Critics’ Picks

View of “Sophie Bueno-Boutellier,” 2016.

View of “Sophie Bueno-Boutellier,” 2016.


Sophie Bueno-Boutellier

Fondation d'Entreprise Ricard
12 rue Boissy d'Anglas
May 24–July 2, 2016

The title is the key to this show of work by French artist Sophie Bueno-Boutellier. “La Ritournelle du peuple des cuisines” (The Refrain of the Kitchen People) makes reference to an essay by Luce Giard and Michel de Certeau published in the second volume of The Practice of Everyday Life (1998), in which the authors attempt to reconstruct the often pejorative grammar of domestic tasks from a feminist perspective.

In the words of the curator, Dorothée Dupuis, this show is an “essay in the visual arts that posits the gesture and the body as fundamental units of measurement in our perception of time and space.” There is no excess in Bueno-Boutellier’s work, which consists of a network of islands, arranged on the floor or shoved into corners, where the artist engages in acts related to cooking. The crockery, containers, rolls of paper towels, blanket, and handwoven rugs that interact on these low offshore platforms possess tight formal relationships. The carefully arranged implements (you can decide whether they form part of the history of sculpture or of domestic objects) can be used to a number of ends: chopping, flattening, absorbing, folding, and so on. A large opening in the space—a window of sorts that looks out onto the rest of the exhibition—suggests that the artist is toying with the distinction between public and private space (the latter governed by laws as archaic and universal as they are personal and, therefore, incomprehensible). Though the exhibition is overall strikingly dry, the overpowering poetry of the invisible “kitchen people” persistently pours onto us in an act of resistance.