Guillaume Constantin — Un nuage d’incertitudes

Exhibition

Mixed media

Guillaume Constantin
Un nuage d’incertitudes

Past: March 12 → April 29, 2011

Excerpt from the interview conducted in Feb.-March, 2011

François Aubart: Where does this show’s title comes from?

Guillaume Constantin: It was a newspaper article title on the ash cloud caused by the eruption of a volcano in Iceland, it had disrupted the air traffic over Europe between April and May 2010. This is the kind of title which is fabricated with “calculated catastrophism”, with a near anecdotical, even fictional symbolism that, nevertheless, remain quite evocative and mysterious when we take the time to consider it.

F. A.: Actually I feel that this title can be read as a definition of your work since a cloud is something for which movement is built-in its own properties. Furthermore, a cloud is also a ’tag cloud’, a set of keywords linked and scattered to compose an identity. Moreover, the cloud you suggest is made of uncertainty which seems to me close to your way of operating. Often your productions become patterns that you reuse in different contexts and can be thus translated from one material to another. Is this a reason for choosing this title?

G. C.: A cloud is something quite paradoxical. It is not easy to imagine that it is a large amount of water suspended in the atmosphere and prone to change its appearance depending on the circumstances. So this is something seemingly very simple but is actually quite complex. This changing property interests me very much indeed.

I also chose this title for the dysfunctions produced by this ash cloud, as a metaphor for my work: a practice made of dysfunction, fragility, unbalance, replete with direct or oblique references to death, for example a black on black replica of Ad Reinhardt’s1 Black Paintings catalogue, or the extinction of more light, a Claude Lévêque neon that cites Goethe2, also the false neons that do not work3, and the series Everyday Ghosts4.

I agree fully with your idea of tag cloud, a cloud of keywords, it seems to me quite fair, since what I do are combinations of elements that gravitate together and connect to a given location in space and time. You mention keywords, I might add ’key materials’ that define very well the pattern notion. Materials that fit together, facing each other but not always in a controlled manner. My practice is now defined much more by this notion than by its relation to fragility or over death.

F. A.: Can you clarify what you mean by “key materials”? I’m asking this question since some of them come back regularly as patterns or objects. This applies to bed sheets or stones for example. What kind of relationship to you have with the materials and objects that you process and use?

G. C.: From my point of view, everything is a material and thus a “key material” literally “opens” a gateway to a feeling, a notion, an idea. It may be a specific material such as cork insulation, thermoformed plastic, or Plexiglas sticks but also the figurative character of a room, “readability”, or as I do with text fragments such as spams of quotes. All the elements form a kind of palette in which I draw in order to bring forward forms and proposals.

The recurrent patterns that you mention, such as draperies or rocks, are classical, even archaic references in sculpture that I enquire and divert in my own way. That induces a certain reading of the past, the tradition and a play with it. These elements collide with standard industrial and chemical materials that I use.

1 Print in black, 2008, black laser print on black Canson paper, 28×20 (closed format), full reproduction of Ad Reinhard’s Black Paintings, 1970

2 Plus de lumière (retake), 2007, Plexiglas, electrical wires, cardboard, pvc stands, retake of Claude Lévêque neon, 1999.

3 Let’s just imitate the real until we find a better one, 2009, painted Plexiglas, black feather cardboard, phosphorescent paint, acrylic stands, silicone, 90×30cm

4 Everyday Ghosts, downloadable screensaver, produced for the Hypertexte magazine, n°3.

Guillaume Constantin — Translation by Samy da silva
  • Opening Friday, March 11, 2011 at 6 PM
Bertrand Grimont Gallery Gallery
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Arts et Métiers
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