Jeanne Vicerial’s clothing sculptures are presented at the Templon gallery in Paris, through an exhibition where the artist invokes a mythology that is her own. Orchestrating a ball of enigmatic presences, Jeanne Vicerial weaves a contemporary story between body and clothing.
For her first Parisian exhibition at the Templon gallery, Jeanne Vicerial (born in 1991) awakens the Venuses of the past to take them into the future, between science and know-how. The common thread is undoubtedly the question of the sublime, in the romantic sense of the term, when beauty can seem disturbing. Fifteen sculptures made by hand from threads and cords populate the space. Halfway between armor and skin, the “woven flesh” that she fashions protects the entrails but also reveals the fragility of being, revealing intrinsic organs made of pink threads or dried flowers linked to specific places – such as the Villa Medici in Rome, where Jeanne Vicerial was in residence, or the rose garden of her former studio in Pantin. These plants, intended to evolve visually and olfactorily, establish a temporality echoing the memento mori.
Costume designer, artist and researcher, Jeanne Vicerial studies the anatomy of the human body, vegetation, the senses, spirituality and even sexuality. We could consider her as a contemporary Hildegard of Bingen because her work is the fruit of multiple faculties. A true clothing surgeon, after training at the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, then an experience with Hussein Chalayan, she created a research and creation studio called Clinique Vestimentaire where she questions tailor-made and relationship between body and clothing. She notes that today in ready-to-wear, the body adapts to the garment and no longer the reverse as before.
During many hours of work – 17,000 hours for this exhibition – the artist weaves thread and rope repeatedly until his sculptural creations come to life. It then gives birth to presences, between science fiction and references to the past, whose textile membrane acts as a shield. Vulnerable, we must take care of these flayed goddesses symbolizing in particular the place of women in history.
Within this exhibition reigns an overwhelming intimacy. Madonnas resembling warriors sit enthroned among other black sculptures, like figures adept in the rites of passage between death and life. Further on, pinned to the wall, in homage to the female body, objects of worship, with the appearance of vulva and called “sex-voto”, are intended to be venerated. In the basement, other bright white rooms dominate the space. Near the crypt where an immaculate recumbent rests, a film co-directed with the artist Louise Ernandez, Gisant.es une Re-Baissance, is shown, which reinforces the mystical aspect of the exhibition: this project notably included four works presented in the Saint-Denis basilica in 2022. •
Exhibition “Armors” by Jeanne Vicerial
Until March 11, 2023 at Templon (Grenier Saint-Lazare)
28, rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare – 75003 Paris