Etienne Bossut & John Cornu


Residue of surrealism on «Holy Land», highly unlikely meeting… as indicated by its title «&», the latest exhibition by Ricou Gallery seems to juxtapose two very different artistic practices.

First there is the elder, who plays with mimesis to the point of making us forget our understanding of true and false, present and represented. Soluble reality turned into fiction and vice versa … The plasticity of the works of Etienne Bossut is at first literal: the plastic takes shape – pardon the neologism – to represent, or rather to incarnate. The double becomes real or pretended, the qualities of the representation become avatars sufficiently developed to have nothing to envy of the originals, except for some details carefully distilled by the artist.There is therefore the idea of the casting of the original object, and our perception of it. In this «inframince» the very idea of the image is disturbing, like the handmade that would then oppose the notorious readymade. Repository, as the game is not random in this practice where Magritte (Not a Pipe) as well as Broodthaers (Homage to Marcel Broodthaers) will be evoked alternately.

Then there is the other one, whose accomplishments convoke paranoid devices (defense grids, embrasures, wired glass riddled with Flash Ball). Just like in his last show in one of the modules of the Palais deTokyo, John Cornu offers a tightened and not so verbose aesthetic, a severity similar to that of minimalistic art. However, this does not prevent his pieces from functioning as invitations to rethink our daily lives and the ideology of all that is safe.The modernist aspect which asserts itself at first is then progressively diluted into a more romantic shape, populated by ruins and destruction.

On the mode of an encounter between a sewing machine and an umbrella (all on a dissecting table) [1], this exhibition, at first accidental, may ultimately be envisaged under the aegis of our consumer society and the fears that are attached to it.

Violette Labihe