Noix Bijoux

Noix Bijoux

Thomas Tronel-Gauthier
Tax included

Noix Bijoux, 2021
Juglans regia maxima walnut shells, tinted silicone, resin
3,5 x 5 x 4 cm


‘À fleur de paume’ offers a contemporary rereading of the miniature in the visual arts. Small-format artworks depicting portraits, fragments of the body, objects or landscapes are brought together in a display that, in places, evokes the cabinet of curiosities, to better question these cherished figures, bearers of memory(ies), the extraordinary and the derisory, that we hold in the palm of our hands, that we keep in the corner of our minds, at the bottom of a drawer or in a pocket.

From the amulets that have preserved an element of protective magic since the illustrious times of ancient Egypt to the ornate letters delicately displayed at the beginning of chapters in medieval works, from the curiosities exhibited as singular marvels in the alcoves and shelves of the Wunderkammer from the 16th century onwards to the ‘objets de vertu’ whose refined gold smithery reached its apogee in the 18th century, from still lifes to chalkboards often considered minor in the academic classifications of yesteryear: creators of every era, whether anonymous, craftsmen or artists, have fashioned artefacts and images capable of containing the world, its obscure or syncretic forces, in a small, moving space.Aside from grandiloquent representations, these works can be observed in an intimate and familiar way. This is not to say that we should shy away from the beauty or the tumult, but that we should maintain a distance that encourages dialogue and reflection rather than intoxication.

As globalized flows continue to increase in density and speed since the dawn of modernity, things - previously singular - are becoming products of mass consumption and communication. The expansion of today's media networks completes the undoing of the illusion of the uniqueness of images, so much so that they are now caught up in a magma of pixels, dripping in a permanent continuum under the frantic action of our thumbs caressing the screens. Expressing oneself today through a condensed format has several resonances. Perhaps it's a question of combining the action of the hand with that of the eye to awaken haptic sensations. Perhaps it's an echo of the very size of the thumbnails we carry around and swipe on our smartphones. Perhaps it's a way of moving away from the dazzle of the spectacular to explore what lies on its margins. Perhaps it's a way of extracting ourselves from the incandescent hearth to make our eyes and imaginations dance on volatile ashes. Perhaps it's an admission of humility in the face of the tremors that are destabilizing the planet. Perhaps it means crystallizing a form and marking a moment of suspension in the race of time.

The exhibition ‘À fleur de paume’, without seeking an answer or an affirmation, writes a poetic phrase in the space, offering multiple points of entry. This open-ended phrase suggests a timeline, inviting us to take a circular journey through an archipelago of shapes, figures, and objects. Curiosity is heightened when, in the middle of the tour, the exhibition re-enacts the cabinet of curiosities. The latter adds a domestic dimension to the whole, which we find in a gallery of portraits that, in the end, call out to us with their strange familiarity. Small formats and miniatures, paintings, objects, and sculptures invite the eye to caress them, encouraging us to adopt a sensitive, even intimate approach. Each work invites us to plunge into micro-narratives that, outside the canon of history, allow us to shift our gaze and delve into the intertwining of individual and collective memories. Finally, the exhibition resonates with the literature of Orhan Pamuk, particularly his novel The Museum of Innocence. In this novel, the main protagonist, Kemal, ends up building a museum from the objects he has stolen from the family home of the woman he has lost. The small, eclectic treasures he gathers paint a portrait of their past relationship, but also of a slice of history, that of Istanbul, where the couple lived. Echoing this narrative, the works brought together here are like so many fragments of stories whose threads have yet to be pulled together.

Thomas Fort, May 2024

Type of work
3,5 x 5 x 4 cm

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