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About 245 million years ago, the Massif Central was covered by a sea!
About a year ago, I met the artist Caroline Desnoëttes!
These two dates are linked, you will then understand why.
Around a coffee, we quickly imagined the project of an exhibition in La Chapelle of the Art School of Riom. The artist asked me the question "what do we find as natural material around the corner, around Riom? ". I answered him, a little mockingly: "earth, straw and a few cows". What was my surprise when she replied that it was a good start and that would already be more than enough for her.
Certain sentences, certain words, sometimes orient our future in directions hitherto unthinkable. Following this simple sentence on earth, straw and cows, a succession quite strange, even almost wacky events, took place in the following months:
I had to have the city buy fifty bales of straw; we went digging in the land of the Vallée des Saints (near Boudes) in order to extract pigments; we drilled about 10,000 (empty) scallop shells; and listened to a bio acoustician talk to us about whale song! I also learned how to dry cow horns, the sculpture teacher from the art school literally welded an igloo, the Lascaux Cave sent me a package comprising several dozen survival blankets (packed in a Tati bag) and finally I saw Caroline Desnoëttes shampoo (special fragile hair) about twenty cow’s tails!
The visitor of the exhibition is often unaware of the genesis of a work, an exhibition and how, and where an artist finds his/her idea, inspirations. Unlike the image of Épinal of the artist alone facing his genius (or distress) in her studio, Caroline Desnoëttes has a way of creating, let's say, humanist. This is an artist whose main medium is, one might say, the encounter. She works via the exchange, a face-to-face, a discussion. In a relatively confined period and where interactions are complex, for her, the others are still not hell, but a driving force, a motivation.
In truth, the creation of her artworks is made in the articulation between an encounter, a material and a technical possibility.
This is where the sea that covered the Massif Central 245 million years ago comes into play.
At detour of a conversation or a reading (to tell the truth, I no longer remember), Caroline discovered that we can find fossilized scallops in Auvergne. Because yes, a long time ago, there was no plain of Limagne, Puys, Sancy... but a beautiful sea full of scallops Jacques.
As you will have understood, each of the works presented here has a material as its starting point: scallops for the igloo; earth for drawings; the straw for the installation floor; and the horns and tails of cows for a sort of agricultural Brancusi endless column.
Subsequently, for each material there followed each time a discussion, tests and finally the vision of a work before its final creation. Some of these materials are raw and others transformed. The works presented before you are simple (in a good way), almost obvious, and of astonishing aesthetic clarity.
Caroline Desnoëttes invites us here for a stroll, a contemplation where (almost) all our senses are mobilized. From the living, it summons shapes and postures. She gives us to see a slightly displaced vision of beauty that usually finds before our eyes and yet we do not look.
Alexandre RoccuzzoThanks to: