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about.

Thierry Bernard-Gotteland, France B.1974             ARTIST STATEMENT 

I’ve been working in a variety of media from traditional art mediums to new media technology. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, I try to create works in which the actual event still has to take place or just has ended: moments evocative of atmosphere, sonic ambiances and suspense, that are not part of a narrative thread. The drama unfolds elsewhere while the build-up of tension is frozen to become the memory of an event that will never/will take place.

My artworks appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporeal world’, I do create intense personal/intimate moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer/listener round and round in circles.

My works directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday life experience as a starting point as well as from my artist experience. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. With a subtle minimalistic approach, I create work in which a fascination with the un/clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found but expanded most of the time by popular culture and nuances.

My works are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and jokes. They question the coerciveness that is derived from the more profound meaning and the superficial aesthetic appearance of an image, a sound and nuances. By emphasizing aesthetics, I want to amplify the perception of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate images/sounds that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.

My practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for man-oeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of art: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the generative realm of imagination, investigating the poetic of the language on a meta-level.

My work never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that I can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. Transformed into art, language becomes an ornament as per se sounds and words content. At that moment, lots of ambiguities and indistinctiveness’s, which are inherent to the phenomenon, come to the surface.

My work doesn’t reference recognizable form at first sight but it requires the viewer/listener to pull-out own understandings from a magma of layers of references. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. By referencing romanticism, grand-guignolesque black ‘humor’, irony, allegories, icons and symbolism, I try to seduce the viewer/listener into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find meanings in everyday life.

My work focuses on the in/ability of communication, which is used to visualize reality, the attempt of dialogue, the dissonance between form and content and the dysfunctions of a poetic language. In short, the massive usage of references are key elements in the work. Because of the references overlapping references, a lack of clear recognition occurs, becoming a blurry understanding as a whole, providing new meanings and interpretations.

 

With a conceptual approach, I try to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.

The works are characterized by the use of everyday objects with a specific atmosphere in which recognition plays an important role. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, I try to make work that generates diverse meanings. Associations and meanings collide. Space becomes time and language becomes image as well as sound becomes visuals.

By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of different class values, I do use a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues. The work incorporates time as well as space – a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit.

My work often refers to pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. 

These works focus on concrete questions that determine our existence. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, it investigates the dynamics of our contemporary landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what ‘landscape’means to us. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.

My work demonstrates how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. 

By parodying mass media, by exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society, this often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. 

The possibility or the dream of the annulment of a (historically or socially) fixed identity is a constant focal point.

 

By applying abstraction to a very figurative process of aligning references altogether, I do create a work through intensive thinking processes which can be seen explicitly as a personal/conceptual exorcism ritual. 

My works are given improper functions: significations are inversed and form and content merge. Shapes are dissociated from their original meaning, by which the system in which they normally function is exposed. Initially unambiguous meanings are shattered and disseminate endlessly. By studying sign processes, semiotics, signification and communication, I do touch various overlapping themes and strategies for the providence of meanings.

 

Several reoccurring subject matter can be recognized, such as the relation with popular culture and media, working with provocation and the investigation of the process of interpretations through iterative methods and repetition; — as you may experience it actually, in the text that you are currently reading…

The work questions the condition of appearance of signs, image or sound, in the context of contemporary culture in which images, representations and ideas normally function by placing the viewer on an unstable track. 

The work radiates a cold and latent violence by means of sound usage or visual constructions. Indeed, at times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibition, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning.

 

I currently live and work in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

 
 

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© † Thierry Bernard-Gotteland †

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