Every Claire Tabouret show is like the new chapter of a story set to paint. Los Angeles – that city between mountains, desert and ocean, where she has lived for several years – has become her elsewhere.
Imagining she had to cross the seven seas to reach Nantes, Claire Tabouret went to the port of San Pedro along the Californian coast to find the cloth used for sails, which became the medium for her painting. Cut, stretched and re-stitched, the surface of these gigantic new canvases has become home to different human figures.
Suspended throughout the gallery, these sails are left to dance freely to the drafts or slight winds caused by passing visitors. Stained and made threadbare by their various journeys, they are almost tanned like leather. Beige, raw and yellowish, they like skins tattooed by the artist’s collages and paintings.
The figures – both feminine and masculine – walk towards the horizon, turn their backs, hold hands, kiss, embrace one another… Since there is no background scenery, these bodies float in a nameless world.
Sometimes, out of these large, frameless canvases, these silhouettes take on three dimensions and become painted plaster sculptures. By contrast with the faded tones of the painted sails, these same characters appear in the acidic colours of the monotype hanging on the wall. These prints feature a dynamic composition of superimposed patterns – of bodies that come to life, writhe and struggle. Inspired by If Only the Sea Could Sleep: Love Poems – a collection of Syrian poems by the poet Adonis to whom she pays homage – Claire Tabouret uses the constant movement of the sea as a metaphor to translate the emotional ebb and flow of a romantic encounter.
With this in mind, she invited musicians Aska Mitsumiya and Alex Somers to create an original sound composition evoking the slow calm of the ocean – but one that occasionally transforms into a massive wave that comes crashing down and floods the entire space.
This exhibition is a dizzying, visual poem that could well turn into a brand-new love song!
CLAIRE TABOURET WAS BORN IN PERTUIS, FRANCE IN 1981. SHE LIVES AND WORKS IN LOS ANGELES. She is represented by Galerie Almine Rech and Galerie Perrotin.