Lillian Davies

  • View of “Caroline Mesquita,” 2017. Photo: Rebecca Fanuele.

    Caroline Mesquita

    “I really like when things suddenly go out of control,” French artist Caroline Mesquita has said. Here, she set the scene as a plane crash. Three installations constructed from steel and resin—The Plane Wing, The Plane Sidewall, and The Wing Tip (all works 2017)—stood as parts of an imagined aircraft. Like a stage, each installation was peopled with sculptures made of plates of brass and resin; cut, bent, and welded together, these life-size anthropomorphic figures are composed of tubular and cylindrical shapes. These are the survivors. Although static, their jointed appendages are

  • View of “Lili Reynaud-Dewar,” 2016–17. Photo: Julie Joubert.

    Lili Reynaud-Dewar

    In 1985, finding that feminism and Marxism had “run aground,” scientist and philosopher Donna Haraway published “A Cyborg Manifesto,” proposing “a creature in a post-gender world.” Arguing for “pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction,” Haraway asserts that “we are all . . . fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.” When French artist, writer, and teacher Lili Reynaud-Dewar arrived in Memphis in 2009 to find billboards advertising “grillz,” she interpreted this practice of adornment as a manifestation of Haraway’s vision

  • Cathryn Boch, untitled, 2016, comprising ten untitled works, all 2016, mixed media, 10' 9 1/8“ × 18' 10 3/4”. Photo: Jean-Christophe Lett.

    Cathryn Boch

    The roar of a sewing machine, the rhythmic clicks of a bobbin changing, the flapping of sheets of paper, and the artist’s focused breath were audible through a single pair of headphones at the center of Cathryn Boch’s recent exhibition “monades.” Played on a loop, this digital recording, Atelier 50’ (all works 2016), documents the soundscape of Boch’s actions and hesitations as she manipulates maritime maps, atlas pages, aerial photographs, paper, and thread. While the title of this sound work attests to its location and duration, all other pieces were left untitled. And each was pinned to the

  • Lara Almarcegui, Rocks of Spitsbergen (Svalbard), 2014, self-adhesive vinyl, dimensions variable.

    Lara Almarcegui and Mohamed Namou

    A shared concern for the composition of territory was revealed through a visual dialogue between works by eminent Spanish artist Lara Almarcegui and Mohamed Namou, a recent graduate of the École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Such intergenerational pairings are favored by mor charpentier, and in this case, the common vocabulary that emerged from the artists’ concrete conversation enabled a deeper understanding of each practice.

    On the ground floor, Almarcegui’s Rocks of Spitzbergen (Svalbard), 2014, plainly listed, in crisp black text on the gallery’s white wall, the range of mineral

  • Anita Molinero, Sans titre (multicolores), 2014, concrete, rebar, polystyrene, acrylic, 20 1/2 × 11 × 19 1/4". From the series “Des petits bétons de la petite ceinture” (Small Pieces of Concrete from the Inner Circle Line), 2014–.

    Anita Molinero

    When activating her potent selections of form and color with the cataclysmic force of gas flames, French artist Anita Molinero does not fully know where her experiments with heat and chemical reactions will lead her. The process she employs can be toxic, even aggressive; the poisonous ingredients of industrially produced plastics are released as their molded forms are violently deformed. Each of her sculptures is a palimpsest of particular urban materials. For the works in this show, she incorporated a green plastic trash bin, ubiquitous both across France and in her work, as well as Styrofoam

  • View of “Simone Fattal,” 2015.

    Simone Fattal

    Simone Fattal abandoned Beirut in 1980, when Lebanon was mired in civil war. Leaving her home, her studio, and her painting practice behind, and settling in Sausalito, California, the Syrian–born artist enrolled in a sculpture course. One day, her teacher said to her, “Here is the earth. She is alive.” Fattal quickly embraced terra-cotta as a medium.

    At the entrance to Fattal’s exhibition “Sculptures and Collages,” four upright figures in terra-cotta (all dated 2011) stood, seemingly headless, with abbreviated torsos, on neat metal plinths. The sculptures, which the artist often refers to as

  • Valentin Carron, Tout près presque dedans (So Close Almost Inside), 2014, vinyl ink on PVC tarpaulin, galvanized steel tubing, metal wire, 35 1/2 × 29 1/2".

    Valentin Carron

    A direct translation of the title of Valentin Carron’s exhibition “L’Autoroute du soleil à minuit” yields “Highway of the Sun at Midnight.” The romantic-sounding phrase evokes a real highway, the 591-mile-long toll road from Paris through Lyon to the Mediterranean at Menton; francophone vacationers, their cars stuffed with beach towels and topped with parasols and folding chairs, call this road “l’autoroute du soleil.” The highway, the first section of which opened in 1960, was designed to serve an emerging European thirst for leisure and consumption. It is an appropriate reference for the artist

  • Niki de Saint Phalle, Nana boule (maillot blanc avec polka dots) (Ball Nana [White Suit with Polka Dots]), ca. 1966–68, painted polyester, 41 × 29 × 34". Galerie Mitterand.

    Niki de Saint Phalle

    Three bright and victorious Nana sculptures—Baigneuse (Bathing Beauty), 1967–68; Nana boule (maillot blanc avec polka dots) (Ball Nana [White Suit with Polka Dots]), ca. 1966–68; and Nana fountaine type (Typical Fountain Nana), ca. 1968—greeted visitors to Niki de Saint Phalle’s recent exhibition at Galerie Mitterrand. For the right collector, the flip of a switch would put the fluorescent-painted Nana Machine, 1970, one of the smallest Nanas, made in collaboration with Jean Tinguely, in motion. Painted polyester architectural models; White Tree, 1972, a haunting monochrome assemblage

  • Laure Prouvost, Maquette for Grand Dad’s Visitor Center, 2014, mirrors, wood, metal, wire, soil, foam, plaster, glass, taxidermied fox, video screens, 57 1/8 × 114 1/8 × 43 1/4".

    Laure Prouvost

    Smeared with mud, Laure Prouvost’s letter of invitation for her exhibition “This is the visit” announced a tea party and an evening of “fond- razing” for her Grand Dad, described elsewhere as “a very close friend of Kurt Schwitters” who is still lost in the tunnel he’s been digging to Africa from his ramshackle cabin in England’s Lake District. At the opening, a waiter cheerfully offered “thé à la gin” in floral flea-market china—tepid Earl Gray spiked with booze. The works were linked by a low, dark-brown platform, a kind of stage for the viewer to walk on. An early video, Burrow Me, 2009,

  • Lee Ufan, Relatum—Dialogue X, 2014, steel, stones, 11' 6“ × 29' 6 1/4” × 59' 5/8".

    Lee Ufan

    This summer, for the annual exhibition of contemporary art in Louis XIV’s gilded Château de Versailles and the surrounding formal gardens of André Le Nôtre, South Korean artist Lee Ufan installed a group of ten new sculptures from his “Relatum” series, which began in the late ’1960s, complementing the marriage of regal symmetry and natural beauty that defines the work of the seventeenth-century landscape architect. Relatum—The Arch of Versailles (all works 2014), a chromatically neutral rainbow fashioned from a band of stainless steel some fifty feet long, marks the passage from the mirrored

  • View of “Enrique Ramírez,” 2014.

    Enrique Ramírez

    For his first solo exhibition in France, “Cartografías para navegantes de tierra” (Cartographies for Navigators of the Earth), Enrique Ramírez, a Chilean artist based in Santiago and Paris, presented work that navigates the vast distances in between. Nearly all the works featured Ramírez’s writing—prayerlike Spanish prose—often set to the rhythm of waves.

    La invención de América (The Invention of America), 2013, a Dacron sail made by the artist’s father and a separately framed text, functioned as a central icon. Inverting the worn triangular piece of material and containing it within

  • Julien Crépieux, Cumulus d’après Canoe of Port des Français de Michel Blondela (1799), 2014, silk-screen, ink, and salt on tinted MDF, 31 1/2 x 46 7/8".

    Julien Crépieux

    A choreographed lightness radiated from Julien Crépieux’s “Corpusculum Flotans.” The exhibition title, suggesting small, floating bodies, shares that of a 2005 video work by the artist—a short meditation on passing clouds that is also a record of the eye looking toward the sky. Here, again, in a body of new work, Crépieux showed his concern with movement, not only in the visible world but in the mechanisms of its reception: the eye, the lens, and the captured image. Working in video, installation, and, increasingly, the two-dimensional techniques of collage and photography, Crépieux