The Residencies programme, which was launched in 2010, returns for a new session of its third cycle in 2019. As was the case last year, artists Michel Blazy, Isabelle Cornaro and Françoise Pétrovitch are mentoring the three artists to help steer them through the multitude of creative possibilities.
Yuhsin U Chang (b. Taiwan, 1980) explores the forms and the poetics of the living through raw materials (dust, wool, linen, wood…) shaped in a sculptural language. At the Haute-Maroquinerie she brings a similar approach to leather, fascinated by the material’s transformative journey in the hands of the workshop’s artisans. How is soft leather made rigid? What skills and what gestures are necessary to work it into these different forms? Whether sewing, structuring or simply folding, under the guidance of her mentor, Michel Blazy, Chang integrates a host of craft techniques into her practice to shape cuts of leather and stand them upright. Her creations appear as “unidentifiable objects”, even as the organic nature of leather lends itself to the spontaneous emergence of forms.
Under the mentorship of Isabelle Cornaro, Guillaume Dénervaud (b. Switzerland, 1987) sets drawing to one side to immerse himself in the age-old skills associated with crystal and create an installation featuring some 30 red crystal spheres. Dénervaud sees his piece as a way of reflecting on the impact of human activity on the planet. After glassblowing, the spheres are cut and grooved, then sandblasted, to lend them a damaged, eroded, even eaten-away appearance, recalling archaeological remains. The use of sand also underscores the elemental nature of crystal, of which it is a key raw component. Intentionally imperfect, these forms take on an ambiguous appearance, suggesting enlarged cells, miniature planets, or even vestigial forms left over from an era bent on its own destruction.
At Holding Textile Hermès, Guillaume Poulain (b. France, 1972) is mentored by Françoise Pétrovitch. An artist who employs misuse and unexpected shifts in scale to confer an impressive power upon his installations, Poulain surprised everyone with his approach to silk craft: exploring it through the prism of laundering. Keen to get hands-on with the techniques of weaving, he intends to display the experimental fabrics he creates on clothes horses, like a series of appropriated picture rails for hanging tea-towels, sheets and football scarves. Fascinated by drying laundry’s potential as an art form, Poulain foregrounds the social element that emanates from these structures loaded with clothing hung out to dry. With a strong dose of irony, he revisits both the exhibited object and the way it is hung.