Alice Guittard
For several years now, Alice Guittard’s work has focused on designing pictures made out of marble marquetry. The carved (as if cut out) mineral is shaped into more or less complex elements that slot together perfectly to create figurative, smooth “paintings” with veined colours. For the artist, working with stone is a way of weaving together stories – the unspoken story contained within the material and the story of the compositions she comes up with, which often relate to her personal story. Alice Guittard’s relationship with images lies at the heart of her practice, which also includes the use of mediums such as photography, video, writing and publishing. From one piece to the next, she experiments and finds in these forms the potential for stories to unearth and share. As such, it often involves investigating, searching for traces and clues, finding elements and telling signs.
Anna Tomaszewski
Anna Tomaszewski’s work begins with the collecting of natural or residual elements. The artist pays close attention to micro-compositions and fortuitous forms, and in doing so strives to bring to light the discreet elements of a world, to put its vital forces to use and to demonstrate that human beings are part of living matter. Her sculptures, like her installations, experiment with volumes and materials, play with scale changes, and have us explore alternative landscapes made up of fragments. Whenever she mentions her production, the artist speaks of amplified reality. In this sense, her works are to be understood as vehicles that pass through the eye and body on their way to another familiar place, to an ensemble arranged like an ecosystem. Whether using ceramics, blown glass, melted (or unmelted) plastic, collected stones or oxidised steel, Anna Tomaszewski searches the infinitely small to find ways to transfigure our vision and renew reality.
Diego Guglieri Don Vito
Diego Guglieri Don Vito develops a challenging body of work that combines ethereal and colourful painting with poetic and narrative writing. This results in installations, canvases, textiles, objects and more, which can be conceived of both in real space and in the realm of imagination. “In this hot summer evening, the swifts dance” or “And then I fell asleep, letting time be witness to the ballet of night lights”: these only go to show how important titles are for these abstract and atmospheric works that function like as many convergence lines. For the artist, painting is an open space for projection, which also serves to activate the vibration of colour and aerial movements. Writing is also a sensory vehicle, in that it presents paintings as it would characters (personalities) that question both time and space. Diego Guglieri Don Vito centres his artistic output on what he calls “The Miami Fauve Collision”, a fantasy world rooted somewhere between Georges Braque and 1980s Miami – a mental territory that he explores gleefully.
Camille Chastang
Working at the intersection of fine arts and applied arts, Camille Chastang strives to produce works that steer clear of any hierarchized categories. Drawing – a historically underestimated practice – lies at the heart of a body of work that is expressed freely through the use of various mediums. From notebooks to painting, and from ceramics to installation and publishing, she advocates for an open and exuberant form of experimentation. She proposes viewing specific moments in art history through a feminist lens, and to this end she examines (decorative) patterns and depictions (flowers, pets…) and gives them new life in joyful compositions that are both symbolically and intimately charged. Camille Chastang’s works highlight the political nature of a form of art that is perceived as decorative, and in doing so gleefully brings awareness and shifts our perspective on these issues.
Clovis Deschamps-Prince
Clovis Deschamps-Prince’s work must first and foremost be seen as the setting for an experience of the world. His relation to nature and to all of the “materials” (mineral and vegetal) it has to offer lies at the heart of his practice. The artist goes hiking, camps and walks around on his own for days in search of types of soil or plants that he will be able to use in works that speak to this privileged relationship. Focusing his entire attention on his surroundings, he models, sculpts and implements rituals that convey the texture of the world and its aromas. By “slipping into the cracks of the landscape”, Clovis Deschamps-Prince seeks to share his personal understanding of it. His sculptures are receptacles (both literally and figuratively) that enable him, when the time comes, to share this solitary immersion. They often come to life during performances in which he hands out herbal teas and has participants read out texts. The aim, in these instances, is to create new spaces for knowledge through art.
Caroline Vicquenault
Caroline Vicquenault’s painting is populated with countless figures taken from her immediate surroundings. A number of pets are also featured amidst this close personal pantheon of women and men. The artist creates these portraits through a long, painstaking process, as she strives to not only capture each of her models’ expressions as best she can, but also to transport them into phantasmagorical settings. Their faces and bodies are set within sweeps of colour free of any motif, on living surfaces where the paint is left to fully experiment with itself. A subtle balance comes into play, in which masterful portraiture is met with the unexpectedness of backgrounds that spill over to the point of sometimes covering up the figures themselves. Caroline Vicquenault’s painting, whether oil on canvas or on paper, works simultaneously on figuration and abstraction, with each of these aspects serving the other in constant to-and-froing.
Arina Essipowitsch
With Arina Essipowitsch, photography is never approached independently from the medium it is seen through. Beyond the image, the artist strives to consider forms as much as she does the way in which her images are shown in space. For her, it is a matter of considering the malleability of the photographs and their perpetual mobility. Consequently, her works are more often than not developed as volumes or installations that can also be brought to life during performances. Fold, Palimpseste or Soft Focus (in collaboration with the choreographer Eva Borrmann), for instance, concern themselves with the cuts and folds of two large-format images laid out in full on the ground. Arina Essipowitsch’s work plays with scale and modulations, as well as the relations between front and back and between bodies in space… The image is often incomplete, always blown up to the point that the subject disappears. The artist treats skin like landscapes and landscapes like abstractions and textures. Lately, in her efforts to contextualise her work within real space, Arina Essipowitsch has worked with a perfumer to include scent in her installation – a new way to affirm the necessity to experience art in its sensory dimension.
Hélène Bertin
Hélène Bertin sees art as a gathering, in that her works are as equally attached to social value as they are to use value. Straddling customs and techniques, she seizes the opportunity of artistic projects to encourage human relations. Each of her exhibitions or books becomes a space for teamwork, during which skills and stories are led to intertwine. Amateurs and enthusiasts come together as a team to make up a tale. The biennial firing of Bertin’s ceramics is a celebration of working collaboratively around the wood kiln. With a focus on clay, her sculptures emerge as the result of experiments linked to her research on games, rituals and marginal figures.
Agathe Rosa
Agathe Rosa is particularly interested in the interaction between natural light, human beings and territories. By exploring the abilities of this “luminous matter”, she uses cognitive processes (perception, sensation, memory, representation) and questions our understanding of the solidity of things. For it is at the moment when matter becomes movement and an interaction of forces that one is able to examine what remains invisible to the eye. Agathe Rosa’s creative process is generally initiated by an intuitive and foundational photographic act from which the entire work can unfurl, from immersive site-specific installations to drawing, and from assemblages of objects to video to writing. She pays particular attention to the notion of interval – a vacillating space and reverberation chamber in which reality is transfigured, in which insignificant passages and mysterious connections between each entity are created. This is how her work allows for physical laws to be broken, for vertigo to seize us, for scales to be exceeded, with time becoming matter and light becoming the main protagonist of this cosmogony.
Sophie T. Lvoff
Sophie T. Lvoff often bases her works on a research process. Relying on her precise knowledge of recent art history, she delves into it to find grounds for a vibrant reflection (relating to feminism, institutional critique and modernism, among others…) that she reactivates according to her commitments, subjectivity and current issues. While initially a trained photographer, Lvoff has broadened the scope of her production to practices open to writing, publishing, installation, performance, sculpture and even exhibiting… Her work is at times contextual and gives rise to political, poetic and collaborative spaces. When working with images, Sophie T. Lvoff focuses as much on the intimate as she does on the public. She sets in motion both photographs taken from collections or archives and her own pictures taken on her smartphone on a daily basis. Sophie T. Lvoff’s works are arborescent; they create connections (with authors, anonymous people, artists, texts…) to invent a new narrative, a new story.
Eleonora Strano
Eleonora Strano’s photographs approach reality through the prism of lived experience. While her series often recount specific contexts and situations (environmental, social, political…), they are also expressions of their author’s subjectivity as she explores the world as she does her own personal history. And so when she decides to take a look at the Chernobyl disaster, the photographer is also intent on scouring the places of her childhood in the South East of France to find clues of an explosion and traces of potential reparation. Fuelled by subjectivity, her work sometimes adopts a more documentary perspective in order to better convey living conditions under an authoritarian regime (Une histoire turkmène [A Turkoman Story]). But Eleonora Strano’s production is also marked by an interest in photographic experimentation, the materiality of the image and the mutations of the photographic landscape.
Céline Germès
Céline Germès’ paintings contrast the delicateness of their workmanship and smallness of their formats with the intensity of the subjects they depict. These pictures, which are based on news images from social media feeds or torch-lit, night-time photographs of nature, are mainly painted in oils and seem to be built on a time paradox. The immediacy of the snapshot contrasts with the slowness of the painting process. The warmth of the subjects coexists with the glazed materiality of the paint. The smoke, flames and electrical halos are as many textures that the artist enjoys capturing. They ignite the depiction to better emphasise colour and light. Through her works, Céline Germès constrains the spectacular into a form of gentleness, and in so doing broaches the subject of the proliferation of digital images and offers a new outlook on the world’s incandescence.
Guillaume Chamahian
Guillaume Chamahian’s artistic work was at first characterised by its own photographic style, which was directly concerned with the convulsions of the contemporary world. After having travelled to several countries to produce images of its collapse, his work now focuses on questioning the song and dance of representations that washes over the Internet and the way information is covered on various theatres of operations (military, geopolitical, in the media). Over the course of several years, the artist worked on the Syrian conflict without ever showing it straightforwardly. He took a particular interest in the Caesar Report, which gave an account of the atrocities committed in the Syrian regime’s prisons. He saw in it a new manifestation of human horror and, based on this example, attempted to deconstruct the mechanics at play in war propaganda. Guillaume Chamahian’s work is as investigative as it is denunciatory, but it is also (and mostly) bolstered by the strong and personal feeling that humankind and the world are on their last legs.
Delphine Wibaux
Delphine Wibaux focuses her attention on infinitesimal forms, on situations and configurations that contain subtle poetry. Her artistic work underlines elements of reality and shifts our points of view. Through the use of simple gestures, the artist extracts elements in order to highlight them and bring them to our attention. Her works are shaped in relation to their immediate environment. They are recordings, whether terrestrial, subterranean or celestial – readings of the world. Through installation, images, sculpture, as well as sound and writing, the artist seeks to produce a sensible reading of various contexts and sceneries. Whether she is placing landscape pictures on limestone or sandstone rocks, documenting the ebb and flow of waves and tides using a suspended weight, or producing images directly onto contact paper exposed to altitude sunlight, Delphine Wibaux intends to use any and all possible means to convey the strengths and weaknesses of the environment and of the living world.
Gillian Brett
Gillian Brett’s works are rooted in the invasion of our everyday lives by technology. Permanent acceleration, planned obsolescence, emerging needs, the increasing consumption of computer goods… Brett’s artistic process is woven into the era of widespread digitalisation. This on-going dematerialisation has an embodiment, it can be stored, translated and read; it exists in the form of very real interfaces that pile up and are digested in homes before being discarded in open landfills. It also exists in the precious metal mines. As a sculptor, the artist manipulates materials, paying close attention to the world that surrounds her and working from this senseless expenditure of resources. Using LCD screens, printed circuit boards, electronic components and electrical cables, she is able to compose screen-like paintings and sculptures whose forms are inevitably reminiscent of the dystopia at play, while also generating unexpected beauty. Gillian Brett strives to highlight, inside reality, the signs of our loss of common sense and of our gradual detachment from the living world.
Delphine Poitevin
Delphine Poitevin approaches drawing by confronting it with techniques or mediums that cause it to shift, heighten it, elude or reinvent it. Whether she is working on-site, drawing directly on the walls, or on the photographs themselves, she makes her artistic practice a space of indetermination that consequently redefines our relationship to images. Her works are full of the attention she gives to “peripheral” spaces in urban settings or to the spirit of abandoned places. They act as breaches that open us up to sensible interpretations of our everyday surroundings. Delphine Poitevin collects fragilities, precarious compositions that carry their own temporalities within themselves. She is interested as much in architecture and urbanism as she loves vacant lots for their incomplete nature. The goal for the artist is to search these liminal spaces for manifestations of the unexpected, temporary and at times minuscule appropriations, which are as many emergences of forms that evade the grid that usually governs spaces.
Nicolas Daubanes
A large part of Nicolas Daubanes’ work finds its roots in recent history. In events, uprisings or news items which all carry within them the signs of power dynamics, fights for social justice or rebellion. Rather than focusing on the emancipation process itself, the artist leads his research to the crux of the disobedience and takes an interest in the pivotal moments, the acting out, the strategies and actions that enable us to stand up to oppression. To this end, he studied the sabotage techniques used by resistance fighters imprisoned by the German during World War II. The Nancy prison mutiny, the trial of the Papin sisters and the Commune are some of these moments in which individuals fought to make their voices heard in times of social, military or cultural domination. Through sculpture, drawing, installation and memory work (such as reinstating a village market after it was cancelled during the war), Nicolas Daubanes has created a deeply political body of work that highlights commitments and acts of survival and liberation.
Flore Saunois
Flore Saunois’ work exists outside spectacle, sometimes in the interstices of the visible world, and often in the sinuosities of language. It is written in the folds of pieces of paper slipped in clothes, can be felt in the video footage of a curtain’s shadow, or in the utterance of a text read on a construction site. Her interventions are tenuous and make use of the spaces that they reinvent or highlight. Her work is one that draws attention to what is already there. It is also a journey that invites us to embark on imaginary and sensible transports. Flore Saunois creates performances in which text and sound are living materials, and also crafts small sculptures that often playfully defy customs and create paradox. In her publications, the artist shapes language as much as space and function (manipulation, reading). In every aspect of her artistic practice, Flore Saunois achieves a balance between presence and disappearance, opening new ways of understanding reality.
Hazel Ann Watling
Hazel Ann Watling approaches painting with a freedom that enables her to venture into many territories. On framed or unframed canvas, on fabric, volume, paper or wood: the way the artist uses these mediums always leaves room for experimentation. This results in a production that is brimming with life and energy. The sphere of images is the main grounds for her pictorial experiments, and is mainly conveyed through the choice of source photographs that the artist collects on a daily basis and compiles without any specific hierarchy. In her collection of images, reproductions of paintings by the masters live alongside digital pictures that flood social networks, intermingling and reacting against one another. From Instagram to art history (and even the artist’s daily life), these pictures enter the register of painting as soon as they are found and archived. They become elements that can serve the works: colours, textures, compositions, or rhythms… Hazel Ann Watling proceeds through extraction and, in doing so, offers us a flowing body of work that strives to document a vision that is undoubtedly rooted in its time.
Ben Saint-Maxent
Ben Saint-Maxent’s work is first and foremost the tangible manifestation of a specific type of relationship to the world. Beyond the techniques and mediums used, what seems to bring unity to the work is its extreme connection to its time, its awareness of the collapse underway and its vital and desperate desire to seize whatever beauty is left in the world. In Ben Saint-Maxent’s production, poetry infiltrates politics and can be seen as a form of resistance to the standardisation of lives and globalisation of desires. His installations, texts and videos are imbued with delicateness and determination, precariousness and wonder, and evidence an unwavering attempt to shake off the stupefaction and embrace whatever life there is with open arms. This effervescent body of work speaks of solitude and sharing, introspection and journeys, parties in the forest, nitrous oxide capsules, wildflowers and birdsong before the storm.
Isabelle Giovacchini
While Isabelle Giovacchini’s works have their roots in photography, they nonetheless remain open forms. The various techniques that govern their production respond to a desire to experiment and open fields of research (archaeology, history, ornithology, literature, geology…). My photography studies taught me a vocabulary tied to the ideas of analogy, fragmentation, imprinting and the negative image. This results in works that open up a space for possibilities. Any place in which an image appears becomes a field to question and occupy. Isabelle Giovacchini works on various temporalities: from L’esprit du lieu [The Spirit of the Place], a years-long project based on iconographic archives of Caligula’s galleys, to Les Alpes fantastiques [Fantastic Alps], a series of photographs based on a mountaineering book and created during lockdown, she questions the various natures of an image according to its location.
Dalila Mahdjoub
For Dalila Mahdjoub, art is a space for activism. Her field of action lies at the intersection of historical and sociological research, and relies both on the reinterpretation of archives and on the telling of family experiences. Her work, which takes on a variety of open forms (from documents to testimonies, and from drawings to animations and publications), revolves around the indignity of the administrative management of lives. It strives to bring visibility to what is hidden behind the veil of politics, things unsaid or unthought. As a consequence, France’s colonial past is at the heart of her research. Her memory work revolves around the stories of “Overseas workers” (whose archives she salvages and preserves) and of her own father, who was a factory worker for Peugeot. Dalila Mahdjoub questions dominant historical discourses and those of the media, who wield the idea of “the council estate problem”. Her work is grounds for a politically committed body of research, in which the artist becomes a mouthpiece for others against systems of erasure and contempt.
Cathryn Boch
Cathryn Boch’s works originate in chosen images: maps, atlases, press photographs, aerial views… Prior to being woven and covered in proliferations of threads that deconstruct them by transforming them in depth, these images featured areas, landscapes, and frontiers. The result of a minute and painstaking machine-sewing process, these works greet the eye with the full paradox of their nature, between dismantled territory and healed-over skin. Her drawings – or are they sculptures? – are physical landscapes suspended in a transitory state, skins like fragile reliefs. The paper, oilcloth and plastic curtains that the artist uses are eroded, swollen by the thousand-times repeated prick of the needle. There is beauty in the visual manifestation of this metamorphosis, a brilliance that unfurls in space through these stretched installations. At this point, Cathryn Boch summons other bodies – the bodies of the viewers – and invites them to confront their own presence to the precarious presence of her vertical constructions.
Mehdi Moutashar
For over 50 years, Mehdi Moutashar has developed a body of work that subtly combines Arab-Islamic tradition (particularly the art of the arabesque) with geometric abstraction (with an affinity for the works of François Morellet). Building on a deliberately limited formal vocabulary, his work pays close attention to space, its volumes and rhythmical qualities. The use of squares, segments and, in a broader sense, of geometry, enables him to create two or three-dimensional works that have the ability, through their inherent structure, to unfurl within the exhibition space. “To me, the only material is space,” he says. “There is one particular term I hold dear: construction. Rather than call my works paintings or sculptures, I prefer to call them constructions or structures. The aim is to create an autonomous plastic space”. Mehdi Moutashar’s highly personal brand of work provides a sensory experience, a cross between several cultures.
Hélène Bellenger
Although a trained photographer, Hélène Bellenger’s work relies more often than not on pictures produced in other contexts, such as advertising, decoration, fashion, science and social media. In her works, the nature, construction and purpose of these images are questioned in order to highlight the intentions that underpin their creation and circulation. When working with archive material from the Toulouse film library (Les corps dociles [Docile bodies]), her aim is to reveal the grotesqueness of the makeup of female models photographed from the 1920s to the 1950s, when the norms of the male gaze were at their peak. More recently, Hélène Bellenger has taken an interest in the emotion economy and emotional profiling on which the Instagram network is built. This work has resulted in olfactory pieces and installations that illustrate our captive fascination for a norm that thrives on the artificial depiction of happiness.
Ezio D'Agostino
Ezio d’Agostino is interested in occurrences in which reality shifts, and his photography often portrays this type of break. Whether focusing his work on missing people in Italy by showing empty places where they were last seen, or on Luxembourg’s economic model as it organises the transformation of its industry (from steelworks to banking and, soon, the mining of asteroids), the photographer operates primarily as an investigator. As a trained archaeologist, Ezio d’Agostino relies on researching the various stratifications that make up our environment so as to produce sensitive images that illustrate the evolving nature of the world. With a well-informed and meticulous eye, his photography brings together intuition and documentary know-how. “More than the places themselves,” he says, “what matters to me is the sensory and mental hold which the stories that happened there have on us.” The result is a subtle and meaningful body of work, which addresses narratives that stem both from reality and beliefs.
Caroline Trucco
Caroline Trucco’s work focuses on the displacement of women and men, cultures, and objects. Through photography, video and writing, she portrays urgency and exile by using the privilege of her own mobility to meet and accompany individuals moving between continents. When travelling to Africa (Cameroun, Morocco, Togo, Senegal, Benin…), she immerses herself in the beliefs, art and life of the locals, and pays close attention to the controlling structures that determine the course of migrations. The artist builds knowledge from experience and treats her methodology as a commitment. Her research mostly focuses on Westerners’ outlook on non-Westerners (in this case, Africans). It is also a case of documenting untold histories, particularly the issue of colonialism. In Caroline Trucco’s work, the political intersects with the poetical, writing with speaking, photography with documenting. In doing so, it creates a cluster of knowledge that questions various forms of exoticism and deconstructs them, giving way to a new shared history.
Charlie Verot
Charlie Verot is a painter who makes paintings (among other things). Behind the tautological nature of this phrase lies the idea that the artist strives to create art objects in a specific format (that of his queen size bed), thickness, type of canvas, mount, and paint – in other words, to create materiality. In order for the painting to manifest, he manipulates all kinds of images (a comic strip, an embroidered dragon, the title of a heavy metal album, an abstract motif…). This is how a sentence taken from a Snoopy strip can make its way into the composition of a painting: “My idols are dead and my enemies are in power”. It is in this coexistence of image and painting that a confusion of the eye is achieved. The artist knows his classics and chooses to stringently tackle the autonomy of an art that is anchored in reality. Despite his seeming nonchalance, Charlie Verot has put together a subtle body of work, which, painting after painting, plays around with the codes and references of painting history, from Paolo Uccello to Ad Reinhardt.
Mary Pupet
Mary Pupet’s work often uses humour to question the mechanisms, which, in many aspects, drive society. By implementing a vocabulary that operates through diversion, investigation or fiction, the artist points to alternatives that reactivate the idea of a potential emancipation. With boldness and derision, she appropriates the notion of “value production” to create her own (Monopoly) money and a banking institution to go with it. When focusing on language, she acquires words administratively to free them from being commercially exploited by companies seeking to increase their intangible assets. “Work, property, intangible values, and obscurantism are among the many subjects that interest me,” Mary Pupet writes. In addition to her conceptually driven works, she also develops a more “tangible” practice in which she sometimes associates ink drawing, acrylic paint and watercolours with gold leafing.
Jean-Baptiste Sauvage
In his latest works, Jean-Baptiste Sauvage has taken an interest in various iterations of speed and in the way painting manifests in the public space. His outlook on the production of utilitarian signs that remodel landscapes gives rise to a body of work that arguably positions itself at the intersection of Land Art and abstraction. Through his work, Jean-Baptiste Sauvage underlines, isolates and displaces some of the graphic elements that he finds disseminated in the real world. Whether these are the blue lines that circle the Castellet race track, the red dot signage used by the Elf brand on their service stations in the 1960s, or the razzle dazzle camouflage patterns used on boats during World War I, the artist encourages us to reconsider contexts through the renewed use of these geometric patterns. By combining research on archival images with site-specific productions, his works have the visual quality of functional paintwork and the ability to redefine the way in which we understand a given space. His interest in landscapes has also led him to develop pieces (photographs, screen prints, installations…) that use the skyline or the shadow cast by houseplants in painted windows as motifs. These propositions, which play on occurrences of contemplation and sudden appearance in order to question the production of images, also highlight the special attention Jean-Baptiste Sauvage pays to the way we perceive our surroundings.
Wilfrid Almendra
Wilfrid Almendra’s sculpture builds on the attention he pays to forms produced out of necessity. When his work includes elements of architecture, their sole purpose is to highlight our ability to make it our own, to take a step back from it, or to make do with it. This explains his interest in the fragile constructions found in allotments or outhouses, in that they feed into his curiosity for the manifestation of politics on an individual scale. In addition to the experimentation and contrasting materials, the making of each sculpture is informed by various encounters and the know-how and stories that come with them. They are the product of an economy of sharing, swapping, and trading of skills, knowledge and conviviality. It is a living production system that gives life to works that function as junction points in space. Wilfrid Almendra’s sculptures are made out of salvaged and melted-down copper, pieces of battered wood, butterflies, poems, swatches of construction materials, or brake pads. From this amalgamation arises a body of work that uses experimentation to deploy forms that are both subtle and political.
Bénédicte Thoraval
There is something paradoxically fragile and confident in Bénédicte Thoraval’s drawings. A line that seems to be as attached to tracing shapes as it is to drawing the space that welcomes them. As if background and figure were ringing in harmony to the point of blending together. Her works present themselves as fragmentary and tense, and strive to maintain a fragile equilibrium in which colour can unfurl. Whether contained or overflowing, set up for an exhibition or printed on fabric or in a book, Bénédicte Thoraval’s drawings are crafted with a particular attention to the nature of the mediums used and the quality of the space they offer. Figures that seem to come straight out of comic books mix with good-hearted animals, snaking plants and flowers exploding like fireworks. A sensitive world of lines and colours seems to fall into place – an engaging world, a reverie in an undulating landscape.
Club Superette
Through its work, the Club Superette collective composes an imaginary world in which magical creatures, luminous dolmens, two-meter high dogs and pagan altars coexist. Whether through sculpture, drawing or installation, it seems as if the artists in the collective aim to create mechanisms that will encourage the appearance of a world connected to unknown forces. The strange reality that they immerse us in is based on an iconography derived from experiments with shapes and textures, straightforward hybridisations and a particular attention to the living world. Faithful animals, insects, electric spiders, a human-faced goat – an entire animal reign lives together peacefully in their works. Club Superette’s profuse and liberal creative output draws from elements of popular culture like fantasy and the supernatural, and strives to bring to light the alchemic power in everything around us.
Lucio Fanti
Lucio Fanti’s painting exists within the scope of a more open practice of art, which embraces for instance sculpture, drawing, installation and stage design. Since the seventies, he has developed an artistic vocabulary in which form and the organisation of space and lighting go hand in hand with narration. While his first paintings saw him making an affectionate and ironic use of Soviet iconography, his more recent pictures construct landscapes of the minuscule. These paintings could at first be perceived as hyper-realistic renditions, if they did not gradually reveal themselves to be points of passage. As it happens, the whole world can be found in a single grape – landscapes and entire populations embedded in the surfaces and depths of the painting. Lucio Fanti espouses the idea of an amused experience of art, of a free praxis that may consist in making “grand paintings with minuscule subjects”. His work is an open playground where a particular poetics of the world grapples with the simple pleasure of the craft.
Nathalie Hugues
A significant portion of Nathalie Hugues’ work gives evidence of the way she looks at the more or less fortuitous assemblages and interactions of elements found in the public space. Her work is the expression of an interest in accidental compositions, which she captures with photography and transfigures through painting. In her pictures, reality is laid bare and shown with humour. Fragments of a suburban area, of a municipal pool, of a local garage, of garden or window ornaments… The excesses of the domestic space are framed with precision and painting has a part to play in the existence of these worlds that usually go unnoticed. “They are portraits, the artist explains. Portraits of a bush, a street lamp, a guardrail, or a fuse box.” Like an explorer of landscapes, she works on site, discovering her subjects as she goes for long walks through towns and villages. Nathalie Hugues also likes to tell stories by making films, in which she might for instance talk about the (super) heroic fate of her paintings or of a strange reinterpretation of Aztec history.
Cécile Savelli
Cécile Savelli’s paintings focus on intimate spaces and inner worlds. Her work is a projection that reveals a sensitive experience, a self-portrait as much as a portrait of family life, animals and the home. The audience is presented with a caring community, a circle open to imagination, in which the artist and her close relations live alongside dogs, cats, tortoises, seagulls, orang-utans, rabbits and other species of birds… Her pictures are households, sometimes even materialising on fabric taken directly from the home, like rags, wax cloth and curtains. Their subject matters are also derived from interiors: hallway, pedestal table, sofa… In Cécile Savelli’s work, the domestic space is a paradox. It is a place of stability and comfort, but also a place of isolation, of subjection, and even of a manifest expression of violence. This ambiguous space, which evades social commentary and reflects life in its most unfiltered form, is expressed through her painting with a precision tinged with false naivety.
Nicolas Ramel
By looking conjointly at his immediate environment and at art history, Nicolas Ramel is able to capture the gimmicks of contemporary society and to translate them as he pleases into free-formed artistic productions. His is an ironic take on painting (a historic medium if any), and he creates pictures based on the colours mentioned in popular songs. Because shaping data is a pretext to produce paintings, he also uses demographic statistics as guides for his compositions. In the series of sculptures The Message, Nicolas Ramel reinjects trending acronyms (ACAB) or hashtags (me too) into objects, thus generating a dark-humoured sense of tension. This process of juxtaposing heterogeneous elements could be seen as a permanent feature of Nicolas Ramel’s work. However, as the artist says in his statement, everything remains in constant motion, in that his purpose is first and foremost to “establish rules and constraints, in sincere bad faith” in order to, of course, “allow oneself to transgress them”.
Juliette Feck
First, one must picture Juliette Feck as a forager roaming the least civilised part of town to glean the dregs of the contemporary world (battered car doors, leftovers of burnt car bodies, mummified animals, canisters…). Then, one must imagine the artist as a 2.0 alchemist capable of turning these remainders of arson into constellations projected in a 3D world that can be explored with a 360° virtual reality headset. The artist takes in her surroundings with a keen interest in what makes today’s world so violent and, with a sleight of the hand, defuses and transforms it. Fire is a recurring motif in her work, in that it attacks and alters materials, and is also the focus of several of her ceramic pieces. It is the central element of an artistic praxis, which, if one were to look closer, could perhaps be interpreted as black magic.
Stefan Eichhorn
The history of counter-cultures and technological evolution have crossed paths constantly throughout the last sixty years, sometimes overlapping and developing a shared taste for building a new world. This is the premise on which Stefan Eichhorn builds most of his work – on these utopias, which, from popular cultures to the most specialised fields of space engineering, invent new horizons. His interest in the way the hippie community appropriated architect Richard Buckminster Fuller’s model for a geodesic dome, and its utilisation in scientific experiments like “Biosphere 2”, led him to create a series of sculptures that could be interpreted as habitats for technophile communities. The fantasy world of science fiction, the field of space conquest, exploration and ecology, as well as popular and scientific culture all feed into Stefan Eichhorn’s work, in which these domains of research are combined with an economy of means based on recycling and cheap materials. Could it be, therefore, that Stefan Eichhorn’s utopian new worlds are in fact just an illusion?
Rachel Poignant
At the heart of Rachel Poignant’s work lies a desire to experiment with materials and an interest in transformative processes. Moulding, as a gesture that enables her to duplicate volumes, has therefore become her preferred sculpting technique. Plaster, latex, paraffin, foam – her works focus on variations in materials, textures, lights and shapes, like surfaces made to record discrepancies. Starting with a paraffin mould, the artist creates imprints of reliefs that she uses to create a subtle vocabulary of shapes, which she can then modulate to compose sculptural phrases. The chemistry of the materials, the successive manipulations and the crafting conditions bring out specific events that make each piece unique and invariably connect the completed forms to their origin, to the moment they were made in the studio.
Juliette Liautaud
Juliette Liautaud’s pictures are fragments of reality. None of them tells a single story, but together they compose poetic and mysterious landscapes. Whether through her use of photography, video, music or publishing, her work is constructed as both a technical and physical exploration of the world. In her night-time wanders, for instance, the flash of her analogue camera will briefly illuminate a location, highlighting and capturing a dormant portion of nature, made of caves, undergrowth, plants, startled birds and fragments of bodies. Juliette Liautaud’s production expresses a sort of dark and gentle magic. It summons celestial bodies (the power of the sun, the energy of the moon), seasons, solstices and eclipses, and synchronises with natural cycles. The music that the artist composes contributes to the construction of this telluric world. Like her series of photographs and films, she writes music in snippets, with field recordings and by association, underlining the specific attention she pays to whatever exists beyond the visible realm.
Emmanuelle Villard
Emmanuelle Villard’s work utilises codes that relate to a certain idea of femininity. In her paintings and sculptures, the artist uses profuse collections of beads, rhinestones and mirrors to create colourful and often immersive assemblages. All these elements, which play a part in what she calls “feminine masquerades”, make up exuberant tableaux that deliberately play on the effects of hyper-seduction to the point of exhaustion. It is precisely this tension between the attractive quality of garishness and the repulsive effect of saturation that interests Emmanuelle Villard – her works are receptacles for the antagonisms of desire. In addition to references to the history of painting, from abstraction to Renaissance formal portraits, her work also addresses the question of the captive image – that of the woman as much as that of the viewer, whose face, if they were to look too closely, would be reflected and lost in the depth of the layers of brightly coloured matter.
Masahiro Suzuki
The poetic nature of Masahiro Suzuki’s work stems from its sensitive relationship to its immediate surroundings. Using a vocabulary of simple gestures (picking up, assembling, setting upright…) and natural materials collected in the forest, or other more hazardous ones found in his studio or around town, he composes totemic sculptures that he lets freely interact with their environment. Combining earthy and plant-like atmospheric colours and at times dense builds (blocks), Masahiro Suzuki’s sculptures seem to contain the ambivalence of a powerful yet harmonious nature. What matters in his volumes is first and foremost the way in which they are painted, and what is most obvious about them is the fragile balance of colours echoing that of the masses. Masahiro Suzuki’s works are infused with a highly personal perception of the world, and appear before us in all their subtle alchemy.
Jürgen Nefzger
For many years now, Jürgen Nefzger has focused his attention on the symptoms of the world’s collapse, on weapons of life destruction, and on forces of resistance. His photographs and films act as revealers of a troubling wave of environmental transformation. More than simple accounts, his works are made more potent by the precision of the vision that comes with their critical stance. They highlight the impact of a political model built on economy and consumption. By photographing contemporary landscapes marked by industrial activity, Jürgen Nefzger captures the world’s ongoing mutation. From the twin cooling towers of nuclear power plants to the modelised architecture of suburban housing estates, to what is currently left of the earth’s glaciers, his photographs are an acute encapsulation of an incredible acceleration that forebodes dark prospects.
Mohammed Laouli
Mohammed Laouli’s artistic vocabulary brings into play notions of post-colonialism, feminism, migration, and culture… His works, which make indiscriminate use of video, sculpture, interventions in the public space, and photography, aim to highlight the domination mechanisms that apply to various sectors of society. In some of these works, political and social boundaries are tested, crossed, and made explicit. From Rabat to Salé (its poorer suburb), from one shore of the Mediterranean – or any other sea – to another, he strives to bring to light life experiences relating to exile or social exclusion. Mohammed Laouli uses the reality around him to call out the regimes of the powerful (French colonisation, the patriarchy, institutions of power…). He focuses on working-class cultures and their rituals in order to convey the irony of a political situation that both generates and relies on inequalities.
Elvia Teotski
Manipulation of materials, construction, moulding, accumulation… Most of Elvia Teotski’s artistic gestures pertain to an eminently sculptural praxis. And yet her works are also informed by her interest in what is short-lived, fragile, or evolutive, therefore quickly shifting them towards the realm of the living. Oftentimes, she uses biological materials to construct (and deconstruct) shapes. Agar-agar, turf, candy floss, mushrooms, potatoes, soap bubbles – she makes use of biological transformation cycles to produce moving, indefinite volumes. Therefore, her exhibitions are designed as sequences indexed to the more or less protracted pace of organic occurrences. Elvia Teotski also creates videos, which, like her sculptures/installations, emphasise the perception of micro-phenomena and focus our attention on the realm of the infrathin.
Étienne Rey
The interpretation of reality by the viewer is the main focus of Étienne Rey’s work. To this end, he uses his installations and sculptures to distort what is assumed to be the basis for the understanding of a given context. His work revolves mainly around perception, point of view, and a form of sensory experience. One of the most important mediums in this transformation process is light, whether occurring naturally and reflected by filtering or diffractive materials, or artificial and made to interact with darkness or mist. Étienne Rey utilises the optical properties of glass or patterns to open up the framework in which we perceive our surroundings; his installations have been known to redefine the materiality of the façades or forecourts they are set in. Screens, outlines, blurs, turbulences, vortexes, and reflections are all defining components of his visual vocabulary, which he uses as tools in the deconstruction of reality.
Adrien Vescovi
Adrien Vescovi’s paintings are the result of a long colour mixing process. This process involves the artist collecting various natural elements, such as herbs, bark, spices, and leaves, which he then organises into baths with various maceration and infusion times. He formulates recipes to experiment on the way colour manifests and remains fixed to the canvas. His works are imprints of landscapes: once tinted, some of the canvases are exposed to the sun, moon, wind, or snow to become marked by the weather. They often cut loose from the frame to be shown on an architectural scale, in a natural setting, or taking up the whole exhibition space, thus reviving the idea of a deconstructive approach to the picture. The creative process itself is sometimes visible, and his “mixtures” and some of his installations show the transformation of pieces of cotton fabric steeped in jars, ponds, or lying on the forest floor. Adrien Vescovi works with an intuitive form of chemistry that formulates hypotheses and cultivates the environment’s reactions and coincidences.
Marco Barbon
The first thing that stands out in Marco Barbon’s photographs is the unusual quality of their lighting and texture. His use of a Polaroid camera often imparts a characteristic colour to his pictures, making them look similar to paintings once they are pigment printed. Some of his photographs are reminiscent of De Chirico, with compositions making use of projected shadows, elements captured on the spot, and spaces treated as settings. The creative protocol that Marco Barbon follows in some of his series can be understood as a space where time is shaped and potentially materialised. This experimental dimension is combined with a visual exploration of the boundary between reality and fantasy, and between the image as a document and the image as a medium for fiction.
Jean-Baptiste Janisset
Jean-Baptiste Janisset develops his artistic practice with an eye turned toward post-colonial history. He explores cities in Europe and Africa (Senegal, Algeria, Gabon, Benin…) in search of “Witnesses” of past events. Sculpted or animal-shaped representations carved in stone or wood, heraldry, coats of arms, and statues: he scours the public space for an ensemble of “objects” that seem to him like they document fluctuations in various domains (political, religious…) of specific societies. Once this scouting is over, Jean-Baptiste Janisset creates direct castings of the chosen items. These “Revelations” produce a moment of enchantment, a ritual that transcends and transfigures the moulded object. The casts are later used in sculptures and installations. For the artist, these “Stigmata” are as much a part of the creative act as his search for “witnesses” and his “revelatory” ritual. In this sense, his practice is as much a matter of sculpture as of performance and serendipity.
Floryan Varennes
There is syncretism in Floryan Varennes’ work – an improbable encounter between medieval history, which it constantly draws from, and the sociology of fashion and gender. The aesthetic production resulting from the intersection of these fields reinterprets, redefines, transforms or combines codes. For example, his sculptures inspired by medieval standards are made out of holographic leather (Codex Novem, 2018). The artist brings together the Limbourg brothers and Judith Butler in one unique vision. Shirt and jacket collars become motifs that symbolise the idea of power and of constrained bodies. Clothing can be the vehicle to assert one’s public identity, but it can also be oppressive. In Floryan Varennes’ work, it is fragmented, dismembered, and expressive of a hybrid identity.
Emmanuelle Nègre
Emmanuelle Nègre’s artistic project relies on the various modes in which images occur and are produced. One of these fields of research is film, in that it produces narratives and effects, while also being a well of formal invention. She draws from Kubrick, Hitchcock or Rohmer to appropriate, reinterpret or invent image production systems that she then recreates in the space of her installations. Found footage, editing salvaged photograms, scratching rolls of film – the gestures she performs when creating films are usually very basic, working directly with still images or fragmented sequences and tirelessly repeating the same action. This DIY dimension, in addition to being the foundation of the artist’s applied practice, can also be found in her performance work, in which a musical proposition prompts the creation of a larger-scale immersive filmic experience.
Olivier Cablat
Olivier Cablat grew up a few miles north of Marseille in a town that developed around a sprawling shopping area. His childhood memories are filled with visions of cheap architecture and flashy signs. As a consequence, his photographic work has focused extensively on these forms that have become such a visible part of the public space. The overexposure of messages through architecture or objects is one of his main fields of research. His personal experience becomes somewhat universal, in that the pictures he takes in the south of France could very well have been taken anywhere in the industrial world. Olivier Cablat is also interested in popular cultures: from his “Stade de la lose”, which compiles a parallel history of football, to his “scientific” inventory of various objects found in PMUs (betting cafes), his work is often tinged with humour, but respectful of the cultures that make up a world he is proud to belong to.
Katrin Ströbel
For Katrin Ströbel, drawing is a space in which painting, video, writing, and installation work can be indistinctly embodied. Therefore, she elaborates and lets her work transform according to the projects she chooses to specifically develop. Political issues relating to identities, urbanism, post-colonial history (among others), and the interaction between these various fields are the focus of her reflection. Her research gives particular prominence to the place of women’s bodies in the public space. She uses this feminist commitment to bring to light the unspoken and unthought aspects of society and to underline and question boundaries (geographical, social, sexual…). Katrin Ströbel divides her time between Germany, France, and Morocco, which enables her to put various cultures into perspective and document the impact of cultural contexts on the interpretations of a variety of life’s aspects.
Jean-Adrien Arzilier
Jean-Adrien Arzilier develops his work by using what surrounds him. Paying close attention to glitches in reality (the moments of hesitation during which something seems amiss as a result of repetition, incongruity, or outlandishness), he creates a vocabulary of forms based on his ability to synthesize. His works are a combination of his everyday curiosity, a certain taste for the absurd, and a pronounced attention to crafting. His sculptures are poetic hybrids, vehicles that push meaning to the boundaries of what we know. In his work, Jean-Adrien Arzilier multiplies kayaks (he makes three out of two), reinvents the wheel (by making it more streamlined!), stops time (saloon tables are broken over and over again), or builds a pirogue using nothing but a jigsaw… He operates in the manner of an amused demiurge, confident in his will to craft works that reflect his attentive observation of the world.
Nicolas Nicolini
Painting isn’t only a medium in Nicolas Nicolini’s practice; it is also a subject and grounds for research that remains in a constant state of renewal and experimentation. His pictures can also be understood as scenic spaces within which the game of representation unfolds. The objects he paints are placed in front of more or less natural backgrounds, centred and open to scrutiny; their presence is awkward and their incongruity occasionally borders on ridicule. The artifice of the staging echoes the artifice of the chosen objects. An inflatable (or non-inflatable) pool, a blue plastic sandpit, a tent, or a toy all evoke today’s need for leisure and represent symptoms of an idle society. His landscapes also seem consumable, prehensible, stunted, horizonless, even painted within the painting itself – and the circle is complete. Aside from this solitary work, Nicolas Nicolini has also created a variety of other painted or non-painted forms as a result of numerous collaborations. Whether working with the Yassemeqk collective or occasionally with other artists, he explores the multiple facets of shared creation.
Manuel Ruiz Vida
Manuel Ruiz Vida’s painting is related to the world of work, and more specifically to industry and working-class culture. His paintings often focus on the simplest of production tools: containers of all kinds, basins, cement mixers, shipping crates… Some of which he uses in his studio. The objects are isolated on canvas, therefore becoming the sole subjects of a style of painting that plays on texture. There is something “earthy” about his production, a form of sensitivity akin to political commitment. What he shows us is the texture of a harsh world, of an abandoned territory that is gradually disappearing. The painting brings to mind the notions of limit, passage, retention, and memory, which is why it is also quite obviously attached to the tragic subjects of war and exile. The traces of time and the indelible marks that man leaves on his surroundings are also present in these paintings. One might say that Manuel Ruiz Vida is a painter of history although, paradoxically, he uses a physical medium to depict the traces of a vanishing world.
Dominique Castell
Dominique Castell displays a taste for sensitive subjects – a taste which at once points to a singular position in a field generally more inclined toward neutrality and restraint. Her work, which combines drawing and an interest in the spatial layout and/or activation of her pieces, focuses on the manifestation of desire and love. In this sense, it relies as much on a tradition of thought as on her subjective relation to the world. Currents, breathing, and invisible and irresistible forces are recurring elements in her work. The body also plays a part, either through the use of dance-related motifs or the artist’s compulsive tracing of lines. The resulting pieces are highly expressive and emotion-filled, like so many personal explorations. In some instances, Dominique Castell uses the red, sulphur-coated end of matchsticks to draw her motifs or words, therefore metaphorically re-enacting the incandescence of love.
Eric Bourret
The work of the “walking artist” Éric Bourret follows in the footsteps of British Land-Artists and landscape photographers and explorers. Éric Bourret has travelled the world on foot since the 1990s, exploring a wide variety horizons and altitudes while taking photographs that he calls “walking experiences” or “experiences of the visible world”. With these pictures, Bourret conveys the deep sensory and physical transformations undergone in the process of walking. The experience of the path travelled exacerbates one’s perception and responsiveness to one’s surroundings. During his day or month-long walks, the artist uses the process of layering several views of the same landscape on a single negative. These sequences intensify and accelerate the imperceptible movement of geological strata and suspend our sense of fleeting temporality. Éric Bourret’s photographic calendars disintegrate the initial structure of the image to create a new, unsettled and tangible reality. As the artist says himself, these pictures are the result of a subjective experience: “I am the product of the landscapes I travel through and that travel through me. To me, the photographic image is a repository of shapes, energy, and meaning.”
Julia Scalbert
Julia Scalbert’s paintings and ceramics develop a strange vocabulary of simple shapes that border on the unknown. Tubes, slices, stacks, organic elements – everything in them seems unstable and perilously assembled. Perhaps we are looking at the infinitely small, a microscopic vision of life, or we might also come across a few deep-sea plant species. Julia Scalbert’s work posits the ambiguity of motifs as a prerequisite. She has created a world that is sufficiently familiar not to seem foreign, but too indefinite to be classified. Her paintings show piled-up shapes standing out on monochromatic, depthless backgrounds; curious elements, which, despite their abstraction, encourage speculation. Her paintings make use of the tense relationship between flatness and three-dimensionality. Volumes are conveyed through the use of subtle layers of fluid colour, which she superimposes to create strata. Julia Scalbert strives to keep things standing despite their apparent inconsistency and, while their presence may seem fragile, the shapes she creates are steady and manage to hold together the compositions on their own.
Jean Laube
Jean Laube is a painter and, in this capacity, he creates works in which motifs and colour structure the composition of the pictures. But his work as a painter also consists in assembling objects, maquettes and small sculptures. The actions he associates with his practice involve cutting out, collage, inversion, stacking, building cardboard architectures and proposing points of view… It is, therefore, painting in a wider sense: the object of this form of art could be space – the space one stands in when facing the artwork, or the space that the artist feels and questions. There is always volume in his painting: objects, of course (his “Chambres” (“Cameras”), which, once held up to the eye, reveal coloured spaces more or less bathed in light), but also outlines and motifs repeated on paper, and which create rhythm and depth (his “Éphémérides” (“Calendars”))… Colour is designed to reinforce the construction of these spaces by supporting or opposing the volumes. The result is a non-restrictive body of work, which, although it relies on the vocabulary of painting, manages to definitively free itself from the enclosed space of the canvas and of its attributes.
Aurore Valade
Aurore Valade creates performative and interactive installations in which she encourages anonymous people to (re)enact moments inspired by their everyday life. She puts together photographic scenes, which are first and foremost actions rather than representations. Her pictures are the result of accounts gathered, conversations, and stories, which develop through accumulation in an attempt to draw the outline of an intimate and social territory. Her aim is to portray complex identities through which characters can open up and merge together in their surroundings.
Anne-Sophie Turion
Whether on stage or in the public space, alone or as a duo with Jeanne Moynot, Anne-Sophie Turion invents artwork as if she were creating rifts. Her work on performance, installation, and interventions circumscribed to a certain extent to urban spaces, tackles and re-qualifies the notion of reality in a will to shift it towards the realm of fiction. The artist is familiar with theatrical apparatuses and the artifices of cinema, playwriting, music, lighting, and scenery, and uses these to generate situations in which spectators are led to reconsider the territory on which they stand. Anne-Sophie Turion works with elements that construct emotions at a more or less conscious level, and makes use of popular culture (karaoke, pop music, cinema…) and personal and collective memories. With these elements established as a common foundation, she develops works that become as many destinations, as many doors to the possibility of a different reality.
Maude Grübel
Intimacy in photography is a fragile domain that one must tread carefully. A German-born living in France, Maude Grübel positions her work on this fine line, with a blend of reserve and determination. Her and her family’s origins, Tunisia, Poland, but also Algeria, her personal journey, trajectories, and obstacles – the photographer is not afraid of her subjects. She constructs her pictures with strength and restraint, developing an eminently personal body of work that still manages to reach beyond the mere subjective experience. Maude Grübel captures fragments of bodies and broken up spaces to turn them into a whole that (re)constitutes a fragmentary or precise memory. She sometimes uses drawing in the elaboration of her projects – it operates in the realm of sensations and of the elusive, its lines taking over from the picture in an uncompromising exploration of what makes us human.
Jean-Philippe Roubaud
A graduate of the Villa Arson (Nice), Jean-Philippe Roubaud paints drawing or draws painting. His tools include pencils, paintbrushes, and consistently graphite. Paper, the traditional medium of drawing, becomes in turn plane and volume, trompe-l’oeil and abstraction. His painted drawings function as quotes, either taken from scientific publications or simple memory-related phenomena. The subjects broached and evoked by the artist through the use of this archaic technique include architecture, sculpture, photography, and the trajectory of bodies, thus ceaselessly questioning the role of drawing in the history of Art.
Baptiste César
My artistic practice is multifaceted. The direction it takes changes with each new idea. Whether using installation, sculpture, drawing, painting, video, performance or writing, I try to maintain a poetic approach to my environment and to what is happening in it by producing both an intimate and universal message. My artistic work often happens on impulse and “in situ”. An idea comes to me as I walk through a specific location, which I then develop by researching information and anecdotes. The work of art then goes through the successive processes of inspiration, conception, search for materials and space, making, and exhibition. This series of protean works enables me to offer a comprehensive ensemble that indirectly triggers a thought mechanism. My artwork is inspired by a great number of artists, as well as alternative culture, underground networks, cinema, and comics.
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 Pagès
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.
Fouad Bouchoucha
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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
For the past several years, Anthony Duchêne has developed a work based on sculpture, drawing and objects, and directly inspired by cooking and its history. Merging the world of gustative and olfactory sensations with that of hunting and nature, his works evoke hybrid figures and mutations of plant species that inspire him to create new combinations. His latest exhibition, entitled Le repas des interdits (The meal of interdicts), included hybrid utensils inspired by the book Les Gastronomes de l’extrême (Extreme gourmets), as well as a series of “Nose glasses” – tasting glasses each matching the nose of its user.
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 Beloüin
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.
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.
Bettina Samson
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.
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
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.
Thierry Agnone
My artistic practice for the past twenty-five years has consisted mainly in drawing (Rotring 01, felt-tip, coloured pencil) and sculpture (polyester resin, assemblages of plastic elements, engravings on cardboard, paper stilettos). Two years ago, I decided to put my work into perspective and to take new risks by tackling the prodigious and wonderful task of translating my world into painting. The first step consisted in choosing my technical specifications, mediums, formats, and painting technique. After a period of six months or so, during which I found myself floundering in my studio trying to build a meaningful backbone and to eliminate the excesses specific to the discipline, I gradually freed myself of the disruptive elements of my practice as if I were inventing a new vocabulary, following which I decided to produce a series of fifteen large-format canvases (140 x 190 cm) and a series of large drawings. Then I was hit by a literary obviousness: Dante’s Inferno would be my unifying theme – not to illustrate the book or to use as straightforward inspiration, but as an allegory that would underscore my work and serve as my Ariadne’s thread, my safeguard, and my driving force. 2017
Virginie Hervieu
Virginie Hervieu-Monnet uses garbage and shopping bags, plastic covers, building restoration nets, wool and glass, which she subjects to transformations that generate the work of art, the shape of which is the result of the material’s reaction. However, while this chain of operations is the most obvious aspect of her creative process, it is far from being exclusive. The interventions on these materials can also be someone else’s doing. They can be anonymous in the case of found objects, or carried out by a collaborator, as was the case during a residency at the Centre International d’Art Verrier (International glass-making centre) in Meisenthal. The transformations can also be the result of entropic phenomena due to the quality of the material itself. Because of the central role played by the material, which, rather than be shaped into a predesigned configuration, determines the shape of the work itself, Virginie Hervieu-Monnet’s output is rooted in the artistic lineage of Anti-form. (Marie Adjedj, excerpt from the presentation of the Activité exhibition, February 2017)
Agnès Vitani
Agnès Vitani’s work, which hails from a pictorial tradition, establishes a symbiosis between reality and abstraction by following the principles of overflowing and contamination. […] The artist salvages and recycles the mnestic traces of her pictorial work by elaborating task traps (tattoos, the tensile grids of geometric abstraction, synapses). The fragments of paint that cover the floor are therefore fixed, later to be absorbed by the surface of the painting. The shift from a plane surface to a three-dimensional object and vice versa is a frequent occurrence in her work, in which she recycles fragments of reality, furtive images of banality (a lost shoe lying in the road, a burst balloon in a field…), offering us combinatory pieces that seem to be frozen in mid-expansion and significance, in a state of latency. Her installations Douces et refroidies (Sweet and chilled) and La Promenade ou pas de printemps pour Marnie (The Walk or No spring for Marnie), follow an apparently motley system based on accumulation, repetition and entropy.
Olivier Rebufa
[…] Olivier Rebufa became known as a visual artist and photographer in 1989 thanks to his unique technique of incorporating photographic self-portraits into reconstituted miniature environments, surrounding himself with dolls, figurines, toys and scale models. His works are filled with humour and play on the notions of reality and artifice. His major solo exhibitions were held during the International Photography Biennale at the Musée de Marseille, at the Maison des RIP in Arles, and in Canada and Paris in the 1990s. 1998 marked his return to Senegal in search of his identity and memories. He would return there several times to gather accounts and stories, and build relationships for his project Keur Danou, in which he recounts his African experience, his childhood memories, as well as the cultural, economic and religious shock he encountered there. The 2000s saw him start a new project based on his African origins, Kawat Kamul, in which he broaches questions relating to the artist, the shaman, and the sacred nature of artwork. (Judith Peyrat, Baudouin Lebon Gallery).
Frédérique Nalbandian
My work involves small and large-scale sculpture, evolutive installation, in situ intervention, and drawing. My fascination and preoccupation with matter, its immanence and its whiteness led me to manipulate two recurring substances: soap and plaster mixed with water. It seems to me that matter induces a space for reflection where it might be worth rethinking the place it occupies within the field of contemporary sculpture, as well as in the context of today’s society, which has become time-controlled and threatened by the impending sterility, if not “uncontrollability”, of our increasingly virtual modes of organisation and communication. By using direct processes in an experimental way, my aim is to create a poetic world based on derision, between the loss of the model and its improbable reproduction, between the logical and didactic process of the manipulated substances and their “distressed” or “re-presented” form, and about subjects that are of specific interest to me: existence, the expression of its bodily form (the organism), emptiness, precariousness, memory, and finitude.
Frédéric Clavère
[…] Frédéric Clavère’s practice of painting often resembles collage. The artist is drawn to the cinematic image and to unexpected juxtapositions and combinations. He is known for his series of canvases, fabrics, and shapes carved in wood or painted directly onto the walls, all of which echo one another. In doing so, he establishes correlations – between a BMW, a hearse, an Indian dancer, the red hermaphrodite, Shiva, two animals, the devil… If any provocation is involved, it is first and foremost directed at himself. Brutal imagery (of martyrdom) is proof. And a game. A trial and a game. Frédéric Clavère paints ordeals. And suffering. And violence. He isn’t sure what it does for him, but he knows he needs it. He constructs his paintings around myths and mythology. He is interested in secrecy. Secrecy and the unmentionable. He isn’t the first to do so. Frédéric Clavère’s work revolves around knowledge acquired through secrecy. He believes that painting is obscene and that it can only startle him when he forgets about it. He isn’t in search of anything. Or maybe he is looking for something time-related. About time and secrecy. Jean-Pierre Ostende Frédéric Clavère teaches at the Villa Arson, Nice.
Lina Jabbour
Lina Jabbour was born in Beirut in 1973. She graduated from the ENSA in Bourges in 1998 and, after a residency at Astérides, moved to Marseille. Since 2009, she has spent her time between Clermont-Ferrand, where she teaches at the art school, and Marseille, where she lives. Her first works conveyed a strongly political identitary discourse, before evolving towards a more onirically-oriented aesthetic vocabulary, as if the question of foreignness was gradually replaced by that of strangeness. Lina Jabbour fully develops this vocabulary in her installations, which show a preference for drawing and mural painting, and with which she specifically challenges our point of view and leads spectators from an immersive environment to a more intimate register.
André Mérian
“I came to Marseille in 1987. I knew almost nothing about the Mediterranean horizon, and it ended up changing my worldview radically. After a period of maladjustment and self-questioning, I began to work on Marseille’s coastline, the result if which were blurry, grey pictures and a desire to escape a certain reality. A few years later, I joined the association Sud Image Territoire, which led me to tackle the subject of “a new geography” – the landscape and its territory, its transformation and its evolution, alternated with its human aspect. I remain very sensitive to the issue of the place of people in these spaces. I remain at a distance in my approach of reality in order to convey tension, emptiness, and even loss. To me, photography is a way of thinking, living, and self-questioning.” Bernard Pourrière Since the beginning of his career, Bernard Pourrière has examined the evolution and transformation of life in relation to new technologies. He is interested in the notions of space-time and in the shifting, movements and gestures of the body in space in correlation with digital media. He has developed an experimental acoustic work since the late 90s, which includes both performances and at times interactive installations. He has collaborated with musicians, dancers and choreographers on numerous occasions, and composed a great number of soundtracks for artists’ videos.