The impossible image and the space of its narrative What is hidden behind an image? What story is buried in the texture of the painting? These questions can be those of the viewer contemplating the artwork which observes him and which will end up hypnotizing him in a slow movement of vertigo. This essential experience of being drawn into the space of the image is at the base of my artistic practice. I remove images from their pictorial frame, literally pulling the threads of the canvas to unroll a story. My yarn intertwines personal mythologies, art history, and cultural representations, where the process of creation itself and the conditions of emergence of an image weave the main storyline. The use of thread and needle is preponderant in my work. The embroideries form unstable textures whose survival depends on the knot. The embroidered images thus carry the possibility of their own disappearance. Knotting and unknotting, making and unmaking. This repertoire of gestures and techniques can be found in classical representations of women at work: embroidering, sewing, stitching, perforating, cutting, and waiting. In mirroring them, these movements define the positions of my body in the act of creation. These narratives take the form of installations inhabited by tableaux vivants, photographs, and perforated or embroidered drawings. I create objects, tools, and costumes that are used in the creative process. Words and stylistic elements such as oxymorons, ellipses, and repetitions provide scripts. The characters that run through these scenographies are iconic figures in the history of representations of the Feminine: Bia de Medici painted by Bronzino, Aline, sister and model of the painter Chassériau, joined by the Angel of Dürer’s Melencolia I, and by Augustine, the favourite patient of the neurologist Charcot. Motifs and materials stem from the tradition of vanitas and still life: thorns, gems and pearls, butterflies, bones, animals and textile patterns are combined with embroidering and sewing. The images experience repeated variations in form and texture. They pile up, create layers, blur and negate each other. Epiphany.
«The last time you went out the snow lay on the ground. You now on your back in the dark stand that morning on the sill having pulled the door gently to behind you. You lean back against the door with bowed head making ready to set out. By the time you open your eyes your feet have disappeared and the skirts of your greatcoat come to rest on the surface of the snow.»*
The occasion for this exhibition was an envelope that we received from France a few months ago. The sender did not give his name. The envelope contained 10 family photos, each pasted facedown with double-sided tape on white cardboards, and a small note with the following text:
«I have no talent for any artistic activity. Talent precedes the need to create. Without it, there is no satisfaction. Everything I started was abruptly stopped by the mediocrity of the draft and immediately destroyed, like a drawer that can only be opened from the inside. I recently attached the front of some old family photos to white cardboard with double-sided tape. Thus, only the pink paper remnants could be seen on the back of these photos. My mother detached them from two different albums and I inherited them after her death. These upturned photos are the sum of my failure. You will find them in this envelope.»
This exhibition asks about absence, replacement, withdrawal, longing, dispossession, and failure with 14 artists, 15 works, and the 10 white cardboards of this anonymous person. Each work is accompanied by a short text either by the artist or the curator, or borrowed from existing texts.
With works by: ANONYMOUS. MIMMO CATANIA. JOY DRURY COX. JACOB EL HANANI. RICHARD HAMILTON. ZORAN MUSIC. HARALD NAEGELI. EMMANUELLE RAPIN. FRANZ RIEDL. DIETER ROTH. SIMON SCHUBERT. BRIAN SMITH. PIERRE TAL COAT. JIŘÍ VALOCH.
Here are some visuals of my presentation of 3 works from theD-Ring Projetc Museseries at the Hamburg Art Fair (INC-Art August 26th to 29th 2021) .
The works were presented in the Textile Art Space curated by the Studio Beate & Celina von Harten (Vienna). A space presenting different positions and practices of textile art: woven paintings, textile sculptures, embroideries on paper, works experimenting in the field of vegetable dyeing…a rich and exciting scene!
I presented 2 embroidered collages : D-ring project Muse 1 and 3, as well as the Giant Cross Stitch Grid, made from the embroidered collage Muse 1.
Especially for the occasion, the fashion designer Valeria Piskounova (VLSH Studio) created a unique jacket for me from the printed canvas of my embroidered collage Muse 3.
This time I used the photographs of graffiti that I take in Berlin and which are the basis for the embroidered collages.
In bulk we also find my favorite themes:
A photograph of “levitation”, or lethargy , a muscular hyperexcitability caused by the method of hypnosis of Pr. Charcot. Photograph taken between 1876 and 1878, from the Iconography of the Salpêtrière.
Butterflies, death masks (here the death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte)
Since 4 months I started to make mood boards, very bad mood boards.
I create a bad mood board every new moon, because I don’t like to start on the first of the month, I could see that I was always behind on my work, my ideas, which is depressing. So I thought that maybe following the new moon to start my work could offer more flexibility…Here is the very first bad mood board made with my collections of exhibition and magazine images, in bulk there are images from Tarkovsky’s films, mourning art objects, a black aluminium sheet…I complete it with its associated colour palette and a work by Odilon Redon.
Finally the Muse 1 tarpaulin is finished. It measures 200 cm by 150 cm. I don’t embroider everything, I wanted to leave the colours symbols generated by the transfer work of my original collage in cross stitch grid. I embroidered giant feather stitches to disrupt the regularity of the cross stitch.
Here I share some pictures of the small original embroidered collage (30x42cm)
And here are some pictures of the giant cross-stitch tarpaulin.
I needed more time for my experimentation with this large tarpaulin, here are some pictures and one video about the process from the last weeks.
I like the relationship with this format that goes beyond me. The work of embroidery becomes very physical, choreographic. I like the amplitude of the movements that lead the act of embroidering to that of performing.
I connect again to the embroidered performances I used to do a few years ago. A pure Joy!
In the last few weeks I have been working on larger formats from my collages.
At first I am working on the cross-stitch prints but I want to add other embroidery techniques like Lunéville crochet to give more texture and disturbance. See you in 2 weeks to see if it works the way I want!
I made 3 prints from my D-Ring Muse 1 collage to create a huge cross-stitch. This first print was for my experimentations with different ways of stitching techniques. It looks like Penelope meets Street Art , I will need two lives to work on this one , or 100 hands!
The second art collaboration I made with the painter Florence Obrecht : Encre Brodée 2, Ink on Paper by Florence Obrecht, I create the embroidery with cotton and lurex threads, glass beads.
21,2cm x 16,5 cm, May 2020.
This collaboration with Florence is made for the project Les Amis des Artistes (see my first post here) initiated by her Gallery in Paris and various cultural institutions in order to help artists during the Corona crisis.
The Back side…I do like the other side of an embroidery, of any embroidery! I think they have a fragile beauty in theire unevenness…
Art Collaboration Encre Brodée 1, Ink on Paper by Florence Obrecht, Embroidery made with cotton and lurex threads, pyrite stones, crystal, glass beads and sweet water pearls, 21,2cm x 16,5 cm, May 2020.
Florence Obrecht is a painter working on many themes that are close to my artistic concerns. She works with found images, photographs from unknown people that she reuse in her paintings in order to celebrate their memory.
This textile Still life is the newest I created , and maybe the last one in this form.
It is made with bird’s wings found on the flea market and a vintage men jacket, it is composed of a branch of rose embroidered with glass beads ans cotton threads , scraps from glitter fabric and plastic, pieces of ribbons .
Yes it is probably the last one, the last still life . I want to extend the embroidery and the sewing techniques on a larger scale.
I may build bigger and larger textil still life for a wall or for a room, or the the city (like the D-Ring the Muses in the city project) by using bigger embroidery tools ( I have to build it ) and threads.
Anyway , I want to share images of The Messenger creation process.
I am fascinated and intrigued by the ex-voto as well as the Sacred Hearts from the 18th and 19th Century. Some use very complex craft techniques like embroidery made with hairs or beautiful bead embroidery mixed with delicate goldsmith work. I built The Messenger by remembering all that.
Tears in the City: Rebuilding, Repetition, Introspection.
The stich, the stich, the stich. Extended time.
I filmed at the embroidery’s backside when I was embroidering my collage with the Lunéville ‘s hook. The invisible hook in a perpetual motion, perforating the paper. The hook and this repetitive sound of the stich.