drowning, the artist leaves them in the depths of the image, she keeps them at a distance for fear that they might crop up in reality with too much confidence. The use of the flat tint motif is also part of this precaution, it reminds these figures from the other world of their condition as artefacts. So Karine Rougier contains them in the Pandora’s box represented by her hectic work.
David Mozziconacci
Trying to define David Mozziconacci’s photographic praxis is a perilous exercise, because each one of his works is presented like a special proposition based on eclectic contexts of production, and only links up with the others—herein lies the essence—in the precise nature of an eye cast upon them. The photographer pays heed to the signs of a humanity entangled in a collective programme which goes beyond it and sometimes denies it, and seems to have become involved in a project to capture things that withstand erosion, and survive the organization of life. So there is stone, and there are architectures and cities, like so many permanent elements. Bodies, too, often at work, with tired, concentrating faces. In his oeuvre we find traces of a globalized society which has built its project on mass production. Rooms for resting in (Siesta Rooms…), their worn floors coming from nameless factories (The Road), windowed offices in an anonymous tower (Employees), with workers working, posing (NYC) or dead tired (NYC Recuperation)… the world of labour is presented in David Mozziconacci’s work like a place of daily wear-and-tear, a place that restricts humanity which, in spite of everything, remains on its feet (Ahn)..
Marie Ducaté
Marie Ducaté’s oeuvre, which is rooted in painting, develops somewhere between Art and decorative arts. She takes ways that are off the beaten track: significant work using ceramic and glass; furniture (items of furniture, lights, and rugs and carpets); traceries of light, beads and glass; and above all, now, monumental installations in which the fabric becomes the medium of an original work. Marie Ducaté’s world is shimmering and well referenced, summoning the figures of art history and those of the present-day arts and nature; it ventures at liberty to the boundaries of genres.
Alexandra Pellissier
Ymane Fakhir
Ymane Fakhir’s photographs are akin to documents, to such a degree do the subjects they broach precisely describe social and religious phenomena linked to Arab-Muslim culture. This Moroccan artist living and working in Marseille uses her own experience to deal with the issue of the feminine and the norm, in particular through the way she looks at traditional marriage. Choreographed right down to the tiniest gestures (the way the bride and groom hold hands), the ceremony is a theatre within which customs seem to replace people, offering the highly detailed spectacle of conjugal bliss and sacred union. Put together by her mother since the artist was eight years old, the trousseau she affectlessly photographs on a white ground illustrates the persistence of a model conditioning the child to become a woman. Split between a cold objectivity and a personal viewpoint, Ymane Fakhir’s photographs are situated on the borderline which separates the private from the “universal”. Her works reveal an engaged praxis which does not skimp on the viewpoint in favour of the document, and thus manages to subtly question the outlines of family and traditions.
Rémi Bragard
From a certain point of view it might be said that Rémi Bragard’s works share a scholarly curiosity about the scientific object. They are (usually) sculptural, and they organize formal and technical research with a declared concern for experience and empiricism. This interest in the phenomenon (calefaction, corrosion, the concentration of intensities…) nurtures the development of an open oeuvre rooted in reality. This work is relentlessly related to the world, finding in its rationalization the means for proclaiming a presence. By breaking down and reproducing with a thoroughly cobbled-together precision the mechanisms of reality, the oeuvre also expresses its potential for acting on reality. Rémi Bragard’s pieces play on their efficiency and when they do not involve a roughness they assert something dangerous (turning on themselves, dissolving, evoking makeshift weapons). By working with energies and forces, the artist expresses a muffled violence. He invites the viewer to walk around these objects with their contained energy, which turn out to be the site of an art praxis in a state of tension.
Vincent Bonnet
The iconoclastic photographer Vincent Bonnet is interested in the image, in the conditions in which it makes its appearance, and in its territory of action. Well aware of the political scope of the occupation of the public place by every manner of reproduction, he challenges the mechanisms of this ubiquitous and invasive presence. In his oeuvre, multiplication and propagation develop a working principle which takes shape through varied forms of publication (magazine, post card, flyer…). The urban territory often lies at the centre of his work, it is one of its objects and its place of application. Playing with interference, he sets up strategies reproducing methods by which the image is publicly disseminated (be it commercial or political) and the poster thus becomes one of his favourite media. Vincent Bonnet’s works often reproduce the violence of advertising aggressiveness, they play with some of its codes, and call for rejection by saturation. Everything has to be put away, down to the tiniest detail, in a furious order, like the image of a promotional image, repeating the folds, the spittle and the tears of the posters of a candidate in the latest presidential campaign. To this the artist has adjoined the bucolic and residual representation of a picnic which forms a diptych with “country” flavours. Scattered throughout the city, this excessively multiplied work has entered the battle field, and seems ready more than ever to continue hostilities.
Hervé Paraponaris
Whether he is intervening in the art world, by exhibiting his sculptures or paintings, or on its periphery by realising urban facilities, cultural platforms or developing services, Hervé Paraponaris claims the status of artist-citizen, by always considering the political, sociological and economic dimensions of his works. (...) By exhibiting stolen objects, the artist explores the concepts of the ready-made, the status of the object and of the label of theft as an artistic act – asking in passing the question of confiscated Master works that make up Museum’s important collections today.
Nihâl Martli
Each one of Nihal Martli’s paintings can be read as a stage-like space within which the artist embraces the tradition of painting, and makes it ring out with her own experience. Her pictures are the means of “letting [her] own story exist in History”, of becoming the character in an heroic adventure, be it tragic or ordinary. The self-portraits, which she paints in an almost exclusive (not to say compulsive) way thus encounter some of the great themes of art history and, with a mixture of fascination and defiance, summon up illustrious painters such as Eugène Delacroix, Frida Kahlo and others… Veering towards more or less fantasized autobiography, each one of Nihal Martli’s works reveals a desire to escape. This is a devouring oeuvre which expresses the close link between the need to paint and the need to live.
Clara Perreaut
Clara Perreaut’s entire oeuvre is constructed on the head-on relation between the animal world and contemporary society. A doe versus a car’s hood, a wild boar’s feet versus cosmetics, shotgun cartridges versus romance, sentimentality versus war of fire… The domestication of fauna sometimes occurs in pain, and the artist offers us an offbeat look at this state of affairs. Clara Perreaut takes the side of glamour against that of trash realism, and her sculptures, which reveal the incompatible mood between man and his environment, are thus the site of a contradiction. Stuffed animals exist with costume jewellery, shotgun barrels boast loud colours and long .22 rifle bullets rest on the pink velvet of an elegant box. This paradoxical oeuvre does not take up one side against another, and in the end it only campaigns in favour of the poetics of forms.
Nicolas Rubinstein
With a certain pleasure, Nicolas Rubinstein asserts his fascination with bones. Over and above the eminently structure-giving quality of bones, the artist sees in femurs, skulls and tibias the site of an inaccessible secret which has to be relentlessly sought. So the skeleton becomes a central factor of his works, the keystone on which a crazy output is based. If the bones are orchestrated with a certain virtuosity, they do not refer to anything morbid, and more readily recall bulimia than exhaustion. Because they are developed and construct monumental architectures (suspension bridges, cathedrals ten feet tall…), or endlessly and wittily re-enact the skeleton of a media mouse (Mickey). The list of materials used by Nicolas Rubinstein expresses the pleasure of each one of his pieces: be it polyester resin, bone, bronze, pencil, or painted rat…
2009
Pierre-Laurent Cassière
If, without too much risk, we can consider the raw material of Pierre-Laurent Cassière’s oeuvre as made up of sound, it must hastily be pointed out that this sound is seen as a factor which triggers a dynamic relation between the body (of the artist, or viewer) and space. In developing specific acoustic arrangements, often associated with a place (Tectophonie,Mag-Net, Voyage dans le temps…), he is also interested in listening positions and hearing methods (Vent tendu, Schizophone.) Perception is called for as far as it can be taken, and often his works call for special attention. At times, on the other hand, they turn into a violent response to the acoustic aggression of daily life and thus become actions involving “acoustic vandalism” in the urban environment (NoiZystem). Well removed from technological fascination, Pierre-Laurent Cassière’s work juggles with innocuous elements. His visual research thus leads him to work with dust (Chant de poussière) and found objects (Harpe de fortune/Makeshift Harp, Mimnemesis). Mixing a precise knowledge of acoustic phenomena with an open-ended exercise of art (installation, video, performance, instrument, photo, drawing…), Pierre-Laurent Cassière develops an acoustic language which determinedly invites everyone to the experience of listening.
Julien Tiberi
Julien Tiberi’s oeuvre is constructed first of all on the basis of an open and mastered practice of drawing which authorizes him to appropriate an unfixed variety of styles. Drawing in the manner of 19th century caricaturists during the Colonna trial which he attended (The Ghosts of the Defence); borrowing the style used for drawing the court hearing to describe a contemporary art conference (Conference Proposition); or embarking on a history of American drawing through a series representing various viewpoints of the wall in Tijuana which separates Mexico from the United States (all the drawings of Again we cut back…would then be faxed to the address of the Dead Letter Office—the American lost mail centre), he makes his technical mastery not the object of a demonstration, but the assertion of the withdrawal of the author figure. The graphic reference echoes the historical, theoretical, literary or scientific reference and is part of the preparation of a work with many ramifications. Often built using a principle of uchronia (fictional time-frames), consisting in producing a posteriori phonily historical documents so as to re-define the sense of history and play on possible fictions (Le Salon, Homage to Wallace Suitcase Jefferson…), his pieces once and for all call into question the notion of origin as well as that of the original.
Marion Mahu
In Marion Mahu’s oeuvre there is a desire to work on the borderline between the transitory and the permanent, between the ruin and the building, between nomadism and dwelling-place. It is within this apparent contradiction that she develops a praxis involving drawing, video, and installation, associated with de/construction, absence and territory. In her work, architecture is often perceived as an environment, the place of human organization, but also as a history and a memory… In her series of drawings Dwell sur Aube, the project becomes, for the artist, a basic principle seen per se as a finalized element. The custom of the work-in-progress is also experimented with through projects such as Fast Fish, consisting in the forever re-enacted construction of a caravel with the help of items of furniture (cupboard, bed headboard,...). In her video Flying Dutchman, using synthetic imagery, Marion Mahu borrows from the “Marie Céleste”, a ghost boat found at sea without any of its crew in 1872. The sound of Edison’s first recording accompanies the discreet use of the ship and gives an inkling of its ghost-like presence. In this work involving setting sail, and the at times disastrous energy which prompts human beings to want to be forever in control of their environment, it is the insatiable desire to conquer territories which is at issue.
Emmanuel Régent
Emmanuel Régent’s work plays on discretion and deletion. The artist invariably prefers too little to too much. This decision enables him to create a discreet art which is in tune with the world, in a non-excessive way. Expectation, doubt, appearance/disappearance, and things that are delicate and imperceptible are all so many leitmotivs which fuel his work. His drawings of people queueing and demonstrations hallmark a praxis which can also be seen as a position. Time wasted, production standstills, collective marches, and the absence of slogans (not to silence revolts but to express the infinite number of possibilities) attest to a remote stance in relation to the generalized rules of productivity. The volumes, like the drawings, assert the equal value of the “project” and the object. The length of the process, its slowness, often, incidentally, lies at the heart of the finite work (an illustration with just one part, which turns in on itself, Vice et Versa; a stone covered with a silver leaf, Pierre/Stone…). This time of making or not making has a central place in Emmanuel Régent’s conceptual approach. It is combined without contradiction with an economy of gestures, and constructs an oeuvre with a silent, barely visible presence, like a bag forgotten in an exhibition venue (J’avais oublié/I’d Forgotten).
Matthieu Montchamp
By way of an exploratory praxis, Matthieu Montchamp’s painting and drawings set up spaces of curiosity. His canvases become a place of presences familiar and strange alike, organic objects, architectural landscapes, hybrid items of furniture… It is a fantastic world, at once disconcerting and dreamlike, which is developed in each one of his works, a world in which formal research seems to join forces with the experience of textures, transparencies, and different kinds of paint. The space of the picture is a fictional zone with many entrances, a rough or slippery space over which the eye moves, drifts or catches. There is an infinitely sombre part in Matthieu Montchamp’s art, like a profundity which refers directly to the basis of the personal construction. “In the end, I’m trying to bring out meaning, something like an underground relation that is erotic and violent”, he writes. For it is an interior work which is delivered on the surface of his canvases and in the lines of his drawings. In them, Matthieu Montchamp summons worlds of unfathomable desire and virulently explores them.
Susanne Strassmann
Over the past decade photography and painting have developed simultaneously in my work. The photograph is a game, a treasure hunt, sometimes I feel like a pickpocket when I run after ladies with fetish bags or when I photograph art only visible for myself in the high places of contemporary art or in the street. Photography is a perfect mean imposing itself as discreet and quick way of capturing images. My painting is a figurative painting, oil on canvas. The reality fascinates me much more than fiction. Most of the time my motives are groups of people, which I observed in a specific role, with an eye on their human condition.Studio paintings are inspired by photographs or digital collages. Often the source of a series of pattern on the internet, I spend a lot of screen time to prepare the series looking for the "perfect image". This is a somewhat anachronistic process of going from photoshop to the easle. Neither preparatory drawing nor episcop, the path of the mental image to the canvas should be as short as possible, the technical means remain minimal and composition of impeccable accuracy. In the best case paintings come out like a chicken lays eggs. When I go out to paint “in situ” the creative process is different: Under the constraint of the discomfort working with few materials and live models, furtive meetings, exposed to spectators, there is urgency. The concentration required by those difficult conditions gives a special energy to the painting and the brush stroke. No time for reflection. As I talk to people my arm, my hand are working, I discover the result when the session is over. This intensity is like a drug, fascinating and frightening.
Sylvain Ciavaldini
f, in its commonly accepted sense, art often has to do with the imagination, Sylvain Ciavaldini’s oeuvre seems to express this link with rare emphasis (a conviction). The fact is that there is in this work, which makes drawing and sculpture its preferred means of expression, a sort of amazement at what deals with the unknown and the unreal. This territory of forms, colours, peremptory and merry words (“Desire contains the absolute”, “Reality is implacable”), cries of (disturbed) birds and graphic digressions, sketches a cheerful world in which escape and quirkiness seem to be necessities. It is nevertheless by relying on reality that this world is built, drawing on popular culture, current events and scientific data. So we have this black mass which we know more or less nothing about except that it exists somewhere (and that it forms 90% of the universe), in which Sylvain Ciavaldini sees the possible place where things of the imagination exist. A territory of dreams which becomes invasive and gradually merges with the real world. In this invigorating work we find wit, mockery and narrative. Behind the playful surface, however, are sometimes hidden anxieties, doubts, and questions. With levity, Sylvain Ciavaldini’s works also express the difficulties of making oneself heard and understood in the hubbub of the contemporary world.
Sandra Lecoq
The use of so-called “feminine” techniques (sewing, weaving, plaiting) in Sandra D. Lecoq’s work immediately confirms her interest in issues connected with sexual identities. Basing her work on her relational, family and social experience, she sets up an artistic language which derives its forms even in private intimacy. In this oeuvre we find familiar faces, her own, her son’s, her partner’s, side by side with skulls, raised middle fingers and children’s drawings. In it we also see the work of friends, artists she is close to (invited to produce works together). There is the ubiquitous phallus, the majestic and exhausted organ on which one walks (Penis Carpet), and the more generic one which is multiplied on a patchwork ground (Flaccid Paintings). And everything is organized so as to assemble the areas of a world which makes the relation to the other a keystone. When Sandra D. Lecoq paints, she jostles and upsets the painting to the point of becoming insulting. Letter after letter on the canvas, the worst insults come in quick succession, the “hatchet” is not really buried, it explodes, furiously thrown onto coloured fields measuring 2 x 2 metres. “Female Wild Soul” thus rings out like a slogan which expresses a resistant attitude in all docility, an offensive stance which embraces life with passion and an ounce of excess.
Damien Berthier
Judith Bartolani
Judith Bartolani sometimes sculpts the way she draws, with graphic shapes which are written in space, flat forms which just seem to manage to stay upright. In other instances, we find heavy volumes which crush each other and spread or are contained. The fact is that her sculptures seem to be caught in whirlwinds of memory. They launch themselves or settle in space the way the past emerges and installs itself in reality. This serious and sensitive oeuvre attempts to formulate a relation with death. It is laden with memory, and becomes its receptacle. It is thus interested in the chaos of History, rites and funerals. It becomes a Pandora’s box of the shapeless pains which mark and traverse our lives. Books are part and parcel of these issues, they go hand in hand with the sculptures, or else exist independently. The collection becomes the object of a contemplation, it mixes writing with drawing as if trying to define the complexity of feelings through the gamut of representational possibilities.
2008
Till Roeskens
Till Roeskens
Paradoxically, Till Roeskens’s art praxis is based on an approach to the world that is rigorously subjective and at times unreasonably scientific. His projects illustrate experiences, encounters, investigations, and journeys which he recreates through lectures, videos, books, and petitions… Language and narrative lie at the heart of this oeuvre which involves naming things, and relaying the word, or offering it. So what emerges is the issue of the viewpoint. Till Roeskens focuses on the insignificant as much as on things political, and shows that one is inevitably linked to the other. So he strolls between the near and the far, and recounts his wanderings and meetings while hitchhiking, or launches into extremely didactic explanations to tell spectators “how to get to Krimhilde” (starting from Strasbourg railway station). These narratives of movements are a pretext for embracing a fragment of the world, drawing a context, and strolling once again in a living, fragmented and infinite geography.
Alfons Alt
The photographic praxis developed by Alfons Alt has to do as much with a precise and scientific knowledge of processes of revelation as with a certain form of alchemy (with all the magical character that this term may embrace). The so-called “resinotype” technique which he uses combines the principles whereby the photograph appears with those of painting using pigments which will more or less colour in areas previously rendered photosensitive. This pigmentary (non-silver) photographic procedure enables him to see the image beyond just the moment of the shot, by way of his work on the preparation of the medium as well as during the moment of revelation itself. Alfons Alt’s works are filled with animals, nature, mythology, and urban places. This fascination with the biological and its organization pulls him into a kind of endless inventory, a subjective and perceptible classification of the world in which termite hills cohabit with famous architectural gestures, where invasive plants have the appearance of monuments, and where New York “fauna” is akin to that of Pakistan. Everything here is caught, like a parcel of the living world pinned to the wall
Anthony Duchêne
Anthony Duchêne draws from the sciences an endlessly renewed vocabulary of forms and ideas. But instead of literally applying experimental procedures, or, on the contrary, amusing himself with them, he plays between these two registers, relying in particular on the decoy. His drawings, sculptures and installations, all remarkably produced, give the appearance of being well made and serious. Observation of them tends towards a certain rigour, essentially due to the fact that each form or word used seems totally believable on a scientific level. And in a way this is how it is, for each piece is the outcome of nothing less than an investigative labour undertaken by the artist. And yet, when you look again, you realize that the objects and drawings in front of us look like curiosities of nature, chimaeras which might exist, but whose existence cannot be discerned in a real and defined way. To this end, Anthony Duchêne appropriates existing phenomena and turns them into suggested phenomena.Eric Mangion
Dorota Buczkowska
Katharina Schmidt
Signs have a central place in Katharina Schmidt’s work. They often come from packaging, advertising brochures and user manuals, and through an ethereal formal language they refer to forms of architecture (La Grande Motte…) and public works (motorway flyovers…). Sometimes they are increased in number until they envelop space (and spill over from it), and they are repeated ad infinitum on wallpaper and curtains… Either silkscreened, drawn or painted, they unfurl like a serial motif, an element of décor based on which the artist questions our environment. With this work involving “invasive signs of the world”, Katharina Schmidt combines a precise practice of monochrome water-colour painting and drawing. Focusing on casting her eye on remarkable kinds of architecture (Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation) and more trivial forms (a shopping centre in Marseille), she introduces the means for an at once sensitive and distant reading of reality. Katharina Schmidt’s work is based on an exact grasp of the space surrounding us, her spare and detailed gesture is aimed more at the infinitesimally small than at the effect, and in this way she manages to accurately draw the world’s construction lines.
David Ancelin
The encounters which take place in David Ancelin’s works have all the charm of the unexpected and the accuracy of obviousness. It is this impossible mechanics which offers them talto the onlooker like so many offbeat objects or environments. Despite the attention he pays to the making of his pieces, the artist only attaches a quite relative interest to the majesty of sculpture. Combining his know-how with an easy going praxis, he introduces elegant works which often make light of their own status. Here, hybridness seems to be the means of an ironical distance. David Ancelin’s works deal with balance and distortion, and the techniques he uses (silkscreen prints on paper, mirrors and aluminium,… photography, drawing…) seem to respond to this endlessly re-enacted desire to challenge the order of things. The industrialized elements (motorbike, pinball machine, cultivator, deck chair…) which he chooses are re-interpreted and wittily convey a world marked by harmonious discordance.
Olivier Bedu
An architect by training, through his visual work Olivier Bedu is developing an oeuvre which might be said to deal with our way of frequenting and inhabiting our space on a day to day basis. Through his photomontages which display the standardized architectures of different regions and their landscapes, he attempts a formal analysis which highlights possible comparisons between the natural element and generic forms of dwellings. With the Le Cabanon Vertical Collective, Olivier Bedu works on large complexes and on the way in which life is installed and lived in these constructions with their asserted authority. It is a matter of making the living factor of these collective systems burst forth. In this period of expropriations, Le Cabanon Vertical thinks more readily in terms of a reconquest of space. Their interventions often borrow the principle of the graft, as it interferes with the structures of concrete constructions. These light architectures are posited symbolically like the gestures of a poetic re-appropriation, which runs counter to the standard, and is concerned more precisely with the individual.
Emilie Perotto
“It must be said that my first sculptures appear in precise contexts. The constraints of production and display are the first lines in my list of specifications. So the exhibition context is a central factor of the work process. I usually begin this latter by focusing on the architectural and spatial context, which subsequently leads me to broach socio-economic contexts. The concreteness of exhibition venues, as well as the “presentness” of the encounter between visitor, sculpture and space, are the nerve centres of my research. This is how I see sculpture, as the medium of the encounter between a human body and a plastic body in a defined space. I’ve called this encounter a “sculptural situation”. I’d like all my works to produce in the visitor what I call a “sculptural feeling”, which depends on the construction of the “sculptural situation”. My sculptures are component and revelatory agents of this. They put visitors in a specific situation, for a suspended period of time, during which they have the physical and mental experience of a space.” […] Emilie Perotto, 2015.
Christophe Boursault
Through a multi-facetted visual output, Christophe Boursault is laying the foundations for an uncompromising body of work. In his videos, he re-interprets and combines languages (its jargons), and standardized attitudes (postures, tics), and casts a precise and sometimes disturbing eye on the mechanisms of representation underway in society. For him, what is involved is adopting idiocy as a “philosophy of comprehension, attentive to immediate experience” (J.-Y. Jouannais); he is thus working on a critical space. His painting and his drawings re-enact ad infinitum the issue of the figure, representation, and the mask; they are linked to the physical experience which lends this work its expressive strength. As the site of an obsessive overlap between language and body, Christophe Boursault’s oeuvre is constructed like a choreography marked by violent poetry. It comes across in its coherence with both integrity and radicalness.
Pierre Belouin
n the age of postmodernity, the art arena is regularly crossed by objects which question its space and the elastic nature of its limits. Pierre Belouin’s oeuvre might be one of these objects with blurred outlines, which can only be fleetingly grasped. Claiming art praxis as a means of collaboration, the artist becomes the core of an open network multiplying the ramifications and development of every manner of project (from partnerships to curating by way of the publication of discs and magazines, and the organization of concerts…). What immediately hallmarks Pierre Belouin’s work is the stated desire to increase the number of fields rather than subtract from them, and to thus incorporate his praxis within the Optical Sound label (which he created) in his visual output. Whether it is played or quoted (references come across with a certain erudition), music, its current state and its history, and its codes and its overlaps, thus form the base from which everything is developed. So there is a mixture of acoustic experience and visual sensation, with one and the same vibration.
2007
Arnaud Vasseux
Arnaud VASSEUX
The bold, enigmatic and fragile forms of Arnaud Vasseux’s sculptures result from the manipulation of simple materials, taken from a catalogue of building materials and light industrial products—with a preference for materials which have to “go off”: plaster, resin, fiberglass. The artist focuses all his attention on their physical properties, and their technical possibilities and limits, based on which are developed the unusual procedures and manipulations which will affect the initial project. Combined with this experimental nature of the production of form is the scale of the works, which often dialogue with the scale of building and place. So each intervention offers the visitor the conditions of an experience—a moment of heightened intensity of his own senses and of his receptiveness to the aesthetic and poetic charge—where place and work inform each other, fuel each other, and enrich each other. So the exhibition is not just a moment during which the work is added to a place, but the reunion of a space and a time of being tested, of tension of action and object in its articulation with space, a particular moment of the experience, which is heightened by the immoveable and ephemeral character of the sculptures. Cédric Loire
Pascal Martinez
Whether Pascal Martinez focuses on the innocuous moments which, with levity, form his memories, or those more precious moments which mark a life, he makes himself the attentive witness of everyday life. Using video, photography and sometimes installation, he grasps the movements of society through the prism of the individual. These pieces often deal with privacy in a sensitive way, without any voyeurism, focusing on the relations between people, on events which have no value, and on the implicit codes of human relations. Pascal Martinez plunges us into these little nothings which, in the end, count for far more than those broad movements of existence. His work comes across like an anthropology through its detail, developing a language which wagers on clue-like things as conveyors of a certain form of universality.
Olivier Millagou
There is undeniably something that has to do with lifestyle in the art of Olivier Millagou, a straightforward attitude, like a relation to the California surfing world. His work is based on initially American counter-cultures, surfing and skate boarding, Marvel Comics, rock and independent films. He has a precise knowledge of all this. The proliferation of these cultural elements tallies with a constant variety of medium: disk, installation, object, environment, wall drawing with drawing pins, Tippex, painting on postcards… The artist multiplies the fields of expression and produces an all-encompassing and seductive oeuvre. Behind this immediate fascination with images, Olivier Millagou also subtly presents the relations of powers and domination at stake in certain “encounters” of civilizations. And in these lost paradises, everything thus becomes dark, as dark as an old Motorhead album.
Wilson Trouvé
Wilson Trouvé’s oeuvre wavers between the rigour of minimal structures and the accident of the gesture and forms of matter. Often made up of geometric volumes and simple lines to which are added streaks, accumulations, trickles, and shifts of incongruous matter (wax, melted candies, hot-melt glue), these pieces are presented like unframed baroque objects. In Wilson Trouvé’s drawings, as in his paintings and sculptures, seemingly opposing forces meet in a noiseless struggle. In them, stability is damaged by the artist’s gesture, which perverts it through matter and presents lines which are continually made, unmade, and remade… like so many fragile, balanced structures.
Katia Bourdarel
Katia Bourdarel’s oeuvre is nurtured by our imagination. In her paintings, photographs and installations, the characters, the features of décors and other clues in these narratives become invitations to re-think the conscious and the unconscious in all their complexity of emotion and symbol. Here, pleasure, pain, eroticism, the “ego” and the “that” are so many discordant elements which mingle together and right a reading of the world. Because beyond the tales, what interests Katia Bourdarel is, as she herself puts it, “the essence of things, flesh, life itself”.
Julien Blaine
The fact that Julien Blaine’s poetry can be described as semeiotic, experimental, material, or visual has little importance, when all is said and done, in our understanding of his plentiful work. Since the 1960s, the artist has been continually incarnating (boning) language. Through performance, and by way of publishing, he focuses on delivering the physical quality of the poem. So there is something physical in this work, something to do with mass and the organic. It is a body falling down the stairs of Saint-Charles train station in Marseille (Chute-chut!); a tongue sticking out, hanging, trembling, and declaiming (La langue n’a point d’os). Blaine’s poetry is the body of the word as much as the word of the body. As the founder of the magazine Robho (1967) and DOC(K)S (1976), the artist is also stepping up his publishing experiments. As a pivotal figure in an international network of poets, he is also the go-between for numerous events directing people he calls ambassadors. Because this is what we believe we understand through his work, as through his life: poetry is politics (and vice versa) and Julien Blaine is a committed man.
Alexandre Gérard
If you had to describe the raw material of Alexandre Gérard’s oeuvre, you would have to talk about a state of floating consciousness, rather than a material in the strict sense of the term. His work is informed by stealthy or lasting moments of uncertainty, in the face of objects and situations which are not easy to understand. His videos, with their elementary scenarios (pretending to unintentionally let go of a sheet of glass in a queue of waiting people, or grasping the frightened startledness of a person seeing someone appearing when they thought they were alone), capturing those split seconds of faulty thought. They pounce on the spontaneous reaction of people troubled in their habits. Similarly, with his photographs, he stalks (or at least evokes) hesitation and incomprehension, more or less prolonged, in the face of an arrangement of letters. His work focuses on the insignificant, and on the strangeness of certain everyday situations. In a straightforward way, he seems to have fun finding a certain form of universality in the upsetting and absurd event.
Geoffroy Mathieu
Geoffroy Mathieu’s works refuse to be pigeonholed in the formal category which it is customary to summon up when contemporary photography is involved. Like poetic and/or documentary ways of looking at things, they lump together genres which do not lay claim to one side any more than another. In overlapping subjects like so many personal interests (the body and its surroundings, the landscape undergoing transformation, the Mediterranean town or city), we find in his works a sure gaze which masterfully and aesthetically presents a relation to the perceptible world. The spareness of the forms and the distances from reality hallmark Geoffroy Mathieu’s images with the seal of what one might at first take for artificiality. But the temporal dimension of the projects (which at times spans several years) and the intrusion of visual accidents nevertheless remind us that they represent precise sociological and geographical surveys of our environment.
Stéphane Le Mercier
“… and what do you do for a living? - I pick up scraps.” Conversation with the psychoanalyst Christine Anzieu, Vicissitudes, University of London Stéphane Le Mercier comes from a generation of artists whose neo-conceptual approaches became prominent in the 1990s. He quickly lived abroad (Hungary, Ireland, Germany), which prompted him to reflect on the economy of signs and on the use of language within globalised culture. By opposing disparate elements (textual found objects and abstract painting, minimalist sculpture and typographical elements), his aim is to bring out “polyglot narratives”. To this end, he collaborates with IFF Gallery and regularly participates in the activities of the Marseille-based review fondcommun and of the Incertain Sens publishing house in Rennes.
Virginie Le Touze
Somewhere between performance, video and photography, Virginie Le Touze develops her delicate, quirky and delightfully outdated world. She is fond of international schmaltz, wears pink dresses and smothers her mouth in lipstick when she (too loudly) sings Hyperchansons d’A on the stage of an empty theatre. The figure of the woman in love criss-crosses her oeuvre, she is at times more timid (Euphorbia), more daydreamy (Insomnia) and every time the artist plays these parts in a droll or emotional way. Virginie Le Touze’s art has the charm of false testimony. It is presented with levity, erasing the important work of her own method. So it is with a certain poetry that the Fir tree in her video shines out brilliantly to the rhythm of an Erik Satie melody. A self-explanatory visual enchantment, 298 montage points later.
Florence-Louise Petetin
Florence Louise Petetin’s work has developed in several phases over the past 10 years, culminating in her most recent researches on landscape. These researches were particularly performed during three visits to India, themselves marked by a lengthy, almost ethnological stay, in village communities of the North, with an altogether specific relation to the natural and domestic environment. In this experience, the usual landmarks of landscape painting have found a source of questioning which has prompted Florence Louise Petetin to incorporate this experience in her pictorial work. Her performance in the refuge at Saint Jean du Puy (Trets) has made it possible to give an initial presentation of this work, which continues in more recent attempts and in a way of thinking that is still in progress. Jean Pierre Cometti
Bettina Samson
Stauth & Queyrel
“I use objects and their symbolism to highlight the paradoxes of our society, especially those resulting from exile. The most common materials I use come from construction sites, enabling me to depict an existence balanced between the promise of success, the ambition of a fulfilled future, the reality of subsistence conditions, and the attachment to an idealised native land. The objects that constitute my visual language range from fragments to junk. They are full of poetry and give an ambiguous description of situations balanced between humour and violence. The couple of artists Pascale Stauth and Claude Queyrel, sometimes known by their initials CQPS, has been working together since 1993. From the surface of a catalogue page to the architectural volume of a playground, to one-off or permanent interventions in the public space, their work uses a variety of mediums and techniques, depending on the plastic and topographical specificities of the projects. Often situated at the crossroads between painting and design or graphic design, they question representational codes in a deliberately ordinary dimension by confronting their output to sometimes underestimated fields: sports, fashion, decoration, “amateur” activities, etc.
Maciek Stepinski
Maciek Stepinski’s oeuvre wavers between the desire to straightforwardly capture the triviality of reality and the desire to remove from that reality its fictional substance. His thoroughly refined photographs describe a deserted world inside which landscapes act as décor, and where the handful of men in uniform are offered to the eye like so many characters/inhabitants. In the series N-113, Maciek Stepinski seems to be interested in the construction of a national highway, and the intrusion of the mechanical in the natural landscape. But we slowly realize that this crossing is just a pretext, and that the documentary truth of the images is only of any value with regard to the revelation which they bring about. The revelation that an imaginary world already exists in each one of the photos. N-113 is an assemblage, a look taken at several construction sites (roads in Lorraine and Austria, and the real N-113 highway…), which together sketch an undifferentiated world within which everything is there and everything escapes.
Michèle Sylvander
Michèle Sylvander develops artwork based mainly on photography, but which also extends to the fields of installation, drawing, and video. Her works question the notion of gender and its codes, of the political and social body, and of our relationship to others. Self-portraits and family life play a central part in her approach. The artist uses these themes to put forward the idea according to which the proximity of personal experience expresses a form of universality. It is also said to embody the heart of the social construct (the “self” in the small framework of the family unit as a metonymy of the “self” on a global scale). Guillaume Mansart (excerpt from the press release “À mon retour, je te raconte”).