KEVIN ROUILLARD: COLLISION
SEPTEMBER 15 - OCTOBER 22, 2017
The Chimney is pleased to present Collision by French artist Kevin Rouillard, his first solo exhibition in the United States. Inquiring on objects’ relationship to context and value system, Rouillard’s artistic practice resembles that of a researcher, an excavator or an archeologist. He collects, classifies and assembles objects he encounters to redistribute and liberate them in order to explore their dynamic potential.
Inside The Chimney, Rouillard covers the walls with his latest series of “Extrait –Tôle Choc” that constitute assembled puzzle-like shipping barrels originally used between France and Cap Verde to transport commodities. The space becomes a duplicate site where different geographies and times coalesce - the existing walls of a 20th century power station intersect the commercial sphere of a now global Africa.
For Rouillard, the works’ political, economical or societal references bear little importance compared to their visual quality. While the barrels hold the vestige of their past function as objects in transit, Rouillard transformed them into dynamic objects to reveal their contemplative and optical qualities. The works imparts a binary sensitivity that veers between an abstract and mild state and a majestic monumentality. Their mechanical coolness that stems from the steel, their ‘ready-made’ colors and texture give them a presence that transcends their utilitarian function. This series echo the “Color Field Painting” of the 1950s American painters as well as the minimal gesture of Minimalism; an aesthetic that Rouillard consciously absorbed to regenerate them through vernacular objects.
Their floating and subtle varying hues convey an atmospheric quietude that conceals their arduous production. Through a collaborative process, Rouillard cut the barrels, hammered, flattened and finally carefully assembled them in order to obtain their final existential state. Interested in the institutional mechanism of the artistic system, Rouillard’s artistic practice expands his role as a worker.
Rouillard recycles the containers from commodity vessels into a rigorous and dynamic redistribution of forms. "To send products to Cap-Verde, Rouillard explains, expats fill containers and ship them on cargos - the least expensive travel option. Once they reach their destination, they are transformed into doors, frying pans, houses. I have decided to transform the barrels into roman tortoise shields, similar to a collective shell".
The Chimney would like to thank Adhex Technologies /Roland de la Brosse, the Galerie Thomas Bernard - Cortex Athletico, and the French Embassy in the United States for supporting the exhibition.
In May 2017, Kevin Rouillard was a resident at Adhex Technologies in Dijon upon the invitation of its director Roland de La Brosse. With the support of Adhex Technologies and its maintenance service, Kevin Rouillard had the opportunity to work with the technicians and assistants who shared their expertise in order to produce the works on view at The Chimney, as well the works on site« Extrait (tôle, choc) In Situ, Adhex Technologies », on view at Adhex Technologies' warehouse.