Elvire Bonduelle

Paris, France

December 2014

Artist Statement

"Elvire Bonduelle thinks that art should be pretty and light but never frivolous. On the contrary, her work exudes authority. After graduating from fine arts school in 2005 she decided to dedicate her life to a serious quest for happiness, optimism totally in contrast to the cliché of the wretched artiste maudit. She likes to talk about “self-sculpture.” This is the source of a studied fresh- ness that could not exist without a consciousness of the difficulty of existence. The seriousness and joy go together. It’s tempting to see Bonduelle in an art historical light. Her objects sometimes bring to mind Minimalism, as with Wood is Good (2012), a hinged wooden armchair that can be unfolded and laid out flat. Among the artists she admires most are Donald Judd, obviously, Sol LeWitt, and Bruce Nauman, whose videos fascinate her because of the way they are built around paradoxes. But at the same time her work displays a fond- ness for ornamentation, and she readily cites the writings of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. We’re also re- minded of the mischievous humor of François Morellet, Taroop & Glabel’s collections of absurd images and the unreal constructions of Andrea Zittel. Bonduelle’s practice is not categorically correct. She works by intuition. Tiptoeing through art history, she plucks out its contradictions. 


Bonduelle loves words. She writes light- hearted, catchy songs whose lyrics express “the spirit of my work.” She has long read Le Monde religiously, “as if saying my prayers.” Because there was too much violence in this newspaper, she conceived a special edition called Le meilleur Monde (The Better World), assembled by cutting out nothing but good news for three months to produce a kind of answer to Aldous Huxley’s terrifying Brave New World. The Spanish newspaper El Pais invited her to do the same. By chance the Indignados movement broke out in Madrid just at that moment. She distributed her newspaper full of good news in the streets during a few performances. In front of the Roman amphitheater in Arles she gave passers-by umbrellas made of survival blankets, little portable modules of happiness for protection from the rain and sun. Bonduelle had invented them for the exhibition To the Moon via the Beach organized by Philippe Parreno and Liam Gillick (see art press 395). She called them Individual Lunar Excursion Modules, named after the landing vehicles astronauts used to descend from their rockets and explore the moon’s surface. Bonduelle has participated in many collective exhibitions run by artists and at times likes to play the curator to enjoy the shared artistic connivance. Now she has decided to take up oil pan- ting. She started out by having stretchers made in the shapes of arcs, to which she in- tends to put the finishing touches. Hanging on a wall in her studio is a small altarpiece she’s just made of scraps of wood. What interests her about such things is the question of the sacred, not a religious sacredness but a way to get even closer to objects. She says that this is a way to bring together art and the functional―i.e., life. "

Anaël Pigeat, Introducing Elvire Bonduelle, Art press N°397, February 2013, Translation, L-S Torgoff 

Artist Links

Website: www.elvirebonduelle.com

Instagram: instagram/elvirebonduelle/

Faacebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElvireBonduellePage/