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Élodie Seguin at La BF15, Lyon

by Guillaume Lasserre

On the walls of La BF15, Élodie Seguin’s work appears like a trail of light following the beam of an external ray. Transparence sans transparence – both painting and sculpture – extends the artist’s reflections on a pictorial act that would consist in rendering an account of the visual phenomenon evoked in its title. To achieve this, and following the model of marquetry, she uses interlocking tints to give the perfect illusion of superimposed colours. This meticulous work, which involves manipulating the tones she creates to reproduce the play of light and shadow, reflects the artist’s ability to capture immaterial manifestations.

Following in the footsteps of a minimalist tradition, Élodie Seguin sets out to capture what is absent; what has been removed, what has been chosen not to be included, the hesitations, location and position – all the incidentals that actually make up the work. Inhabited by the idea of subtraction, she makes palpable the hollows and voids that become constitutive elements of her practice. It is to this extent that the space in which she works plays an essential role in the development of her pieces. 

Elodie Seguin, Transparence sans transparence, 2024 (détail), carton-bois, encres. Photo La BF15

At first glance, it seems impossible to define the contours of Élodie Seguin’s works. They are an integral part of the space in which they are created, and the space in turn is shaped by them. For a number of years, the artist had made it clear that none of her works would be shown outside their original destination. This deliberate indistinction takes on a new meaning in La Transparence sans transparence, designed specifically for the ‘Shaped Colors’ exhibition. This solar installation draws the light reflections that fall on the wall at a particular time of day, demonstrating the permeability of the pieces to their context. 

If, in this first room, we have the feeling of facing a work in constant reformulation, ready to move according to the time of day, the series, Les Contraintes, responds to this same protocol. These thermoformed wall sculptures echo the glass roof of the second room in which they are housed, once again making the relationship between his work and the place in which it is set porous. The painted forms, which take their place in the specially-designed compartments, leave an impression of floating that is nonetheless perfectly controlled. Élodie Seguin’s work is not entirely random, and she goes so far as to tame the void. These bas-reliefs suggest a principle of potentiality dear to the artist, suggesting that each composition could have been different. Once again, we see the idea that the choices she makes are akin to the non-physical components of the work. Through this industrial gesture, she introduces an ornamental dimension to these pieces that are distinguished only by their colour notes. The thermoformed film that embraces the blocks of wood represents for her an intaglio drawing that we find again in Peintures découpées.

Elodie Seguin, Dentelle série des Peintures découpées, 2023, encres, papier, plexiglass, 51.5 x 1 x 3.5 cm. Photo La BF15.

The jagged surface, which seems to mimic the veins of the Jacquard loom, is for the artist a repertoire of forms that appear to us in negative. A range of colours is revealed to us through a layer of hollowed-out paper. Born of the idea that we often gain access to a landscape by superimposing elements that evade parts of the image, this work highlights a visual phenomenon whereby things always reveal themselves to us through others. The distance created by the separation of form and colour adds relief to the piece, and gives it a sculptural dimension. It also refers to a colour chart to which the artist is currently devoting some of her thoughts. For her, this tool is a way of archiving the process of composing colours that have become irreplaceable.

This stubborn insistence on freezing the stages of production meets an additional need for the artist to “alert us”, as she puts it, to the fact that it’s what we don’t see that counts. The construction, the ellipse, the gap, the lack are all immaterial elements that lead to a form. In this exhibition, she chooses – as she often does – to conceal pieces in office spaces, or to position them in such a way as to render them almost invisible. Her attachment to the ‘absent thing’ only grows as her research progresses, focusing in turn on achieving pictorial transparency without covering, or on the thermoforming technique to create aerial plastic forms.

What is not directly present and yet perceptible could be a tenuous link to music. Through the structure of his compositions, the serial dimension of his practice and the rhythmic nature of what could be likened to wall scores, the musical content of his work seems to be emerging in the Shaped Colors exhibition. The unnoticed in Élodie Seguin’s paintings and sculptures is always an integral part of her writing. 

Elodie Seguin, Transparence sans transparence, 2024 (détail), carton-bois, encres. Photo La BF15

Head image : Elodie Seguin, Contrainte I, 8 x 144 x 143 cm ; Contrainte A, 8 x 143 x 48 cm. Photo La BF15.

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