« “The issue is not to invent space and certainly not to re-invent it, the problem is rather to question space, or more exactly, to read space; for what we call everydayness is not the obvious, but opacity: a kind of blindness, or deafness, a sort of anesthesia.”
The absence of perception which Georges Perec speaks of in his book Species of Spaces is the result of our indifference to what is the most ordinary in this world. When we wake up in the morning, our eyes open and our vision is blurred. Each element that makes up our living rooms, our dining rooms, our kitchens, our gardens and our bathrooms disperses and fades away as we use them. The curves and hollows disappear from the everyday lives of our interiors.
The curatorial concept for Room (Room 237 – Le salon, Galerie Bubenberg, June 2019; Room 236 – La salle d’eau, GALERIE CHLOE SALGADO, January 2020) was born from a desire to awaken our affects surrounding the home, and to formulate new alphabets to read these living spaces through art.
Do you see these signs, street-side gables, illuminated night and day, that present a large repertoire of furniture, accessories, and garments? Showrooms congregated on the same walkways, like on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, where the store fronts succeed one another? The street becomes a catalogue of styles and taste, commercial galleries slick and icy. That was the inspiration for Room 236.
Presented as a display, the exhibition distorts objects and function to compose a bathroom from the past and the future, across various contradictory aesthetic eras. In antiquity, it was the Greek, Roman and Egyptian civilizations that popularized the social ritual mixing the body and water in thermal and public baths. This heritage was the birth of the bathroom.
Through contemporary evocation or translation, water is omnipresent amongst the works in the exhibition. It welcomes us with the steady sound created by Arthur Hoffner whose motif of the fountain is obsessive within his artistic production. By its side, water is frozen in multiple facets, as if seized by its entire colored spectrum, respecting the liquid movement of the glass manipulated by Flavie Audi. The space is accessorized to accompany the corporeal hygiene in the works of Hélène Garcia in the mesh ornaments borrowed from medieval times and the precious natural sponges. Humid, the room transpires in the states of synthetic materials that mimic natural phenomena with the work of Jonathan Bréchignac. Jenna Kaës’s hanging sheets hammered with natural flowers invite us into the privacy of the bath, some of the visible and fragile petals distilling odorless fragrances. Hugo Avigo’s undulating paintings use a puzzle system to form suspended scenes, from high altitude lakes to pearly puddles. As for Amandine Maas, she draws the palettes and materials for her ready-to-wear sculptures from her attentive observation of the body and its care.
The works form ephemeral dialogues amongst themselves, reenacting the conventional and historical dispositions of the bathroom. Through a strange familiarity, we strive to reread the contours of these works confused for objects, and attend to our regard to enjoy the most ordinary of things. »
Translation by Katia Porro
Curation : Anne Bourrassé / Scenography : Mathilde Rouiller