For several decades now, the globalisation phenomena have incited anthropologists to reflect upon their immediate environment rather than faraway lands. From that point, the notion of ‘ordinary’ became an object of research in itself.
French philosopher George Pérec was one of the first to point out the value of analyzing “what happens every day and recurs every day: the banal, the quotidien, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infra-ordinary, the background noise, the habitual”, rather than limit oneself to analysing the extra-ordinary. Pérec, Barthes and Certeau were some of the first thinkers who no longer explored the exotic, but focused on the endotic. Daily life was then thought to be “the cornerstone of our reality” at the heart of first-hand experience.
This exhibition presents the work of Mireille Blanc, Louise Boulter, Laetitia de Chocqueuse and Vincent Kriste on the subject of infra-ordinary. The works on display are addressing directly the domestic environment: both our habits and our penchant for possession are called into question. The objects of our everyday are considered like “rare, new and singular things”3 from a cabinet of curiosities. Each artist defines a visual micro-sociology that translates a certain re-enchantment of daily life.
In the same vein as John Armelder’s Furniture Sculpture, Vincent Kriste constructs images that oscillate between paintings and objects. His use of acrylic enables him to heighten his perception of matter and texture. Like two-dimensional sculptures, Vincent Kriste’s works are a reflection as much on the appearance of the material world as they are on the reality of the banal object. Mireille Blanc considers familiar material: trinkets, sweaters, curtains and other small items of daily life whose recent obsolescence bears witness to the passage of time as fashions come and go. Her intriguing paintings, playing as they do on the ambiguity of shapes, present images that border on abstraction. Mireille Blanc paints pieces of the real that stem from souvenir photos, and asks about the value of these objects: are they a personal story or one that is universal? Louise Boulter’s compositions depict stories of domestic interiors. The habit and the typical elements of environmental comfort are painted by alternating solid swathes of colour and stylized objects; they integrate the very support of the work as an intrinsic component. These anonymous interior scenes suggest a chronicle of an isolated world in suspension.
Laetitia de Chocqueuse places objects in a relationship with time, thrusting them out of their original context towards new narratives. Her sculpture-objects pose questions about substances and shape through a symbolic dimension. The newspaper opens the way: for Laetitia de Chocqueuse, these fragments of daily life might just provide a better understanding of the world.