FLORA CURIOSA, 2015
Material: polyurethane body and silicone tongues
Commissioned for St Etienne Biennale Exhibition 2015: VOUS-AVEZ DIT BIZARRE?
Limited Edition of 5.
Text St Etienne Biennale Exhibition 2015: VOUS-AVEZ DIT BIZARRE?
The Vous avez dit bizarre ? (Did you say bizarre?) exhibition explores the notion of the contemporary grotesque through a selection of about forty designers. Co-directed and co-designed by Dutch artist Bart Hess and art historian Alexandra Jaffré, the exhibition brings together design projects that play with the codes of the grotesque style to demonstrate the social implications of behaviours that can sometimes be over-the-top. The grotesque is commonly regarded as a ridiculous, exaggerated character. And yet, its semantic field, generous, fluid and changing, allows the expression of anything from the ridiculous to the absurd with humour, mockery or uneasiness. The questions it raises go far beyond the received values of beauty or good taste: it makes us aware of the vices of our times The exhibition is structured by two traditional aspects in the grotesque style: the playful side of grotesque with an imaginary world connected to childhood with its colours, forms and pleasures, and the frightening side of grotesque that feeds of the fears of adults, darker and more tormented. The frontiers between the two, however, are more porous than it might at first seem. Visitors will experience a rich and changing range of emotions, with room to react and reflect freely. Irrespective of the outward appearance of the grotesque, playful or frightening, it spurs us to question not only aesthetic norms, but also our own behaviour as super-consumers and as we veer towards ultra-narcissism, through our ambiguous relationship with the animal side of life, or our so unclear social or emotional interactions. The feeling of detachment provoked by exaggeration gives visitors food for thought about our contemporary vices which result from our ever-unsatisfied desires and a now-globalised anxiety.