Contemporary art publications — Visual artists in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Guillaume ROBERT

update July 07 2020

Guillaume Robert, 2013

Translated by Simon Pleasance, 2015


My praxis develops by project. I am a follower of the sidestep, I explore varied and often transversal forms, permeated by a concern to embrace what makes our world (language, history, politics, science, representation, perception...). My work has developed out of video, a practice which, for some years now, has been opening up to the object, the installation, words, sounds and photography. 
I call upon specific materials and contexts. I rely on scripted forms of creative processes which are resolved by way of invitations tossed to: a car mechanic, a geophysicist, performers (dance, theatre), a blacksmith, a gaffer, a musician, a friar, a beekeeper...
The process-related and plastic strategies which I set up proceed by way of an accumulation and a superposition of layers (narrative sedimentation, sedimentation of materials and meanings, sedimentation of time). I extract common space from raw materials (common space is here understood as heritage in the broad sense, including the immaterial heritage: theatrical arrangements, scientific statements, craftsmanship, mythology, the concept of landscape, diffuse creativity...). I make these materials my own, extending them, comparing them and toppling them by means of operations involving translation, arrangement, re-enactment, and fictionalization... These creative processes give rise to an encounter between these produced objects and arrangements, and the space (physical or social) where they find a foothold. The in situ represents the ultimate cause of the work, the hare: artefacts must permit the emergence of a renewal of reading, and perception of the receptacle-space.


Guillaume Robert, 2012

My work has essentially developed out of video, but over the last few years my practice has opened onto installation, object-based work, sound, writing and photography.

My work involves scripted forms exploring the creative process, carried out as a series of 'invitations' given to:
a (Bosnian) garage mechanic
a geophysicist (to modelise the propagation of riots across the globe)
performers (dancers and actors)
a blacksmith
a light technician
a musician
a brother
a beekeeper
a sound artist

My projects bring into play specific materials and contexts (historical, architectural, geopolitical or literary...) which, after a process of appropriation, are then linked into the display environment.

In this way, my work often follows a three-stage process:
• Extracting raw materials from the common sphere (here, the common sphere is apprehended as 'heritage' in the broadest sense, which includes immaterial heritage: the theatre apparatus, scientific statements, craft, mythology, the concept of landscape...).
• Making these materials one's own, extending them, confronting them with one another, operating shifts through processes of translation, arrangements, reenactments...
• Envisioning an encounter between the objects or arrangements produced and the space (physical or social) that they hook into.

The in situ dimension is the final cause, the ultimate issue: the artifacts must facilitate a new perception of the receiving space. I constantly try to reveal the rawness of space ― playing on its function especially, while at the same time showing presence: there is space and there is a perception of space. Whether constructed around a landscape (the Lot Valley, the Drina Valley, a Kabyle village), an art centre (or a deconsecrated church ― CAC Les Églises, Chelles), a gallery, a theatre stage, or even the space of a page, or filmic space, my productions invariably engage in uncovering their support.

 The processual and visual strategies I employ operate via accumulation, superposing layers (narrative sedimentation, the sedimentation of materials and meanings, the sedimentation of time) ― at a definite remove then from the strategies employed in Minimalist art. Yet there is some common ground, one fundamental aspect being that both take into account, a priori, the locus of the spectator. Pretexts, hooks and bait take shape here and proliferate to better produce the undergirding experience of the exhibition: constructing the viewer's porousness to presence (no transcendence here, just a grass-roots presence, the here and now of sensory experience, a confrontation with space, with the emerging).