Guilhem Roubichou and Marina Vandra met during an Archipel residency, one discovering the resources and landscapes of a mining area, the other the colours and atmospheres of the coast. Their joint exhibition at Frac Grand Large shows the meeting of a variety of practices that modify concrete spatial data.
Trained in engraving and scenography, Marina Vandra practised printmaking for quite some time before launching into large-format acrylic paintings on paper. The stylised compositions created during her residency tweaked the aesthetics of tapestry by bringing into play the architecture and history of buildings. In Boulogne-sur-Mer, inspiration from the old library found her cutting up her drawings as well as resorting to marbled motifs – the kind found in old books – and an orange-toned palette. In Calais, her exhibition used the azure tints of the coastline with shapes suggestive of both the lightness of clouds and military camouflage.
The group of paintings for Dunkirk represented her first foray into painting on stretched canvas. Her composition interweaves superimposed or juxtaposed windows, favouring breaks in the planes. Vandra if emphasises the effect of series and variations, and the tension between content and form. Thus the book and seascape motifs of her interiors telescope into new abstract landscapes that are fragmentary and open-ended.
After studying at art school and then founding an artists’ collective in Brussels, Guilhem Roubichou decided on a return to the rural context of his native Ariège region in south-western France. His studio serves as a storehouse for raw materials gleaned from the surrounding area. Remnants of steel, tyres and plastic bear witness to urban de-industrialisation and the transformation of agricultural landscapes. Transferred into the gallery, the privacy screens intended as protection from prying eyes, highlight their wear and tear. Scrap metal and corrosion rub shoulders with living forms. During his residency in the mining region, the artist focused on the way monumental engravings combine the abrupt gesture of projecting acid with the fine honing of the figures.
In Dunkirk Roubichou has brought together other works, fragile assemblages that underline the artistic gesture while at the same time reminding us of the anthropic processes that are transforming our environment. While remaining attached to the pictorial, the artist has also focused on undervalued senses such as smell, boldly mingling the odours of jerrycan and beach.
17.09.2022 — 31.12.2022