The Occupants Nicolas Bourthoumieux, Richard J. Butler, Sarah Caillard, Douglas Eynon, Guillaume Ginet, Edward Liddle, Erwan Mahéo, Rodrigue Mouchez

 

11.The Occupants

31 May – 4 June 2016

Entitled The Occupants, the inaugural exhibition of Canopy brings together eight artists who all share their studios in the gallery’s building at Rue des Etangs Noirs, 51. Rather than merging their practices under one theme, the show puts emphasis on their geographical and temporal proximity; most of the works exhibited having been made over the course of their very first month of cohabitation within the building. If at first sight these artists seem to have very little in common, the exhibition suggests certain threads of connection between their practices without hesitating to highlight points of contrast.

Consisting of various shades of white paint chips that the artist removed from found wooden door frames, Liddle’s Fleck Paintings make reference to the domestic and find resonance in Mouchez’s room-sized fountain. Filled with water infused with black beans, the self-polluting vessels together with Liddle’s paintings stress concerns related to contamination, the decorative and the kitsch.

In the work of Caillard and Bourthoumieux, there is to be found traces of the body. Cast from a child’s chair, Caillard’s plaster sculptures evoke a ghostly presence that further explores her concerns with loose anthropomorphic representations. Bourthoumieux’s white linen bedsheet resting over a cold metal structure evokes both the scale of a human body and the memory of a train journey between Belgrade and Budapest, manifesting as a minimalist intervention loaded with personal sentiments.

Placed directly in the corner, Eynon’s self-portrait insists on the physical presence of the artist. With his eyes closed and presented as a mirror refection, his drawn self responds to the visceral materiality of Butler’s painting whose composition reveals human hairs, blanket debris and dust. Bearing the language of abstraction whilst investigating the potential of accidental figuration, Pink Venus seats awkwardly somewhere between the pictorial and the surface.

No less textural, Ginet’s tiny thick painting inhabits the gallery space as a 3D object and plays on the illusion of a sci-fi landscape. It resonates with Mahéo’s ‘vertical seas’, a series of photographic montages simultaneously composed of an aerial view and a subjective view in which the artist introduces an impossible perspective devoid of horizon and therefore rebuilds the sea as a wall.

Making visible the artistic activities taking place within the confines of the gallery’s building, The Occupants is also the beginning of an adventure. For Canopy, the adventure starts here and now, and in excellent company.

— Louise Chignac