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For his Lindre-Basse residency proposal, Julien Creuzet put forward a mischievous system of perspective-reversal between Europe and what the colonial explorers of past centuries wrongly called the “New World”. The Lorraine Regional Natural Park and the area surrounding Lindre-Basse were to be made into a New World to explore, a world that is “unfamiliar and exotic” for the artist, who was born in Martinique and came to study at the fine arts schools in Caen and Lyon, as well as at Le Fresnoy - Studio National des Arts Contemporains in Tourcoing. Now living in Paris, he easily recognizes all the distance that can separate him from this rural area in the heart of Lorraine, made up of wetlands and multiple forests, bordering on a large lake where local flora and fauna are preserved and studied, and which is also home to a colony of white storks.
Like every proposal written in the abstract, this one was enriched over time in the course of meetings, on-site discoveries, and the convulsions of the world. The first video he made is entitled L’île aux oiseaux (les migrants de septembre) [The Island of Birds (the September Migrants)] in which the artist can be vaguely seen, dimly illuminated by his screen. In the background we hear music and song that he composed. It is about storks nesting in the village of Lindre-Basse and their migratory flight, like a searing echo of current events.
les temps ont changé
les temps du danger
j'ai fait peur au migrant
du mois de septembre
oiseaux massés, Calais
comme ils pouvaient
ils se sont envolé
[times have changed
times of danger
I frightened the migrant
of the month of September
birds gathered, Calais
as much as they could
they flew away]
The white stork becomes a totem figure, a recurring theme in the mythology created out of this Lorraine village with a population of only around 300. In one of the videos produced for the occasion, entitled Ciconia – Anima, a ceremony is activated by dancer Ana Pi, who comes and embodies this slender animal when musician Thibaut Gueriaux reinterprets the bird’s percussive song, with its repeated beak clicks. This rhythm reminds Julien Creuzet of “that ritual music and traditional dance of the Brazilian Candomblé”, a syncretic religion that combines Catholicism, indigenous rites and African beliefs, a legacy of African population displacements in the context of slavery treaties from the 16th to the 19th century.
As is often the case in Julien Creuzet’s work, bodies are affected by surrounding nature (the forest, a lake, birdsong) just as much as by an array of machines and digital technology (a surfeit of special effects, ubiquitous screens, references to social network culture…). In this web culture saturated with communication, Julien Creuzet endeavours to opacify the pseudo-transparency produced by the never-ending presentation of the self. Night is often thick, barely pierced by the pale light of the screens haunting his videos. Scoffing at the codes and customs of immaterial sociability, in his work, status and profile turn into “profile statue”.
Adhering to a resolutely inclusive principle, Julien Creuzet summons multiple actors, participants and co-authors from other arts and disciplines, involving a range of voices and ways of doing things. If the terms “archipelic” and “Creolisation” are repeated like mantras in his vocabulary or in articles written about him, this is because it is a way of doing and being in the world, one that is fragmentary and infused with multiple identities.
Il n'y pas de demi-saison,
pour cette plume
qui chute, multiple,
dans son corps-sécession.
Érable, au début de l'automne...
[There is no half-season,
for this feather
that falls, multiple,
in its body-secession.
Maple, at the beginning of autumn…]
This body-secession no doubt speaks of that complex identity which is in pieces, impossible to ascribe to a single space, to confine to a given culture.
For the project he is creating at NaMiMa gallery, Julien Creuzet is presenting a precarious hybrid installation: TV screens, found or received objects, some less-than-exotic foods… simply placed on the floor, sketching a mobile map over which eyes can wander, one that also becomes an activity field; each element is to be performed, manipulated, sung, moved, by the artist or by his guests. In so doing, he reinjects a kind of singularity into objects, artefacts or foods that have been culturally standardised and economically globalised, in an attempt to find their secret genealogies and multiple cultural translations, which time has hidden so well.
If he seizes upon all mediums with a disconcerting spontaneity, this shows a certain relationship with language that is worth mentioning: an explosive, free poetry that infuses all the interstices of his work, including his titles (which are so long, it is impossible to fully write them in the standardised spaces of communication media) and the e-mails he sends to various correspondents, curators, journalists, institution directors, collaborators – friends…
Now we are all caught up in that poetic net which acts upon us like a remarkable binder.
Born in 1986. Lives and works in Paris.
Graduate of the École des beaux arts de Caen, post-graduate of the École nationale supérieure des beaux arts de Lyon, and of Le Fresnoy - Studio National des Arts Contemporains in Tourcoing. He is represented by Galerie Doyang Lee in Paris.
His work was recently the subject of solo exhibitions at the Frac Basse Normandie in Caen (2015), the Juvisy-sur-Orge contemporary art centre, Galerie Doyang Lee in Paris (2013), the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo foundation in Turin (2012). Following a residency at La Galerie contemporary art centre in Noisy-le-Sec, he took part in the group exhibition entitled Scroll infini, en 2015.
In 2016 his projects include: Orange Rouge residency (Seine-Saint-Denis), Contre-Formes a group exhibition at the Centre Dramatique National in Caen, a solo exhibition at Galerie Doyang Lee, the second Kampala Art Biennale (Uganda)…