The 64th edition of the Salon de Montrouge has already took off. 52 artists in total are exhibiting their work in what is to some one of the most expected “rendez-vous” for emerging creators. During my visit I was happily surprised by the number of female artists (31) and the general mood of the pieces showcased. For instance Camille Juthier’s installation shows our part of guilt in climate change. Other works like Aïda Bruyère’s video United States of Gylaz (Grand Prix du Salon – Palais de Tokyo) reveal the importance of the underground music scene and at the same time liberate the female body from the male gaze. I recognize the value of all the artists participating in this edition like Amandine Guruceaga, Eva Medin, Maxime Tetsu or Zohreh Zavareh, but here are my personal “coups de coeur”. Enjoy!
Camila Salame – Disoriented. On lost birds and vanished stones
Camila Salame’s installation traces the migratory route of an endangered bird in the Middle East. Adored and revered by the Egyptians, the Northern bald ibis was thought to be extinct until it was spotted for the first time since decades in Palmyra. On lost birds and vanished stones is an attempt to retrace the bird’s journey through video, sculpture and drawing. Salame’s praxis explores non Western identity and its place in our modern world; rituals, ancient knowledge and beliefs as well as archeology and transmission are reevaluated, through her work she gives voice and brings to live a part of her ancestral heritage. Progress and its supposedly positive impact are questioned as its deadly aftermath is revealed with phenomenons like climate change or ideological wars breaching the world apart.
Camila Salamé, Esprit – Désorientés, 2019, Céramique, 14 x 10 x 7cm, ©Camila Salame
Shih Yawen – 38 º C (Soap Bathroom)
Make it simple, make it fun. Shih Yawen, a Taiwanese artist living and working in Paris built an installation entirely made of soap. As cities grow and the price of rent increases, fundamental spaces like bathrooms acquire an unprecedented importance. This is only heightened by the high speeded pace of our lives, optimization as well as efficiency are key words to describe the general frenzy, hence bathrooms are one of the last areas where relaxation is allowed and were we can at last disconnect from the outer sphere. The tone of the installation also eases the viewer’s mind conducting him into a more serene realm imbued in “vaporwave” aesthetics. A video transmitting in loop a sunset and other images help to build an atmosphere completely detached from our space and time.
Yawen Shih, Bath Time Story, 2011, Installation d’une salle de bain en savon à taille réelle (sculpture, vidéo, technique mixte), 240 x 150 x 120cm,Dimensions variables
Marine Wallon – Le Vent
Marine Wallon is a French painter working with a wide colour palette. Her compositions take inspiration from films promoting a geographic region, she proceeds to taking screenshots to later turn them into paintings. Often times nature engulfs humans which makes allusion to romantic painting from the 19th century. Even if the “raw materials” are this screenshots, she interprets them and adds vibrant colours or changes the perspective which leads her work to become unique and intriguing. The detail is lost but the brushstroke is always apparent transporting the viewer into a pictorial space where forms take the shape of vast surfaces. Landscapes emit a feeling of loneliness, lines convey a silence that can be interpreted as an invitation to contemplate the work but also to reflect on inner feelings.
Marine Wallon, Brazzolo, 2018, Huile sur toile, 90 x 120 x 4cm, ©Nicolas Brasseu
Arthur Hoffner – Fontaines
In Arthur Hoffner works, design and fine art meet to give birth to simple objects such as fountains or chairs that are nevertheless revisited. Everyday objects are thus reconsidered entailing to rethink our relationship with rare elements, for instance water. His work on fountains stresses out the importance of the former in our lives and how we have domesticated this element throughout history. Furthemore, his fountain designs are experiences inviting the spectator to listen the sound of water flowing and to admire the material’s finesse.
Arthur Hoffner, Fontaine à l’éponge, (réalisée avec Sèvres, Cité de la Céramique), 2018, Sculpture, 40 x 35 x 20, ©Luc Bertrand-JPPM / Fontaine réalisée avec Sèvres exposée à la Design Parade de la Villa Noailles
Nefeli Papadimouli – Espacentres
After the economic crisis of 2008 many countries had to implement austerity measures to pay back to creditors. This created a hostile environment in countries such as Iceland or Greece where past governments had spent money recklessly without thinking about the consequences of their actions and their impact in future generations. Nefeli Papadimouli’s work pinpoints the fragile “balance” holding up all together, our landmarks are not the same as those from past generations, revolutions and upheaval are always around the corner. So her work invites us to construct new signs, new ways of expression to navigate through an unknown world. Her performance/installation Imaginons des pas de danse pour cette nouvelle scène du réel takes the human body as a reference marking our relationship with others. Pieces are detached and the viewer is invited to take them to create a dance in order to exchange ideas with others, to think about possible outcomes, to rekindle utopias collectively.
Nefeli Papadimouli, Interval’s Voice (The Gong), 2018, Acier, peinture, corde, 295 x 295 x 30cm, Dimensions variables, Vue de l’exposition « (Artists) Against Ego», Enterprise Projects, Athens, 2018, photo© Stathis Mamalakis
Walls are to be knocked down or to be diverted, and that is precisely what the Chinese artist Ren Han does. Taking walls as canvases to transform them into imaginary maps, building labyrinths for us to get lost into them, alluding to cosmic spaces still unknown to man… Ren Han’s body of work explores abstraction outside of the frame challenging this notion, hence extending it to architecture’s territory. Nonetheless, he bows down to the king of suprematism by using convulsively black and white in all of his creations. His compositions are immersive spaces soliciting the spectator’s imagination to join the dots of a finite map that allude to geographies yet to be discovered.
Han Ren, Untitled (17e01), 2017, Planche de bois, couper, scier, Dimensions variables
Alex Housset – Critical Thinking
Books interact with the viewer and come to life in Alex Housset’s installation Critical Thinking. Abbreviations and emojis have become to some the equivalent of Newspeak, a fictional language in the book 1984 with a very restricted vocabulary limiting thought to its speakers. Words – and language at a larger scale – are seen in Housset’s work as intricate vessels of knowledge that must be preserved and cherished by using them thoroughly and wholly. His installation – composed by books, bottles of water, mirrors and more – mesmerize the eye while encouraging the spectator to sharpen its critical thinking. If governments are more and more prone to surveillance by spying us through social media platforms and by collecting data, we shall fight as “we will not be inmates without locks”.
Alex Housset, Word Skin they Are In , 2017, Brass, Snake Skin, Voice recording
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