Jeune Création 2013. Translated to mean Young Creation, the title tells it all. The show that spanned across the stables of the CENTQUATRE-PARIS brought together 56 artworks (out of 2700 applicants from around the world) whose mediums featured new media, sculpture, illustration and painting.
The stables of the CENTQUATRE with their raw concrete walls and high arched ceilings lent themselves nicely to the experimental feel of the works as well as the curation of the works in the space. Out of the 56, there were just a handful that captured my full attention.
Konovalova’s Pointing North is a table of pencils sharpened down so that both ends show perfectly pointed lead tips. Her work is curious. She describes her practice as one where she responds to the material or environment at hand — “migrant”, to use her own word. There were a few things that came to mind when I first saw her work. The first was that it looked like the type of trap one laid on the ground for the unsuspecting intruder. The other was that it highlighted a point of arrival and departure. This perhaps is closer to her intentions with a title like Pointing North and a word like ‘migrant’ for a description of her art practice.
Something about a work that two people with opposite opinions on art both enjoy tends to stick out slightly more. Valérie’s Trophie series is one such work. “Paintings, sculpture and (what she calls) object pretense” are presented side-by-side in this exhibition. It reminded me a little of Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs, but just for its visual presentation. For S, he enjoyed that it seemed a puzzle, parts broken down and reconstruction in different material forms. There is a sense of opulence in this series by Collart. The texture of the paint of her ‘Trophies’ carries an impression of marble and grandeur; a convergence in the sense of art and wealth is also carried through in the title of the work – Trophies. In this series, Collart focuses on the changes of perception when observing the work in 3D and then in 2D and back again; the work highlights the translation of sculpture into drawing and drawing into sculpture.
The sculptures entitled: Trophies Fat Lava 2012-2013
The painting entitled: Ruby Goldberg 2013
A cluster of small white boxes on the floor – that’s all you see at first. On closer inspection you notice little confetti-like disks strewn around the boxes; they’re multicoloured – red, blue, pink, yellow: very fiesta-like. I walked around the installation, feeling like Godzilla, towering over the tiny ‘buildings’. It then started to become clear that the confetti bits were made of the white cardboard: the white cardboard boxes had multicoloured insides. Alas the title: Merck city ? (detail), 2013. Boîtes de médicaments retournées, dimensions variables (translated to read: Merck city ? (detail), 2013. Boxes of returned drugs, variable dimensions). Durel’s work seems to comment on the conglomeration of our over prescribed, ‘perfect’ consumerist world.
Antoine Desailly’s work is large whilst being small and intricate. His A2 framed paper drawings feature tiny illustrations of trees, men blowing leaves with leaf blowers or people on lifeboats in expanses of sea. His works call you to go up close. My nose was nearly pressed against the glass of the frame, but I’d put that down more to my genetically horrible eye sight than the minuteness of the pigment on paper. Still, his work speaks in a whisper. You need to be considerably close to it to pick up all the subtle details; a fallen tree, a raft void of people… Because of the subjects of the drawings (elements that are usually found in expansive surroundings) his would be the type of work you’d describe as “cute” and “comical”. It also carries a satirical undertone that you ‘hear’ when up close to it. Desailly’s drawings feel like wallpapers that you take for granted and then realise one day that they contain humorous hidden messages. “Heh”, you find yourself going.