Critics’ Picks

Gaëlle Choisne, Smoking break, 2018, ceramics, Spanish rum, Russian cigarettes, 13 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 4''.


Gaëlle Choisne

Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche
9 Esplanade Pierre Vidal-Naquet
September 5–December 15

Visitors to Gaëlle Choisne’s latest exhibition are greeted by a pair of black sneakers splattered with white plaster and an unplugged two-burner hot plate daubed with pink wax. These transitional objects sit together on the low concrete platform of the gallery’s welcome desk, wry emblems of mobility and of the artist’s institutional appropriation. The arrangement, Ghost Process (all works 2018), also introduces the motifs of doubling, echo, and relay present in “TEMPLE OF LOVE.”

Choisne worked on-site for four weeks, first gesturally desacralizing the gallery’s white walls with plaster and pigment. She brought in a few of her recent sculptures, borrowed the embroidered Grillage (no inv. 67), 1980, by the late and nearly forgotten Cuban-born artist Hessie (Carmen Lydia Đurić), and elaborated assemblages in situ, drafting an intimate dialogue between works as well as with the space. Claiming a Caribbean European artistic lineage, this dialogue refuses settlement.

This show also annexes the Esplanade Pierre Vidal-Naquet and its users’ performances. By placing a temporary tattoo on the window, a potted carnivorous Nepenthes plant atop the esplanade-oriented monitor displaying the silent video BFF, and Cantiques du coeur (Canticle from the heart) on the floor near a window, Choisne toys with spatial boundaries and temporal certainties. Produced by firing twisted copper rods adorned and bound by hand-shaped porcelain, Cantiques du coeur resembles both atom and tumbleweed, its tension somewhere between force field and dispersion.

Glass, resin, epoxy, and rebar grids yield open architectures and curious talismans. Suspended textiles balanced by stitches and chains harbor cigarettes, incense sticks, dried petals, feathers, nail extensions, miniature liquor bottles, oysters, a seahorse, a compass, and more. Choisne’s works hover between emergence and destruction, loving care and laissez-faire. It is from these dualities that Choisne’s exhibition derives its witchy, exquisite energy.