For a fix of conceptual art, visit Centre d’Édition Contemporaine (CEC), located near Cimetière des Rois (Geneva’s oldest cemetery and final resting place of writer Jorge Luis Borges). CEC specializes in the concurrent production of publications and exhibitions. Chromozone, currently on view until 29 November 2014, is a solo exhibition by up-and-coming Genevois artist, Raphaël Julliard.
Julliard draws inspiration from a wide breadth of scientific phenomena and an ongoing conversation with Richard Tuttle, a major figure in the American postminimalist movement. Postminimalism uses minimalism as a referential point of departure, then continues beyond the basic principles of simplicity, function and literality, often incorporating a spontaneous or human element.
Chromozone comprises 3 bodies of work: Steal Leben is a series of 5 abstract wire sculptures, dangling throughout the space. “I play with materiality”, says Julliard, “How you put things together is more interesting for me than the material itself. And as the materials play in space, the space is included in the work”.
The wire forms are energetic and sketch-like, embodying echoes of conversation. “My work is an investigation through matter”, the artist says, “It’s a hybrid — it’s Tuttle’s vocabulary with my grammar. As I’m making work, I’m finding something that is also stated in his work”.
In 2012 Julliard wrote a dissertation about Tuttle’s practice and subsequently, the two met during an exhibition of Tuttle’s work at Kunstverein München. Moments before their meeting at Munich Airport, Julliard snapped 55 photographs as a record of his palpable anticipation. These photographs and an interview with Tuttle are printed in an 88-page artist book titled RREPTILES.
Chiroencephalogram is a frenetic colored pencil drawing on a 25-meter-long scroll of torn paper. The drawing mimics electroencephalographic (EEG) output, or a depiction of the brain’s spontaneous electrical activity. The drawing is handmade (in postminimalist fashion), so the artist has replaced the prefix ‘electro’ with ‘chiro’, which means ‘hand’ in Ancient Greek.
Julliard’s playful sensibility is indicated by his penchant for wordplay. He incorporates puns into his titles, revealing layers of enquiry. For instance, ‘stillleben’ means ‘still life’ in German, while Steal Leben refers to Julliard’s thematic appropriation of Tuttle’s work.
For aspiring collectors, it would be worthwhile to pick up the list of available editions from CEC. Several limited edition prints, posters and artist books, including Julliard’s RREPTILES, are affordable and available for purchase.