Guillaume Constantin — L’accident des formes


Installation, photography, sculpture, mixed media

Guillaume Constantin
L’accident des formes

Past: June 14 → July 26, 2014

Guillaume Constantin is undeniably a sculptor. Even when he samples text fragments from his collection of spams, or takes pictures of the accidental appearance of a ghost in the bends of the day, and designs scenographies for other artists. He is a sculptor in the sense that his whole work questions the plasticity of things — objects as well as concepts, that is to say the way they can receive and absorb what Georges Didi-Huberman calls, in his essay Ouvrir Vénus1, the “shape’s accidents”. Accidents that would only distort and alter shape. A metamorphosis where change would in the end be a mere rearrangement of components that would not fundamentaly alter the substance.

Besides, Guillaume Constantin’s smashing shapes evoke another text by Didi-Huberman, Connaissance par le Kaléidoscope2. The author reminds us — among other things, of the importance of the notion of the telescoping for Walter Benjamin, that suggests both the violence of a smash and the disclosure through vision. A smash and a telescope? They both effectuate the same epiphanic montage while instantly bringing closer elements that were once separated. He moves them, extracts them from their original context in order to protect them in an other background. It is a stamping that helps, if only a little, the interlocking of ideas. Guillaume Constantin’s work stems from this telescoping ; the heterogenous corpus of images, objects, protocols and materials with which the artist works, forms an extremely plastic matter.

The installations and exhibitions of the artist are also like a kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscope : three mirrors reunited into a triangle, confined into a cylinder with a few trivial glass beads or some colorful fabric. And then, with each rotation, order is destroyed, to be restored again in a new arrangement. Here, the replica of a wiping man (by Jean de Cambrai), a thistle whitened by salt and sunrays, parts of a model that has never been assembled, a chocolate block that looks like a mysterious rock3, typographic ornaments (Open source I and II), the textual geography of 17th century’s la Carte de Tendre, as well as the recurring intermediate materials like enamelled copper, soundproofing cork, tinted wood and bakelite paper, all articulate suggestions or even displays where the structure of a kaleidoscope is reinvented.

However, images, objects and references never go round. Not even in the great object office (Fantômes du Quartz XIV), in the stopped motion of a circular shelf, (Stop Motion I), or in the hollow book of a mural Everyday Ghost4. The folds of the fabrics, the bevels of the pannelings and the cutting of superimposed sections act like mirrors where everything is reflected and ricochets against everything, from works to works, beyong the gallery’s walls, on past exhibitions or on the ones to come. They scatter around so they can interfere better in the end, distributed by a skilfull leafage or shapes.

1 Georges Didi-Huberman, Ouvrir Vénus, Gallimard, Coll. Le Temps des images, 1999.

2 Idem, “Connaissance par le kaléidoscope. Morale du joujou et dialectique de l’image selon Walter Benjamin”, in : Études photographiques, no 7, May 2000.

3 Rocks that Roger Caillois, a very important french author for Guillaume Constantin, liked so much.

4 A photographic serie the artist started in 2008.

Marie Cantos
Bertrand Grimont Gallery Gallery
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47, rue de Montmorency

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 71 30 87

Arts et Métiers
Réaumur – Sébastopol

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

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The artist