Critics’ Picks

View of “Gaëlle Choisne: 999,” 2021.

View of “Gaëlle Choisne: 999,” 2021.


Gaëlle Choisne

Gilles Drouault galerie/multiples
17 rue Saint-Gilles
February 5–April 3, 2021

Gaëlle Choisne’s exhibition—her first at this gallery named for its production of artists’ editions—feels at home here, as her work consistently addresses porous boundaries between original and copy, precious and poor, loved and destroyed. The sculpture To love is to give what we don’t have to someone who doesn’t want it. For each definitive and lasting return, 2018, takes center stage, resembling a cauldron or a wastebasket or a once-gleaming pot charred by a sudden blast. Choisne’s fingerprints and the pressure of her hands are apparent in black enameled ceramic she’s ornamented with cigarette butts and a tangle of gold chains. Meanwhile, in an orderly accrochage on white gallery walls, eight works from one of her latest series, “Discours d’un paysage amoureux,” 2017-2019, feature pale porcelain squares fired with quadrilateral patches of copper that have become brilliantly oxidized in the process. Making a playful nod to Roland Barthes’s Fragments d’un discours amoureux (1977), Choisne spins a sort of material love story.

The exhibition is titled “999”—a number that conjures the end of a cycle. On the floor, the artist has lined up hundreds of ceramic fortune cookies, each with a message inside. Priced at fifty euros a piece, they offer little tastes of an uncertain future in the trepidatious first days of the Lunar New Year. Not far from this abundant mound, Choisne has gleefully placed Grenade, 2020, a sculpture in concrete and glazed ceramic, atop the gallery’s flat files. Grenade means pomegranate in French, as well as small bomb, and its lush pink and oxidized green palette alludes to the succulent flesh of ripened fruit as well as the incendiary threat of a hand-held explosive—Choisne’s practice in a nutshell.