Ten years after her video W.O.R.K.S & D.A.Y.S. was shown in the vestibule at La maison rouge, Hélène Delprat has imagined an exhibition specifically for the Foundation, titled ‘I did it my way’. Dark films and mirrors, vast paintings with hilarious titles, cinema voices, radiophonic drawings, birds’ heads, photocopies, Louis XIV, Georges Franju’s Judex and the curious rite of the tonsure… here’s what we can expect from this “lugubrious game”1, one that is both serious and funny. Hélène Delprat likes nothing more than to play around with L’Extension du Pire, the monstrous ugliness or beauty of things2, Macbeth’s witches, actors, the ridiculousness in each of us, laughter…
Inspired by literature – from Ovid’s The Metamorphoses to the contemporary novel by way of Mary Shelley and Virginia Woolf – film, internet databases, radio and press, each day brings new opportunity for Hélène Delprat to develop a sensitive and darkly humoristic art that takes in both fiction and documentary. She has, for the past several years, embarked on the contemporary volume of the Très riches heures de sa vie in painting, film, drawings and photography. Her filmed journal and Days blog are part of this, together with Les (fausses) conférences, a film which strings together a world of scheduled and unscheduled moments, including appearances by Eric von Stroheim, Buzz Aldrin and Jean Cocteau, among others.
Hélène Delprat’s work is about representation, memory, legacy and recording. The energy-images she proposes – whatever the medium – trigger constellations and offshoots, figurative and conceptual associations, inventories almost.
Hélène Delprat is like a character from her work, sympathetic towards dandies, extravagants, and those who, without the least pretension, cherish fake and finery with equal delight. Delving constantly into “the bric-a-brac of which we are made”3, she is at pains never to become trapped in the world she invents, extricating herself through documentaries and interviews4. Her singularity and curiosity make her an artist in a category of her own.
At first view, there is nothing that might connect an Art Brut sculpture by Judith Scott with a Nikisi divination statue from Congo, an eighteenth-century German reliquary or Annette Messager’s net of votive photographs, and yet despite their origins in different lands, cultures, expressions and eras, there are surprising overlaps in the materials and techniques used, and in the process behind their creation. All these objects display striking analogies in the entwining, entangling and knotting of hemp cord, hair, strips of leather, gold threads, blades of grass, raffia, rope and fabric. Whether organic, plant or metal, these fibres are ingeniously assembled, stitched, woven or knotted together into inextricable meshes that are also highly symbolic objects. For indeed these resemblances go beyond form and technique: each piece is instilled with healing, purifying or protective powers that will drive away evil, endowing them with a spiritual, religious or magical role. Do their makers believe they will help them communicate with a world beyond the here below?
Inextricabilia sets out to unsnarl these twists and tangles that give form to the sentient, the incommunicable and the elusive. It invites the public to wander among creations with multiple imbrications that provoke a physical reaction, getting beneath the skin to make an almost visceral connection.
Inextricabilia will show works of Art Brut, African ritual objects, religious art, folk art, modern and contemporary art.
The body of work, yet to be finalised, will include objects and artworks by Arthur Bispo do Rosario, Pierrette Bloch, Cathryn Boch, Louise Bourgeois, Peter Buggenhout, Antonio Dalla Valle, Heide de Bruyne, Teresa Ottallo, Lisette H., Sheela Gowda, Marie Lieb, Jean Loubressanes, Man Ray, Angus MacPhee, Annette Messager, Marc Moret, Michel Nedjar, Man Ray, Virginie Rebetez, Judith Scott, Pascal Tassini, Jeanne Tripier, Giuseppe Versino, Chen Zhen, and numerous anonymous creators from public and private collections across Europe, Brasil and Californy : including Musée du Quai Branly (Paris, France), Musée de l’Homme (Paris, France), MuCEM (Marseilles, France), LaM (Villeneuve d’Ascq, France), Trésors de ferveur (Chalon sur Saône), Collection de l’Art Brut (Lausanne, Switzerland), Collection abcd (Paris, France), the Prinzhorn Collection (Heidelberg, Germany), Museu Bispo do Rosário (Rio de Janeiro) and collections held by psychiatric institutions in Switzerland, France, Italy and Hungary.
la maison rouge – fondation antoine de galbert
10 Bd de la Bastille
75012 Paris | France