Multiplying the points of view
Each of the works of the duo of artists Bounoure and Genevaux deals with space and light. They have for primitive impulse a gesture, the fold. A simplicity – etymologically, simple “has only one fold” – which is inscribed as a line, a line becoming multiple, the effervescence of zero to infinity. Cardinal virtue of the contemporary art, the subjectivity of the point of view is accentuated here by the image reflected in a polished folded mirror whose perception changes according to the time and the position of the observer. Whether in the middle of nature or in an urban landscape, the environment of the work plays a composite as well as an intuitive role. Rather than sculptures, the duo of artists, who have made the fold its engine of creation for fifteen years, prefers to speak of installations since they are linked to the context. Neither top nor bottom, neither right nor left, just a folding of the matter where invites itself a distorted image of the real. From this image formed by eccentric planes, it is up to each one to find the meaning, the variable reality. “For the series Apparition, the forms result from a process that we named ‘cut folding’: we fold a sheet of paper and we make a cut, then we unfold. There is a topological link between folding and cutting. Although our works propose the image of a reflection of the world complicated by the folds, the device is a research of sincerity and simplicity. From the initial fold, from this division is born a complexity driven by the laws of symmetry,” explain these 2019 winners of the City of Strasbourg Art Prize.
By Nathalie Nort for L’Officiel may 2020
Guillaume and Chloé, your work can be seen as a multifaceted vision of the environment. You were talking of “figures of the continuous” to describe your works, what do you mean ?
Our work on folding mirrors, reflects unseen areas, deconstructing your perception.
It is a matter of scale and position, then it is a pure interaction with space .
We first select the most interesting parts of various process very carefully. Then the work only reveal light and changing images through reflexions. Folding is a very simple process, meaningful. So our message is very simple , you see…
The matrix of the fold is a continuity within the impulsion of various intentions that can be described as gestures or vector lines in a three dimensional space. It is the conscience that makes things appear and seem real, if you use a filter on images, you are lead to a more relative point of view…
Do you mean Environment is what connects and constitutes humans as multiple expressions of a whole that goes beyond them ?
Do you intend to change people perception of reality ?
We are dreaming of a world of cultural relativism. I want to unfold the mirror and contemplate the sky… I hope the scale of our work, is a “deep” scale, that will lead you to introspection. I don’t intend to change the real world. I have nothing to express about reality. We’ll come from the dream-land and smash your head… (laugh)
You often presented art installations in patrimonial or religious places does it inspire you ?
First of all, the place makes sense on reflections : so we select great architectural treasure to reveal them, we just work with the past. There architectural dimensions and proportions are strong, so using specifics geometrical patterns in our folded artworks we can create strong invisible links .
Then it is a kind of magic. Every sacred place is filled with the idea of light in it is spiritual surrounding. The folds and the mirror are used as metaphors in many tales that explain us what is the soul of the world…
Do you believe there is a link between beauty and the soul ?
This is where we come back to the search for simplicity at the origin of one fold. Finally, if I remember well the vision of Leibniz, all these multiple folds constitute the background of all our simultaneous perceptions. And from these multiple perceptions, we manage to bring out the guiding folds which in fact orientate us : “the folds of the soul” …
For him it is these “folds of the soul” which generate the “folds of the physical world”.
Would you define your work as spiritual
The main thing is not to look but to feel the presence of the void. The perception of the same work evolves unceasingly with space and time. It is alive !
Our works are born of encounters with reality. The fold is the print of our two bodies on the surface. The fold transcends the scales of the infinitely small to the infinitely big: of the folded universe to the swirls of the DNA. The fold is also the metaphor of an experience of the reality as continuum: the monad of which Leibnitz speaks, in short, a contraction of the whole to become the part.
How do you transpose your reflections to a large scale?
Our works made of folded metal are both light and durable. They deal essentially with space and light : they are folded mirrors whose perception changes with time and the observer’s position.
It is a subjective point of view on nature that we propose : the landscape reflected in this human intervention will be transfigured.
Are your sculptures intended to be in one place ? How do you manage changes ?
Rather than sculptures we will speak of installations because they are linked to the context. Neither high nor low, neither right nor left, just a fold reflecting the light : these works will create a distorted image of reality. The time of a contemplation the spectator glimpses the world from another point of view : an image formed by eccentric planes. It is up to each one to recompose the image produced, to find its meaning.
We are open for new projects so we initiated collaborations with photographs and dancers… as our work is about change and subjectivity… we are happy to discover others points of views.
Do you mediate with the public to transmit your artistic vision ?
What happens if I see what is behind my head ?
Our works propose the image of a reflection of the world complicated by the folds. This image is real, but it gives the illusion of being unreal. The spectator is led to recompose the scene. This mechanism invites to reflect on the nature of what is seen.
How do you start a new project ?
Listening … the melody of things.
Is your work about simplicity or multiplicity ?
Both : it is like the understanding of the world by mathematics: we try to find general laws that are simple enough to give a model of the world, and the a fold is a bit like that. It is to find in this complexity of the folds, the origin of all that is found in one fold first.
With the concept of simplicity, we discovered that simple, means etymologically “which has only one fold,” and that everything starts from a fold… But also that the fold obeys the laws of the reflection. The fold transcending the real in short.
With the concept of multiplication – from Latin, appearance of many folds – we have glimpsed the notion of the one becoming multiple.
Are those concepts linked on how you create folded artworks ?
Yes first, we were inspired by a magic trick by Houdini… “one cut fold”.
The process is as follows: we fold, we cut and the outline appears.
For the Greek philosophers, folding and cutting were equivalent. I also think too, everything is about the perception of discontinuous apparitions in a continuous field of informations.
Do you see your work as a physical or an intellectual fact ?
Any aesthetic or spiritual manifestation finds its source in a bodily experience, that is to say that the lived is anterior to a symbolic relationship to time and space. I see the image and the shadow of the fold as the result of the practical way that we have to organize the matter. The fold it is initially something physical, then which becomes signifying by our human way of analyzing the time and the space .
Why do you say your white series are also like mirrors ?
The white surface acting as an infinity of small mirrors, reflects the environment.
Do you think your art is just “for the picture” ?
The photo is already a memory : we capture an instant, a reflection that exists at a moment, it is a trace. Whereas the folded mirrors are always in the present. That raises the question of the role of the observer… The work of art like as “relational process”. When one is going to move, when the light is going to change, the artwork will change at the same time.
Yes, our work it is a luminous work, we did intend the same thing when we projected a video of the sea on a folded mirror: there is something that is reflected from reality, a kind of prism that distorts the perception. What connects and constitutes humans as multiple expressions of a whole that goes beyond them.
So there is a kind of continuity between your artworks ?
Finally this folding is something continuous between our works and that manifests itself in different places as “singular objects”. It is always the same starting point : the white sheet, then the gesture of the fold. A particular strategy that will tie relations with the perception of a place that we do not know and that the fold will reveal. There is in our folds something of controlled and unforeseeable, something of “voluntarily uncontrolled” of the order of the mystery and of the secret. We seek the balance or a relation between the visible and the invisible.
What’s next? Are you going to do bigger and bigger work pieces ?
This fold we are talking about is a territory of dematerialization, it invites us to create a virtual art which would be diffuse but which would appear only in certain point at certain moments. Our folded world approaching a flow which would include the physical world and would interact with the reality.
Excerpts from the 2020 -2021 interviews.
Photographies : Elise Ortiou Campion