Art autrement


Xavier Theunis, Installation murale (store californien), 2016. Courtesy Galerie Catherine Issert © François Fernandez

Young talents

  • Recent revelations


They are reinventing contemporary art through original techniques and concepts. Spotlight on talented youngsters driving the creative dynamics of Nice and its region.

Amandine Guruceaga
The transparency of leather
This graduate of Marseille's School of Fine Arts was chosen to participate in the prestigious LVMH Métiers d’Art residence in 2017, affording her an unprecedented opportunity to immerse herself in the microcosm that is the Riba-Guixa tannery near Barcelona. She presented the fruits of that research in an exhibition at Espace à Vendre in Nice. In the book Colour Sparks devoted to this work, Ingrid Luquet-Gad explains: "By challenging the binary alternative of art or artisanry, creation or technique, Amandine Guruceaga's shimmering-hued baroque skins – purple moiré, chlorophyll green... – open up a new reality. The longer you observe them the more they seem inhabited by a quasi-esoteric presence, the animal and plant realms reconciled in a vast synthesis."

Tom Giampieri
The age of chemical precipitates
A descendant of the Supports/Surfaces movement, this Villa Arson graduate works with one vital component of painting, colour, in order to push it to its limits. His work involves dyeing paper by means of chemical processes that escape his control, so making him a spectator of autonomous artworks from which images derive. His most recent research has created amazingly textured canvases born of the action of bacteria in red mud. Another feature of this modern-day alchemist's work is that rather than seeking to make colour permanent, on the contrary he anticipates its decline, meaning that it becomes a vanity bearing its own demise within it.

Alexandra Guillot
Submerged territories emerging
A resident artist at La Station in Nice, Alexandra Guillot takes us into a dark romanticism poised between dream and reality. Using installation, photography, drawing, sculpture and video, she tackles reality with poetry so as to bring out invisible territories. The margins of society, the night, ghosts and the wondrous are among the elements touched on by her work, expressing the necessity of bringing to light the alternative aspect of things. In a world made of photos, furniture and kitsch souvenirs that in a their miscellany form the growing medium of oneirism, the artist draws us into a hypnagogic state as when our subconscious is drifting from wakefulness into sleep.

Alice Guittard
Making stones speak in images
She hitch-hiked around Iceland with a sign saying "it doesn't matter" and she's one of the 12 Révélations Emerige 2017 finalists. Nice-born Alice Guittard is of those who prefer the fragility of byways to aiming for the summits, her artistic path determined by encounters. She was introduced to engraving by a young lapidary and this led her to explore the symbolic dimension of stones. She prints black-and-white photographs onto fragments of marble plaques, the photos fixing an image in time but also influenced by the irregularities inherent in the material. Visiting her world is like coming across an anthology of serious, sensitive micro-poems.

Xavier Theunis
Signing formalism in adhesive
Are we today condemned to approximations in order to attain the status of artwork, pretexting spontaneity, strength or caricature? Previously assistant to masters of rigour such as John Armleder and Pascal Pinaud, Xavier Theunis has conversely chosen the formalism of well-finished work, not without an offbeat humour. The Belgian artist, now living in Nice and represented by Catherine Issert's gallery, reinterprets objects and furnishings by playing with the clichés of upmarket domesticity. Sometimes he creates vases, sometimes studio views in varnished adhesive on thermo-lacquered aluminium. The spatial presentation of a piece is a vital component, questioning manufacturing processes and the meaning they might have.

Mathieu Schmitt
Collaborating with plants
His studies destined him for a career in IT or multimedia before his artistic soul drove him to Villa Arson, Nice's advanced national college of art. Inspired by theoretician Heinz von Foerster, Mathieu Schmitt is driven by the idea that digital systems leaving no space for error have had their day. So he uses technology as a manipulative means of leaving space for uncertainty. His work at the new A. Central studios in Le 109 includes connecting plants to a means of controlling their minute electrical changes, which are then interpreted and translated so the plants themselves appear to manage their lighting, recompose haiku poems from individual lines, and draw on a surface.