Artist: Fanny Gicquel
Exhibition title: Des éclats
Venue: Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest, France
Date: February 8 – May 2, 2020
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain
As part of the ‘Les chantiers-résidence’ resident artists programme devised in collaboration with Documents D’Artistes Bretagne, Passerelle Centre welcomes Fanny Gicquel for her first solo exhibition. This artist graduated in 2018 from the École Européenne Supérieure d’Art in Brittany (Rennes site), thereafter undertaking training in space layout, a clear indication of her current research.
The exhibition entitled Des éclats (=Shards) fills two first-floor rooms in the art centre, combining installations, sculptures and video, and designed to form a whole. Fanny Gicquel wanted to respond to the ocean setting of Brest by taking inspiration from the work of poetry Ode Maritime (1915) by Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese political writer of the early twentieth century. She has taken from this prose poetry a series of verses imagining the notions of departure and movement, such as “I want to go with you, wherever you have been”.
But the messages are coded using a technique that is particularly familiar to sailors: the semaphore alphabet, a means of communication using flags held at arm’s length to cipher the Roman alphabet. So the poetry extracts become ‘semaphore verses’ taking the form of sculptures, a film and performances given at predetermined times throughout the duration of the exhibition. Fanny Gicquel imagines the rooms in the Passerelle as a stage, unfurling nets like curtains in a theatre, colouring the walls to create scenery, and with metal sculptures used as props by the actors. With Des éclats, she questions the durability of the performance event and its survival in an exhibition, as much as the dimension of a coded language losing its meaning.