David Douard at Kunstverein Braunschweig

David Douard at Kunstverein Braunschweig_3

Artist: David Douard

Exhibition title: HORSES

Venue: Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany

Date: September 10 – November 13, 2016

Photography: Stefan Stark, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Kunstverein Braunschweig

The sentence fragments and scraps of words displayed on spread out sheets of fabric in the exhibition of the French artist David Douard suggest meaningful statements. These statements come across as comprehensible yet seem cryptic at the same time. Lines of poetry written in teenage slang by anonymous authors confront the reader with unfiltered, rough language. Much is suggested, nothing is explicit. The texts and fragments can be read as signals of a demarcation from social norms. This segregation forms part of a pose that resonates in certain parts of Douard’s work and which we re-encounter when we try to position his installations.

All this is characteristic, too, for the secret communication that happens in the darknet. By way of encrypted connections, the darknet enables anonymous movement in the internet. While on the one hand, it serves as a platform for criminal activity, on the other hand it enables free communication as for example for the revolutionary movements in Egypt or Turkey. Essentially, Douard’s inspiration stems from anonymous conversations, ideas, photos, and, especially from poetry posted on the darknet. All of these have been abstractly translated into hybrid objects and installation elements, oscillating between organic and techno appearances. This is why a seemingly cool metal structure dominates the room, yet fragile glass-objects are hanging in it at the same time, reminiscent of interior objects but also of monitors or surveillance cameras.

Douard’s work is based on astute and critical observations of society and its current development. He poses questions relating to the importance of the individual within a community or to permissiveness when dealing with personal data. The concept of transference always is of central and manifold importance in his work; not only with respect to electrical conductivity, but especially with respect to language, as expressed in words and their significance.

For his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany, the artist developed a room design that carries visitors off into a bizarre world. He scatters narrative traces in order to make them disappear again later. Even though some of the works seem to be inaccessible, the very atmosphere –both sober and melancholic–, which generated them, can still be experienced in an intense way. The interplay of presence and absence of a non-perceivable subject eventually leaves us with a feeling of trepidation.

David Douard (*1983 in Perpignan, France) lives in Aubervilliers. In 2016 he has been present in several group shows, among others, within the 72e Biennale d’art contemporain, Rennes. In 2015, Douard presented solo shows at the Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris („Bat-Breath. Battery“), and at Union Pacific, London. He further participated in group shows at the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, and in the Fridericianum, Kassel. The Palais de Tokyo, Paris, dedicated a solo exhibition to him in 2014 („Mo’Swallow“).

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David Douard, all like peacemeal, 2016

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David Douard, WE (VE), 2016

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David Douard, all like peacemeal, 2016

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David Douard, all like peacemeal, 2016

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David Douard, N’shit. pour toi la gloire, 2016

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David Douard, all like peacemeal, in shit for thee glory, 2016

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David Douard, all like peacemeal, in shit for thee glory, 2016