DEAD LETTERS – A Residency Project with the Ecole supérieure des beaux-arts de Nantes Métropole

A Residency Project with the Ecole supérieure des beaux-arts de Nantes Métropole
February 2013


Open Studio Presentation & Reception
Thursday, February 21
5:30pm @ SFAI

In Letters written from New Mexico in 1970, the French writer Michel Butor had a correspondence with the painter Camille Bryen. The idea was to create a new kind of text, to imagine a circulation from a medium to another, to work with otherness. Eight graduate students from the Ecole supérieure des beaux-arts de Nantes Métropole (ESBA Nantes) along with writer, Anne Portugal; artist, Bruno Persat; artist, Philippe Richard; writer and teacher, Pierre Giquel; and critic, curator and teacher, Marion Daniel are at the Santa Fe Art Institute for a one-month residency in February. During their residency, different workshops will be developed. Some will be around writings—exploring all kinds of correspondences or the gap between text and visual arts—others will focus on the role of experiences in art. The work will take place between the two countries, Nantes in France and Santa Fe in New Mexico, USA.

At the completion of the residency, a publication will be released which will cover the various projects that took place. The main subject will be the geographical thought of someone living in the desert. All kind of experiments will be matching.

Short Bios of Participating Artists & Students:

Philippe Richard (born February 25, 1962) is a French artist, based in Paris, France. He lived in New York from 1996 to 1999. He has been very close to some American painters such as Joan Mitchell and Shirley Jaffe. Philippe Richard studied painting at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. From 1994 to 1995 he did a residency at Straumur Art Commune in Iceland. In 1997 he received a grant from the FIACRE (Fonds National d’Art Contemporain) to do a project in New York. In 1998 he also did a residency at the International Studio Program, in New York.

In recent years, Philippe Richard’s paintings have left the canvas and even the art space and its walls. This work started in 1996 in Iceland when he released 180 bottles into the sea, each of them containing a different gouache titled “Months, years.” The bottles were combined with a series of 77 paintings on driftwood from the Icelandic beaches. Since then, a third of the paintings have been found and collected by different people from Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom. This experience caused him to rethink his ideas about painting. From 1997, he started a long series of “painting steles” and “atmospheric variables,” “earth edges” and “lineaments” where parallel works run during the reassessment of paintings. Philippe Richard considers his paintings as juggling between physical spaces and canvas spaces. The exhibition space is no longer a receptacle; Philippe Richard starts to build a relationship between the art pieces and the art spaces so that it becomes an active background. Matrix is the result of all his research, making the paintings and the art spaces one.

Anne Portugal is poet and translator. Born, in 1949, in Angers, “professeur agrégé” of contemporary literature, she lives and works in Paris. Her work is published by P.O.L. Editions, Les commodités d’une banquette (1980), De quoi faire un mur (1985), le plus simple appareil (1992), Dans la reproduction en 2 parties égales des plantes et des animaux (1999), in collaboration with Suzanne Doppelt,  (2001) and la formule flirt (2010). She has collaborated with several poetry-reviews such as Banana-split, action poétique, po&sie, If, détour d’écriture,(4 and 7), la revue de littérature générale, Zuc, Série d’écriture, Docks, pandora’s box, Vacarme, gare du nord , le germe, Verse, five fingers review(16), Read in collaboration with Jean-Jacques Poucel and Stacy Doris, disturb guillotine, and in anthologies Violence of the white page, contemporary poetry editions Tyuonyi, by Stacy Doris, Phillip Foss, Emmanuel Hocquard, 1991 and Six French Women Poets: Theory, Practice and Pleasures, Southern Illinois University Press, 1996.

She was member of editorial board of “Traverses”, the review of ‘centre pompidou’. She worked on the radio ‘france-culture’ about contemporary poetry.

Her books by P.O.L. were translated in English Nude for le plus simple appareil (1992) translated by Norma Cole, Kelsey St. Press, 2001. Absolute bob for définitif bob (2001) translated by Jennifer Moxley, Burning Deck, 2010. Quisite moment, translated by Rosmarie Waldrop , for Voyer en l’ai, Burning Deck Press, 2008, and People happy to go swimming for et les gens contents de se baigner, translated by JJ Poucel, 2010, éditions READ , Procedural Symmetry translated by JJ Poucel for la symétrie procédurale in READ, and Formula flirt, for la formule flirt, also translated by JJ Poucel, editions La presse, 2012. With Caroline Dubois, she translated Paramour by Stacy Doris, (P.O.L) (2009), and she is now finishing, with Abigail Lang and Vincent Broqua, the translation of Meddle English by Caroline Bergvall, to be published at presses du réel in 2013.

Her poetry is in the “middle of a meadow”, an element, a fragment, a medium, a means of knowing more about nothing. The simplest secret of literature, “the simplest apparatus.” It is concerned only with the space it has chosen for itself and supplied with a set of markers arranged in a way that owes more to the fragile model of spatial geometry than to anything sublime. On this basis it can work on its most whimsical, heterogeneous objects, which come supplied with a complex and simple motor. The instructions for use are often included. These machines have a built-in surprise mechanism which can cause them to work loose, or to explode in your face so that nothing impedes immediate sense or stops them being set up exactly as they should. It is a poetry without illusion, which saves nothing. In short, poetry through laughter, through secrecy, without mystery. Marion Daniel, born in 1978, is a French art critic and curator. She has a doctorate in Literature, and teaches art theory at the School of Art of Nantes (ESBA Nantes), and she is also associate curator, in charge of the exhibition and publishing program at the Regional Found of Contemporary Art Brittany (Frac Bretagne). As a specialist in the relationships between texts and images, she has written for several monographies (Jonathan Lasker, Peter Soriano, Raymond Hains, Jacques Villeglé, Claude Faure, Frédérique Lucien, etc.) and magazines (articles about Diana Cooper, Jorinde Voigt, Allan McCollum, Shirley Jaffe, etc,). In 2013 in Rennes, she will curate a show of Esther Ferrer, a performer born in 1937 close to Fluxus and John Cage, of Renée Levi, a Swiss abstract painter; she will also organize an important exhibition of Dieter Roth. She will curate an exhibition called Poétique d’objets in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Dunkerque about the question of objets in Fluxus, Pop, Nouveaux Réalistes and contemporary artworks. In 2012-2013, she is in charge of three exhibitions of young artists: at La Couleuvre in Saint- Ouen (next to Paris), at Jean Fournier Gallery, Paris (June 2013) at Radiator Gallery, New York (September 2013).

She has a blog where she posts some of her texts: She is a member of AICA (International Association of Art Critics).

Here is a short bibliography:

Bruno Persat was born in 1975 in the south of France, and after his studies in Art history, he attended the Fine Art School in Montpellier and graduated in 2003 at La Villa Arson in Nice. Persat has participated in 2006 and 2007 in both biennales of Art and design in Lyon & Saint Etienne, and since has shown his works frequently. He is now living in Paris and shares his time between working for himself as a visual artist, developing some projects with the French Architecture collective EXYZT, and creating workshops in different fine art schools. Based on the documentation of archives, on some furtive activities, and research of disappeared phenomenon from Art & Architecture history, his work tries to establish new forms of organization and questions the transmissions of knowledge. Persat is trying to produce a method that could escape from hierarchical categorizations, like a subjective science, released from the usual cultural territories. His researches are crossing the drift of the icebergs, utopic architectures, cognitive theories, campfire organizations, chemical reactions and a lot of things that could be important to know and to use. All of this generally appears in modular and mixed media installations, which are thought of as tools to conceptualize the thinking process, to create a common and living experience.

Born in 1954, Pierre Giquel works in collaboration with publications that alternate his activities as a critic with those of a writer without concerning himself with the hierarchies of these roles. He is published in various reviews, including Art Press, as well as numerous artists’ catalogues. He has also produced a certain number of artist’s books, thus making possible the meetings between mediums. In conjunction to this, he is regularly involved with artistic and musical pieces, across poetic texts and micro-fictions. In June 2008, he was invited to the MAC/VAL, Vitry, to develop [/uncover] these established relationships between critical analysis and song. He teaches at the School of Fine Art in Nantes, France.

Cécile Hadj-Hassan
Student in ESBA Nantes, Master 1
Equilibrium is an aspect of disequilibrium. I’m seeking the fall point, twilight of rupture. Body with it fragility and it weight. Live in between. Setting movement. I’m looking for frontiers of time, space, social relationship and brain. Often I’m in reverse.

Christophe Trevino
Student in Nantes, Master 1
One part of my work is painting. I’ve painted shelves with objects I like to see. The shelves become scenes where I try to understand the “grammar” of the painting, the point of view, colors, the limits of figuration and most important how the tension between reality and me becomes a painting that escapes from me. I’m also working on a living sculpture. I’ve done a first hive in a door, I’m doing another one, a skeleton hive, where bees will live and make honey. It’s an altar for them. I think art is about dealing with antagonist forces, a powerful means of communication, which uses signs just like words do.

Damien Caccia,
ESBA Nantes, Master 1
The night, black, blue, yellow lights streetlights that I hate, the depth of black that I like. Find the last time of the day before the night appears (I don’t know if I see it or I am aware of). Disappear in the dark. Reveal a black image with noise. I’ve heard that black was background’s color. The night in blue in gray more than black. I sleep at night. I’m afraid of. But I wake up and I paint the night at day.

Antonia Earls
ESBA Nantes, Master 1
I am currently working on polymorphic symbolical systems. These systems aim to disassociate the sign from its intrinsic significance and give it another dimension or possibility through games of adequacy, combination, exclusion, transformation. By rendering abstract our use of language and signs we then enter the infrastructure of our normal, rational and logical ways of thinking. I try to use symbols in a liberated manner, via multi dimensional cut ups, and to convey an absurd and ambiguous quality to the entities. I guess that my work is in this rather satirical and tries to establish new rules, by really manipulating a sign/shape/object without ever denying it or forgetting its original use. It is this origin that gives it its intangible and latent potential. This work aims to question the status of a medium, and becomes a hybrid way of communicating. Be it sculpture, drawing, writing, painting, video & sound, the essential factor is inhabiting a space and knowing how to corrupt it.

Student in art school of Nantes
Born in France the 12 of March 1982. In my work, I’m interested about the idea of print or trace. How, when something is missing, a print or a trace produces a feeling of distance, in time and space. I worked, for example, with ashes. For me, it contains, in a deep silence, the memory of the fire and the movement of the destruction. I made a card game, called “labyrinth in a suitcase” in which one card is missing, and instead of it, there is ashes in the box, so, this game is impossible to arrange, and it creates something like a perpetual motion. During this stay in Santa Fe, I’d like to visit some land art pieces, and see how American artists make, somehow, a print in the landscape. I’d also like to ask the distance, maybe in a video. My first idea, but I don’t know if I will realize it, is to make a sequence shot and to see how long does it take to disappear in a flat landscape.

Alexandre Meyrat Le Coz
ESBA Nantes, Master 1
I look to interrogate drawing, sculpture and performance for their visible and invisible qualities, as well as their balance and laws. I am interested in “flirting” with various breaking points. I look to experiment in the space between things, to create a choreographic duo with an object. Space time body. Take it for what it is, use it in its way. Opt for an erotic path. Shake the established order.

Clarisse Anicet
ESBA Nantes, Master 1
I’m interested in the matter, in phenomenon, in what happens in the core of the elements. I’ve developed a practice of drawing where I try to express the invisible and perpetual movement. My quest is to reveal and glorify the beauty and the power of the Ephemera. It takes shape of organic areas which oscillates between huge landscapes and microscopic sections.


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