Dr Paula Lull
"Every painting and every poem has its edges; the question is where they are placed"
In Shifting Spaces, Marilou Chagnaud explores the spatial possibilities of Truchet tilings and goes a step further in her research on pattern variations. Just as Truchet proved with a simple design, organic and natural structures epitomise the premise of "minimum inventory maximum diversity", a concept that, subsequently, has been applied to the study of structures in engineering and architecture. In art, Minimalism is the best example of this premise.
However, Marilou's minimal approach to art doesn't compromise a certain sense of theatricality. On one hand, a feeling of centerlessness and infinitude invades us when we look at the wall paintings, as if the pattern could expand forever. On the other hand, the artist intervenes in the silkscreens beyond the edges of a square. It is precisely there, in the edges, where the action takes place in the way of visually "folding and unfolding".
In addition to Minimalism, Japanese aesthetics is also an important influence in Marilou's work. We can infer this from the paper screens of her previous installations. Nevertheless, in the present exhibition the paper of the screen disappears in favour of the frame that used to hold it. Here, the wooden frame is the translation of the square pattern in the prints, and it is the pivotal element that creates a relationship between the artwork and the environment. This frame doesn't hold a folded paper nor block the view. Where she got us used to the occultation in previous installations, now she provides a device that, at once, interferes on the wall painting and invites us to look through it. In other words, it is like a gate's frame that breaks the continuity of the wall pattern and, at the same time, guides our regard in the way Japanese architecture does. The only three-dimensional element in the exhibition acts as a necessary disruption that triggers a shift in the way we look at the painting on the wall.
The potentiality of the edges as the place where shifting happens, whether it be in the way of disruption, stating a limit or going beyond it, is an opportune metaphor to define Marilou's trajectory. In her work, the order of the printed patterns encounters the disruption of the three-dimensional elements; the sharpness of the printing technique encounters the warmth of the wood. And she achieves it with very few elements, in the way of nature itself.
1. In 1704, Sebastien Truchet invented a method of generating infinite possibilities of combining a simple tile design divided diagonally in two different colours.