Caroline Mesquita at Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain

Artist: Caroline Mesquita

Exhibition title: Le festin

Venue: Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest, France

Date: October 16, 2020 – January 16, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain

Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain presents for the first time a monographic exhibition by Caroline Mesquita (born in 1989) in Brittany. Originally from Brest, she has constructed a unique in situ project drawing on the local formal realm of the imagination combined with her personal vocabulary, close to that of science-fiction.

A monumental and monolithic structure extends over the patio of the art centre, in imitation of a restaurant built in slate in accordance with traditional Breton architecture. Both sublime and fantastical, the building-sculpture recalls the world of fairy tales while also containing that note of humour dear to the artist. This restaurant ‘closed for holidays’ is not accessible, it looks real but as you go up to it its artificial nature become obvious. On the first floor of the art centre, metal sculptures are on show like dishes in a restaurant, revealing delicacies from a gastronomy of fantasy. Caroline Mesquita has thrown herself into a fantastical and dreamlike figurative representation. The sharp black slate of the restaurant gives way to a silky coppery gold; the scale is distorted: the building becomes miniaturised and the food on the restaurant menu grows to gigantic proportions.

Seeking to avoid any hint of intellectual pomposity, Caroline Mesquita brings the notion of pleasure in the creative act back into the field of art. The exhibition therefore becomes a meditation and an open narrative, leaving plenty of room for drifting and dreaming. The feast evokes for everybody a time of conviviality but also a certain idea of the lavish and of excess. It is a time for pagan or religious gatherings, with friends of family, time for a feast of taste found in every culture. This simple joy – gathering together – disappeared in 2020 because of the health emergency. Caroline Mesquita here tries to bring back this fundamental pleasure in a conceptual and formal way. The exhibition is primarily developed as a celebration of togetherness and of sharing.

For a few years now, Caroline Mesquita has been studying the human body in all its forms, from the question of identity to its constancy over time. For Le festin [The Feast], she observes ‘what makes the machine run’, food as fuel. It is also about experiencing the idea of slowing down and ‘slow life’. Current trends of ultra-communication and ultra-mobility are destined to be overturned. The question underlying the exhibition could be “What is essential to our existence?” The artist’s response, avoiding any clichés, lies in simplicity and authenticity: art, time for oneself, living well and therefore eating well.