French artist Fanny Gicquel works across sculpture, installation, and video, often incorporating her artworks into choreographed performances that concern ideas of body and space.Read More
A graduate of the École européenne supérieure d'art in Rennes, Brittany (2018), Fanny Gicquel has created sculptural and durational works that explore the human body and its relationship with space. In Crossroad 3p x 2p, her 2019 solo exhibition at Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, the artist presented a metal structure accompanied by a pair of two plaster head sculptures connected by chains. Two performers, dressed in black, walked around and through the structure, and engaged with the sculptures in a series of enigmatic and non-consecutive gestures.
Crossroad 3p x 2p is what Gicquel describes as 'a spatial composition' on her website, in which the performers simultaneously traverse the thresholds of inside and outside demarcated by the metal structure. Their mirrored movements, reflected in the two sculptures, evoke a sense of symmetry and unity even though they are separate entities.
Fanny Gicquel also combines sculpture and performance in Living on the Border (2020), in which performers interact with sculptures of the same name. Made from steel rods and glass, the sculptures act as measuring instruments for the performers' bodies as well as for the distance between them—a timely consideration of personal and social space in the age of a global pandemic.
Coded languages are central to Des éclats (Shards), Fanny Gicquel's 2020 solo exhibition at Passerelle Centre d'art contemporain in Brest, where she showed sculptures consisting of a long metal rod with smaller perpendicular and slanted lines stemming off it. The enigmatic lines are based on semaphore, a system of communication using flags or one's arms held at particular angles, and represent verses from the 1915 poem Ode Maritime by Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa.
Gicquel also worked with Ode Maritime and semaphore for her video L'immensité avec vous (The Vastness with You), presented at Art Souterrain in 2021. Here, performers make a series of hand signals. In one shot, two of them hold Gicquel's semaphore sculpture between them, the horizontal line aligning with the horizon of the ocean. The soundtrack, though evocative of the sounds of waves and wind, are in fact created by human breathing, turning the video into an audiovisual poem.
Fanny Gicquel continues to investigate the many dimensions of the body through her installation and performance works. For her solo exhibition do you feel the same at Hua International, Berlin in 2021, she worked with choreographer Alice Heyward to develop performances that unfold in three 'corporalities', entitled 'the machine body room', 'dream body room', and 'memory body room'. Similar to many of Gicquel's works, performers engage directly with her sculptures, such as wrapping their bodies with straps hanging from the ceiling (ornament from your body:head/pelvis/shoulder, 2020–2021). Alternatively, they enact a series of gestures, including covering the floor with broken slabs of paraffin.
Fanny Gicquel's solo exhibitions include do you feel the same, Hua International, Berlin (2021); Toute forme garde une vie, The left right place, Reims, France (2020); and Des éclats, Passerelle Centre d'art contemporain, Brest, France (2020).
Selected group exhibitions include Art Souterrain, Festival Montréal (2021); Touching Feeling, Hua International, Beijing (2020); Crossroad 3p x 2p, Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes, France (2019); Cosmorama, Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes (2018); and 327 pas de l'une à l'autre, in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes and Toussaints and Saint-Germain churches, Rennes (2017).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021