The Dot Project is pleased to present ‘Decorations near the House’, a solo exhibition featuring the practice of Antoine Espinasseau – a debut presentation of works in London.
For the French artist and qualified architect, nature takes a visionary role. His conceptual works, focus not only on the visual representation of the gardens, but also on how ideas about nature - social and spiritual - can be communicated with clarity, and how gardens themselves might act as a material or medium.
The exhibition’s title takes inspiration from celebrated late 18th century ‘Essays on the Picturesque’ (1794-1801), by British landscape designer Sir Uvedale Price. Revisiting past studies around the outdoors, Espinasseau reviews man’s distinction between the expectations, the reality and the pictorial representation.
Pivoted on themes of “what may properly be called the Garden [...]’’, the show combines large- scale photographs and a sculptural installation, along with a series of watercolours featuring downstairs. Viewed as a whole, the exhibition reveals the ways in which we project ourselves into the landscape, the aim is for viewers to see the garden as a place for aesthetics, exploration and a deeper intellectual and artistic engagement.
The viewer’s spatial perception plays the leading role in the three photographic diptychs, Miroirs (Mirrors), presenting pictures of natural exteriors of three European capitals (Rome, London, Paris), however not the typical appearance one would expect from these places. Contained within nontraditional frames, which Espinasseau considers a medium in themselves, he alters the relationship between viewer and work, examining the boundaries between indoors and out.
The photographs surround Jardin (2016), a large sculptural installation in the center of the gallery, assembled of coloured plaster, is Espinasseau’s three-dimensional response to the landscape and stimulus around it. The artist is playing on certain sculptural qualities found in nature in order to articulate a series of metaphorical transferences revolving around the garden and his experience of its physical space. The scale and composition of the piece not only allows visitors to experience Jardin as an aesthetic object, but also provokes and engages the viewer in a process of spacial experience.
Besides the photos and free-standing structural form, the show features 30 watercolors, the product of the artist’s first foray into the medium. Espinasseau’s delicate watercolor paintings, Voeux (Wishes), are details of the artist’s idea of natural ‘decorations’.
Within his previous shows at Almanac 14 at Le Consortium (Dijon) and L’Archipel at CRAC (Languedoc-Roussillon, (Sète), Espinasseau brought sensations and ideas associated with the garden into the architecture of the museum, an approach he is similarly bringing to The Dot Project.