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Bourses BLCG 2021
Exhibition at Centre d’art Contemporain in Geneva
The proposal for this exhibition includes a series of papier-mâché casts of pieces of school furniture repainted in trompe-l’oeil, accompanied by a rap (which I wrote and sang to a beat made by Panick Ionesco), as well as two large-scale drawings.
When I used to work as a visual arts teacher in schools, I became very aware of the role of school furniture as a regulator of the relationship between body and space: in the context of the classroom,
the arrangement of the chairs and tables says a lot about the power structures: if they are arranged in rows and separated from each other, it will be more difficult for students to talk together, whereas if arranged in a circle, they will facilitate communication.
The ways in which students reappropriated them by engraving them, drawing and sticking stickers on them testified of a tension present in this institutional framework, that I feel is not far from the carnival inversion. They are accompanied by a rap song about a bad work experience I had where I was unjustly fired from a teaching position in a private school.
Two large drawings hung on the wall accompany them with their colorful and grating universe, one representing characters indulging in a party that seems generous and comical at first glance, but turns out to be empty and and absurd: the glasses and plates are empty, the banner is meaningless, and the whole is framed by two disturbing figures on both sides of the painting. The second one represents flying animals in paradise, but on closer inspection they reveal themselves to be stuffed animals, inspired by amateur images found on the internet.
Solo show at Halle Nord, Geneva
«Candy Island» is an installation I made for Halle Nord, an art center in Geneva. It offered an immersive experience to the public by letting them discover its colored interior of stained glass windows made out of sugar, backlit by neon
lights in the manner of a light box.
The shape of the construction and the landscape represented by the stained
glass windows were inspired by the Rousseau Island, located near the MontBlanc bridge in Geneva. This island is an in-between space : a «natural» haven of peace with its trees and birds, but disturbed by the large luminous signs, stores and cars which circulate incessantly on the Mont-Blanc bridge. It is also an emblematic place in Geneva, which owes its existence to the fortification of the city’s lake entrance five centuries ago.
These elements were treated through the following choices of materials: the Isomalt sugar that looks like glass, combined with neon lights that imitate the light of day, giving an impression of natural light even though the installation is in fact a big light box. Together they create a feeling of illusion and disorientation in a space that represents a «natural» landscape, illustrating the harmony of the island, but also bringing to mind popular
tales like Hänsel and Gretel.
I paint and draw a lot. Drawing is important to me because it is a medium that is very close to writing, it can have an intuitive quality that makes it possible to directly translate a thought or a desire on paper. I believe that my drawings
match this description, because they are made with acrylic colour but using a technique that is usually used for aquarelle. Many of these works are «one shots».
On the other hand, I am very inspired by medieval, classic and contemporary painting and various crafts, like those used in carnival, stained glass, sugar… I am constantly reflecting on what a painting or an image can be, in order to
go beyond the classic oil painting without ignoring it. I believe that many of my works, like my paper-mâché sculptures, my stained glass windows made out of sugar and my miniature paintings on pins that I give to my friends
are paintings, because I feel that this medium goes beyond its traditional definition.
Chairs is a serie of papier-mâché chairs painted as trompe l’oeils.
I chose this object because it is necessary in everyday life and can yet be very easely forgotten. It is noticed when its missing. I often spend time in alternative spaces, A serie of paper-mâché chairs, benches and stools painted as trompe l’oeils. I chose these objects because I encountered them in places that had the fonction of educating me : School, university, military service… I noticed that they were a way of regulating the way people inhabited these spaces. For
example in school, the way the students are sitting in the room can say many things : you can align and separate them if you want them work individually, or make a circle if you want them to work in groups. I was interested in the
way people claimed them by drawing and scratching graffitis or putting stickers with political slogans on them : I believe that they are the carriers of a certain culture.
I usually exhibit these works with a rap song I wrote and sang about a work experience where I unfairly lost my teaching job at a private school.
These sculptures require a very demanding painting and sculpting process. The technique consists in making an exterior mold of the chair with papier-mâché and then painting it with acrylic colours. I then carve words or symbols
in them and put previously painted stickers on them.
A very critical session
A very critical session
Each semester during my studies, the students were invited to present their work to an invited teacher and other students during what was called a critical session. I had chosen to do mine with a fellow artist, Gabriel Nunige. It was the occasion to work with the context of the critical session in an artschool.
Two things interested me: Inverting the role of the teacher and the student in a carnavalesque manner and to use the social aspect of that event. Our invitation e-mail informed the public that the invited teacher to our critical session would be the artist John Armleder. It had a certain impact, since the artists that were supposed to have their critical session the same day wanted to cancel them. We reassured them that he would only be present to ours. When our turn came, we welcomed our numerous visitors. John Armleder was a bit late. He appeared with a mask I made of him and silently walked through the show, stopping from time to time to appreciate some detail on a drawing. Some people took selfies with him and posted them on social media.
Solo show at Duplex, Geneva, on an invitation of Remi Dufay
This project emerged of the desire to create an installation in which to show my work. Inspired by the carnival in basel, I built a white cube made out of papier-mâché in the exhibition space. It was a rectangular space (height: 2 meter 20, width: 3 meter, length: 5 meter 30) maintained by a wooden sctructure which bore the white papier-mâché walls. Just like a theater set, the structure and the back of the walls were visible on the outside.
I paid attention to details, like the electrical outlet. Since this space had its own lighting, I shut off that of the building. On the inside of the papier-mâché-space, the walls were white and opaque, while they revealed transparencies similar to the lanterns of the carnival in Basel on the outside. The contrast between the inside and the outside created an immersive experience, which is one of the key caracteristics of the traditional white cube. The spectator was invited to see my artworks inside of the installation.
“Carnavals” is the result of a one-year research about the carnivalesque spirit in different contexts, with the carnival in Basel as starting point. Under the direction of Christophe Kihm.
“Untitled” is a comic about three mutant dictators who reign over a people of robots.