30/08/2015 § Leave a comment
Lucy Lippard, once said that we can generally understand the history of modern art as a series of ‘escape attempts’ where the desire of the artist is to short-circuit and outwit the established modes of institutional display that sustain the bourgeois art system. These ‘escape attempts’ are employed to try and recapture a lost immediacy of experience and transcend materialisation which strangles our modern life with its various forms of distraction and deception. By circumventing the gallery or market, the work of art would be able to free itself of the corrupting influences of commodified reification and various ideological preconceptions and provide viewers with an unadulterated vision of the world otherwise unavailable in everyday life. LN Le Cheviller and Michel Gayout seeking this latitude set up the Hammeau de La Brousse in 1993 in the valley of the Échelle river, Sers. The perfect setting to bridge what Robert Rauschenberg called ‘the gap between art and life’.
Three times a year LN and Michel host ZOU an exhibition which celebrates art in all its forms. This year a talented group of artists came together to exhibit interventions, installations, land art, music, film, drawing, embroidery, painting, photography, sculpture and performance.
Now in its fifth iteration ZOU works like a collective with democratic governance. Every artist shares skills to make the exhibition come to fruition; from designing the artwork and creating a web site, to installing the works and the running of the bio cafe. There is a friendly welcome from everyone exhibiting in the gallery/cafe space, park and gardens.
The first exhibit is a work by LN Le Cheviller entitled Déchets (Waste) A large expertly clad building made from recycled bark. It is the ideal opening piece as it immediately tackles head on the tie between artistic creation and environmental issues. A sui generis eco-gesture which echoes through out the whole exhibition for those artists concerned with sustainability.
Zou installed a pop up cinema in a cave. Four diverse respected animators; Emma Vakarelova, Cécilia Pepper, Marie Bouchet and MIKA entertained audiences with engaging and compelling stop motion shorts the whole weekend. Screening the moving images in the cave was a nice nod to the valleys ancient ancestral past where images of horses and boars were discovered carved into the stone walls nearby.
Before her performance Brigitta Horváth prepared herself by meditating in a wooden shelter by the stream. She then signalled viewers to come in. She was lying on her shoulders with her legs overhead and arms resting on her ankles. She lay there quietly for more than five minutes. Then moving extremely slowly in organic evolving contortions she allowed her body to take different forms as she moved around the space. She occasionally twitched like an insect. Thoughts of birth and growth went through my mind as she nestled her face against the soil. Above all the artistic mediums the body is the best at portraying the immediacy of the emotional state. The performance which lasted 1/2 hour was a breathing space for the viewer and a comment on the peace to be had by really looking and being absorbed in the moment. Brigitte exited the shelter arms raised and spine arched as her body lead her to the stream. She slowly lowered herself down and crept amongst the foliage. The water flowed over her body as she sang. It was a stunning and intimate performance.
Traditional methods of viewing art focused mainly on artists and their style. In contemporary thinking there is a move away from this cartesian model to a wider remit which encompasses many methodologies; how art is made; art as process; art theory, visual theory and cross disciplinary innovation. The result of this recalibration continues the discussion around ‘what is art’. There is a full scrutiny of the materiality of visual objects, of the corporeal effect, an architectural and spatial awareness, political and ecological considerations and most importantly the theory around its cultural reception.
The artists at ZOU are part of this new contemporary thinking raising these issues through their work. By paring back materials, ideas and form to essentials the artists spark memories allowing the viewer in to complete the piece. For me the resonance of these works lingers long after the exhibition is over and speak of canonical themes: the embroidery treasures connotes the feminine; the glass circle of formalist gestures connotes ancient ceremonial stones; the hanging stars, the cosmos; the pool of coloured glass, the elements; an animated dissolving woman, transformation; the musical improvisation, the energy of the space. ZOU artists revitalises and stimulate our engagement and aesthetic experience and create new collective democratic kinds of cultural identification.
I was very happy to be amongst the exhibitors.
Amandine Arlot, Michel Bastian, Catherine Vagnat, Coline Gaulot, Michel Gayout, Mickaël Gréco, Brigitta Horvath, LN Le Cheviller, Trisha McCrae, Cécilia Pepper, Thomas Petit, Caroline Shmidt, Emma Vakarelova, Web Age, les miels Emile…
by Trisha McCrae
25/08/2015 § Leave a comment
30/07/2015 § 1 Comment
Just received an email from the Guardian saying that I have been selected to exhibit in their Share Your Art exhibition in Kings Place London! 14 September to 9 October 2015.
How cool is that! I am on a roll!
29/07/2015 § Leave a comment
My installation Portraits will be part of
Portraits is an installation of seven sculptures each with their own film story to tell.
Placé sous le signe du partage et de la rencontre autour
d’ un joyeux coquetel de pratiques artistiques et artisanales,
la cinquième édition de ZOU !
sera riche et variée avec au programme
de bien belles expos de dessin, peinture, photo, sculpture
des projections de courts métrages dans la carrière,
un concert samedi soir,
un sculpteur en direct,
une brodeuse de bijoux et minéraux
des installations à découvrir
et toujours notre petit salon de thé pour
prolonger le plaisir
Ça se passe au Hameau de la Brousse,
à 15 min d’ Angoulême,
dans la vallée de l’ Échelle.
L’ entrée y est libre
le samedi 22 août de 14 à 19 h
et le dimanche 23 août de 11 à 19 h,
avec un repas sorti du panier partagé avec les artistes dimanche midi.
infos 05 45 24 95 72
Hameau de la Brousse 16410 Sers (plan détaillé plus bas)
13/07/2015 § Leave a comment
My film Drive Over has been selected by
to be screened as part of their Shortwave cinema screenings!
06/02/2015 § Leave a comment
22/09/2014 § 1 Comment
I witnessed the calm but revolutionary energy of creativity yesterday at the wonderful Prieure de Ronsenac.
Every year French historic buildings open their doors to the public; Journees Europeennes du Patrimonie.
The title of the event was Peregrination and thus we were led on a journey through the monastery and asked to pause at several architectural significant rooms to experience short performances.
We gathered in the courtyard sun for the first where Michala Marcus performed an engaging surreal piece accompanied by the haunting strings of Albrecht Maurer. The acoustics and ambience were remarkable. Out of the rooftop beckoned a solo call on the cor de basset from Etienne Rolin. We were then led inside to a colorful and sensitive performance of dance and percussion by Michala Marcus and Didier Lasserre. Up the stone spiral stairs to a powerful duet with Kent Carter on the contra basse and Albrecht Maurer on violin. Consummate performers both electrifying and magic.
The final superb piece held in the vaulted cellar was a contemporary performance of dance, live improvisation and video projection by the talented Odile Pellissier. Using seven projectors the ancestral limestone walls came alive with conversations. The experience was a rich and pregnant one. Connotations emanated from the vibrant colors and interplay of historic and local content of the imagery.
As so much of our viewing experience today is conventional and prescriptive it’s exciting to come across a group of performers who are tapping into the unconventional. Cie DMI’s (Dance Music Image) performance awakens the passive viewer into an active participant alive to the exciting psychological space where liminality is exposed and conversations of light and sound travel across ancient space and time.
It’s exciting to see in rural France avant guard performers exploring the language and vocabulary of interaction, collaboration and improvisation with utter integrity, courage and professionalism, each inquisitive and sympathetic to their fellow performer. They are part of the contemporary discourse around new ways of working, playing and seeing. Lyotard was right when he prophesized the end of the grand narratives. Collaboration, experimentation and plurality of vision allow us to recognize that the old programme of mastering and possessing the single narrative flow is out of date. These collaborative ways of working also question the idea of being in control; here in Ronsenac images, movements and patterns of sounds generate new processes resulting in ever expanding connections, equivalents and meanings.
I was glad to be amongst such a creative lot.