Hughes Rochette & Nathalie Brevet — Le temps d’après


Urban art, installation, painting, photography...

Hughes Rochette & Nathalie Brevet
Le temps d’après

Past: March 10 → April 28, 2012

Debris is common in both natural and urban environments. It is the consistent result of physical or chemical degradation, natural or provoked (debris from vehicles; vegetative or organic). Resulting in an “accidental” surface, where time and movement have left their mark.

It is precisely around this notion of debris that the duo of Nathalie Brevet and Hughes Rochette has based their exhibit The Time After, where the inspiration of excavation, explored in their in situ installation, is once again in evidence. The impulse that lead them to flood the Art Center of Chelles ( (A) Venir [(To) Come], 2005) was born from learning of a Marne tributary that once flowed near the two churches, regularly causing a rise in water level.

The sculpture Cela ne tient qu’à 1 cheveu, [This Hangs By 1 Hair] 2011, designed for the Montmorency gallery show-room, conceived in a more humorous vein, represents, through its looping shape, Blue-Beard’s wife’s hair from the Perrault fairy-tale. Blue-Beard was often compared to Gilles de Rais, the duke of Montmorency.

The title The Time After is emblematic of Nathalie Brevet and Hugues Rochette’s approach. In their scavenging, the two artists collected objects from both urban and natural environments, that have come to the end of their functional life, but begin the fictional part of it, as a shape. A slashed tire, a warped excavation sifter, a tennis ball covered in dirt, the torn-off corner of a poster have all definitely lost their practical function. Nathalie Brevet/Hugues Rochette use these shapes as the starting point of their work, interpreted via reproduction ( Anneau ), enlarging ( Objet troué ), or reversal ( Le temps d’après ). In the recycling of this debris, one shape unmistakably imposes itself: the circle.

Anneau [Ring] (2012) resembles a tire hung on a wall, but upon closer reflection, brass has replaced rubber in a metonymical connection to the object (the brass-plated steel wire fibers found in the tire now constitute it completely). The tire, usually emblematic of movement, is now completely frozen in its substance.

Objet troué [Pierced Object] (2012) is a sculpture inspired from an enlarged warped excavation sifter. The perforations on the metal plate have been produced mechanically. Deformations and other accidents engraved on the object have been manually reproduced by the artists.

Points de suspension [Suspension marks] (2012), the torn-off corner of a poster, mirrors the negative space of Objet troué, evoking typography as the framework of an image. From the original image remains a piece that reflects the manner in which the image was produced, and the piece which could ensure its reproduction; it becomes the missing piece of a puzzle — the starting point of an enigma.

Bouton de terre sur pédoncule d’acier [Dirt Button on Steel Peduncle] (2012) also represents a found object — a buried tennis ball, but the source object disappears, renouncing itself to its spherical and organic shape. The ball is frozen on its axis, all rotation and bouncing suspended.

From this outburst of the work generated from recycled objects, a sculpture plays a motherly role, lending its title to the exhibition. Le temps d’après [The Time After] (2012) is a voluminous oak stump. Even dead, it contains the movement, circumvolution and temporal stratum engraved within. From an act of reversal orchestrated by the artists, the roots function as a call. They subsume the process of creation of the work — regenerating forms from their lost function.

This free shape, organic explosion, oscillating between life and death, contrasts 2 temps, 3 mouvements [2 Moments, 3 Movements] (2012), the geometrical shape that punctuates the exhibit. This truncated tetrahedron seems like a variation on the luminous shape deployed at the College des Bernardins, emblematic of the Cellula exhibit (2009). Made of fluorescent tubes, the structure lights up only when a spectator stands still in front of it. The tension between stillness and dynamism unite these two shapes.

The exhibit The Time After thus engages us to follow the chronology of an object from its excavation to its becoming-art. Contrary to in situ installations — minimal gestures conceived as tangential points between the past and future, from their exchange and through intervention, here Nathalie Brevet and Hughes Rochette are not motivated by the history of place, but by that of the object.

Audrey Illouz
  • Opening Saturday, March 10, 2012 6 PM → 9 PM
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

The artists

  • Hughes Rochette & Nathalie Brevet