press release

This year’s event will bring together Melanie Counsell (Great Britain), Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain (Brazil), Patrice Gaillard & Claude (France), Knut Henrik Henriksen (Norway), Laurent Tixador & Abraham Poincheval (France), and Michael Wilkinson (Scotland). These artists will take up residence in the Frac studios at Carquefou for the months of September and October 2006. As a pioneer in this field, the Pays de la Loire Regional Contemporary Art Collection introduced the International Workshops in 1984, at Fontevraud Abbey. Through this exceptional experiment--and experience--in France, the Pays de la Loire Regional Contemporary Art Collection has been, and is, developing a support programme for creative work which is helping to enrich its collection in an original way.

As a place for research, exchange and production, these Workshops are like a laboratory that is both active and reactive. The invited artists offer the public a filtered reproduction of this energy-rich period in the form of a work and its extension in the exhibition, devised as a dynamic encounter.

The Frac’s 20th International Workshops will end with an exhibition of the works thus produced by the invited artists, which will open on 8 November 2006 and close on 14 January 2007.

Melanie Counsell Born in 1966 in Great Britain, lives in London Through her works, Melanie Counsell challenges contemporary sculpture. Her minimalist installations disturb space, alter its volumes, and produce unexpected interactions between the work, its environment, and the viewer. Melanie Counsell grapples with the configurations and features of a place, situation, or object. She analyses its space, light, and sound, as well as the activities past and present associated with it; and she takes an interest in the remembering and forgetting that are inherent to these activities. Based on this multiple identity of a context, she devises works which often take on the form of in situ interventions, and in some cases films.

Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain Born in Brazil, in 1974 and 1973 respectively, they work in Paris and Sao Paulo. Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain are artists and designers who have been working together since 1996, using different media such as installation, video, sound and graphics. They quickly made a name for themselves within the international art scene by developing a body of work that is analytical, precise, and extremely unusual. As designers, they have invented a vocabulary based on the modernist styles of architecture to be found in Sao Paulo and its spontaneous constructions, which crop up here, there and everywhere both in urban centres and in favelas.

By making a graphic rearrangement of informational signs, usually via the coding of the video image and the digital tool, these two artists question both representation and language.

Patrice Gaillard et Claude Born in 1974 and 1975 respectively, they live and work in Nantes. As a twosome, Patrice Gaillard and Claude work out pictorial and sculptural forms. Their recent works can be seen as mixed objects, sculptures and media involving representation and communication.

Their praxis develops with the pitch of a conversation, proposing very personal materializations and snapshots of the economic world.

Within extremely precise and ultra-stylized formal solutions, Patrice Gaillard and Claude compile fields of reference, ambiences and techniques, and manufacture complete compositions where values, scales, categories and extensions can be grasped at a level of equivalence as components of the aesthetic event.

Knut Henrik Henriksen Born in 1970 in Oslo, Knut Henrik Henriksen today lives in Berlin. His work questions and organizes relations between sculpture, graphics and architecture. He creates sculptures which underline the flaws and faults and «architectural doubts» of exhibition venues, in order to give them a different reading, and a new interpretation. Knut Henrik Henriksen’s sculptures have a high conceptual quality about them, illustrating an active understanding of present-day architectural languages, as much in their formal dimension as in their symbolic and psychological dimension.

Laurent Tixador & Abraham Pointcheval Laurent Tixador was born in 1965 in Colmar, and today lives in Nantes. Abraham Pointcheval was born in 1972 in Alençon and lives in Marseilles.

The work of Laurent Tixador & Abraham Pointcheval can be likened to an adventure, which is to say to the act of discovery in the realization of an «extra-ordinary» act: «...what motivates us is discovery, and above all never re-doing the same experiments or re-living the same experiences. We spent a week on the island of Frioul, opposite Marseilles, like prehistoric people living off figs and mussels. We walked from Nantes to Metz, with a compass, in a straight line, between October and December. Laurent was the first artist to plant a flag at the North Pole. [...] We are forever thinking about imagining itineraries and situations which we have never been involved in. In so doing we want to immerse ourselves in unknown surroundings which give rise to reflections, approaches and behaviour patterns which we would never otherwise have had.»

Michael Wilkinson Born in 1965. Lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Michael Wilkinson makes ambiguous objects which lie somewhere between pictures and installations and, by way of interplays of mirrors, transparencies and illusions, challenge the onlooker, and call into question the social and psychological space of the exhibition. Like many artists in his generation, he is interested in musical culture and underground artistic expressions. In recent years, cult labels have made frequent appearances in his work. He has created and documented his own disk collection, painting spare, abstract covers, devoid of any text. He has paid tribute to the Pink Floyd group and their album «The Wall», their masterpiece of depression. Hole in Wall (Pink Floyd) is a cardboard box on which bricks are drawn. One of them is missing and the hole thus made in the wall is a piece of mirror which allows curious visitors to see nothing other than their own image, implying that on the other side of the wall there is nothing that they are not already acquainted with. His recent works pursue a conceptual strategy that appropriates and questions popular culture: large posters from the 1970s, depicting chimpanzees dressed as human beings, hold out a cruel and weird mirror to the viewer, and define an artistic gesture that is at once lighthearted and extremely caustic.

All that is solid melts into air
20th INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOPS of the Pays de la Loire
Regional Contemporary Art Collection

mit Melanie Counsell, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, Patrice & Claude Gaillard, Knut Henrik Henriksen, Laurent Tixador & Abraham Poincheval, Michael Wilkinson