Émilie Perotto, 2015
Translated by Simon Pleasance, 2015
It must be said that my first sculptures appear in precise contexts. The constraints of production and display are the first lines in my list of specifications. So the exhibition context is a central factor of the work process. I usually begin this latter by focusing on the architectural and spatial context, which subsequently leads me to broach socio-economic contexts.
The concreteness of exhibition venues, as well as the “presentness” of the encounter between visitor, sculpture and space, are the nerve centres of my research. This is how I see sculpture, as the medium of the encounter between a human body and a plastic body in a defined space. I've called this encounter a “sculptural situation”.
I'd like all my works to produce in the visitor what I call a “sculptural feeling”, which depends on the construction of the “sculptural situation”. My sculptures are component and revelatory agents of this. They put visitors in a specific situation, for a suspended period of time, during which they have the physical and mental experience of a space. [...]
Sculpture is what it is and it is from such reality that its poetry emerges
Anne Kawala, 2008
One first apprehends sculpture in its entirety. But. The two major artworks by Emilie Perotto are, in my opinion and at the moment, Wood World, condensé de pratique (2006) (Wood World, condensed work practice) and Un duel au soleil (Rejeu Revanche) (2007) (A dual in the sun: Replay, Return fight). The first, whose title is programmatic, questions the surreal. Whereas the second bears witness to the mastery of a medium that enables almost all forms of constraint to be ignored ? which opens the way to many more interesting opportunities in sculpture. The articulation between the one and the other could be placed in a connected work, that of a mountain of images (either as sculpture as an image, or as a way of questioning how sculpture is perceived). But. This does not say anything about the work in sculpture itself. So, to begin with one must mention the material used : wood, chipboard, MDF, plywood, laminated. And even more precisely the relationship to feeling, specific, that Emilie Perotto induces when she chooses to use one material rather than another (quite simply a distancing from laminated, a certain affinity with sanded MDF, etc) It is an emotional relationship, the same as that held for a well-maintained tool, necessary for the work in hand. Because if, effectively, Emile Perotto's sculpture considers itself foremost as an ensemble, and if from that point of view it may seem quite distant and formal, each piece however, at the same time, has the ability to transform into a surreal world the feeling considered through the material employed being unrelated to the material used. But. Let us examine this further and in greater detail. The surreal in Wood World, condensé de pratique is the juxtaposition of heterogenous elements ( a padlock, an elephant, a flag, a raft, a desk) as in Black sculpture (2007) (a skull, a record cabinet), as in Montée des Accoules, rue du Refuge, place Fontaine de Caylus j'y suis (à Sarah) (2006) (a table, a staircase, an ashtray), as in Tout ce qu'il me reste de l'île d'Or (à Joseph) (2005 - 2007) (a chess board, an island, a tower, a table) and even in Otomobilbaum (2006) (a pine tree, a padlock for a motorbike). The question here is really the surreal and not surrealism, the difference is fundamental. In the same manner that one material placed next to another produces a new disruption in feeling, the object presented, re-presented, has an ambiguity to adopt a formality close to that which has been observed, yet never wanting to appear to be what it is not. And this is also true thanks to the use of other objects of a different nature ? such as the re-use of leftover materials (refer to Wood World, condensé de pratique, Chutes silence (2006), Imaginaire de carton, chutes véritables (2005), Le petit lapin de Playboy ronge mon crâne végétal (2007), re-invent themselves, that is to say sculpted further, according to this very same principle, as with for example, Black sculpture (2007)). The objects constructed are thus those that Emile Perotto has seen as being sculptures even before they were to become such, that is to say without the desire to over-interpret the object with regards to its symbolism. The sculpture is what it is and it is this reality from which its poetry emerges. In Un duel au soleil (Rejeu Revanche), the use of the metaphor is explored to such an extent that the sculpture is both a gameboard, a map of a battle scene, a desert, an abstraction. Its metallic structure refers, like the mask and the snorkel, to the emptiness of the conquered territory. The mastery that has arisen from this question of the conquest of territory and material, the surreal is even more present in the terrain set aside for the spectator. But. To talk about this is not sufficient, one has to confront it and not just look at it from a distance.