15/10 – 19/11 2022
Participating artists: Jean Claracq, Clément Courgeon, Joséphine Ducat-May, Nathanaëlle Herbelin, Johan Larnouhet, Maëlle Ledauphin, Pierre Seiter, Raphael Sitbon, Thomas Cap de Ville and Miranda Webster.
Mendes Wood DM Brussels is proud to present Il faudrait que je me calme, a group show curated by artists Nathanaëlle Herbelin and Jean Claracq.
With works ranging from painting – still life and portraiture – to photography, print, sculpture and performance, Il faudrait que je me calme places notions of collectivity and collaboration at the forefront of this exhibition. Herbelin and Claracq have selected eight young artists, formed in France and part of the same social and artistic circles that they move in, to share the exhibition space with them.
Reacting against a gallery system that can sometimes appear as tight-lipped, non-collegial and market-oriented, and prone to often favoring a handful of in-demand artists over others, Herbelin and Claracq want to open the floor to multiple voices – to young artists, at the start of their careers. “Artists know other artists better than anyone,” says Herbelin, “and that places us in the best position to be curators of a show like this. Artists are so generous with one another, and that’s so important.”
The title of the exhibition, which translates to “I should calm down”, loosely touches upon a number of ideas that Herbelin and Claracq were following while selecting the artists and artworks. “We came up with this title because many of these artists are in a way resisting the art world rhythm, which is inspiring to us. At the same time many of the works, the still-life and landscapes, for example, have meditative, contemplative qualities to them. We also wanted to somehow acknowledge the current global condition, which these artists seem to be completely outside of, which is rare,” Herbelin explains. “The title is like a sentence you might say to yourself when you are in a rush,” Claracq adds, “I feel that there is a multitude of artists reacting in different ways to this world, but always caring and meaningful – it’s a different perspective on anger.”
Jean Claracq (b. 1991, France) lives and works in Paris, France.
Jean Claracq’s works address pervasive notions of loneliness and alienation in the digital era, often among young or adolescent figures, set against cold and rigid architectural backdrops. Meticulously painted in oil on wood, his works are an uncanny confluence of found images that imbue the silent and impersonal world of the artist’s making with an intensely personal commentary on the world we live in.
Claracq’s recent solo exhibitions include Jean Claracq, FIAC Hors les Murs, Musée Delacroix, Paris (2021); Jean Claracq, Galerie Sultana, Paris (2021); and Open Space #7 Jean Claracq, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2020).
Selected group exhibitions include the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale (2022); Boys Don’t Cry, Le Houloc, Aubervilliers (2020); J’aime, je n’aime pas, Galerie EIGEN + ART, Leipzig (2020); Collection Agnès B, La Fondation Agnès B, Paris (2020); Umbilicus, Galerie Sultana, Paris (2019); Les fleurs de l’été sont les rêves de l’hiver racontés le matin à la table des anges, Praz-Delavallade, Paris (2019); Futures of Love, Magasins Généraux, Pantin (2019); Mais pas du tout, c’est platement figuratif! Toi tu es spirituelle mon amour!, Jousse Entreprise, Paris (2019); Artagon IV, Heading East, Magasins Généraux, Pantin (2018); Felicità 18, Ecole Nationale Supérieur des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Paris (2018); 100% Beaux-Arts, Grande Halle de La Villette, Paris (2018).
In 2017 he received his MFA from École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris. In 2018, he won the 2éme prix Antoine Marin and the Prix de Peinture Roger Bataille. In 2021, he was shortlisted for the Prix Jean-François Prat.
Clément Courgeon (b. 1997, France) lives and works in Paris, France.
Clément Courgeon’s artistic practice weaves intricate narratives inspired by his research into Western folklore and rituals associated with carnival. “My work is a burrow, a shrine of absurdity. It revolves around the encounter of multiple mediums: photography, performance, painting, costume making and props. They come together to form an envelope that triggers my performance”, Courgeon writes about his practice. Courgeon, a graduate of the Beaux-Arts de Paris, will stage a performance at the gallery titled Luc Baylette Colporteur et Collecteur, previously performed at the Fondation Pernod Ricard in 2021.
“The peddler carries objects and stories. Speaking loudly, the eruption and noise are made possible thanks to his costume: It gives him the ability to express himself in front of an audience. Protects him, exaggerates and amplifies his speech. The costume is inspired by the traditions of some European carnivals. It triggers and exaggerates speech, with a burlesque aspect which arouses a form of curiosity, preceding any verbal act.”
Recent solo shows include ba c’çabot du goliard, Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes (2021); who pee on my boots, Beaux-Arts de Paris, Paris (2020); Qu’est ce qui s’est echappé de la clôture de mes dents, Espace Elzevir, Paris (2019); The show must go on, must go on, Beaux- Arts de Paris, Paris (2019). Recent group shows include 72ème Festival Jeune Creation, Fondation Fiminco, Romainville (2022); Luc Balayette, Colporteur et Collecteur, L’Avancéee, Fondation Pernod Ricard, Paris (2021). Courgeon will be participating in The ring beyond the mat, a group exhibition about wrestling in three chapters, at the Riksidrottsmuseet, Stockholm (October 2022 – January 2023).
Courgeon has been recently awarded the Prix Villa Noiailles (2022); Prix Artexprim (2022); Prix de la Cabane Georgia (2022); Félicitation du Jury DNASP Beaux-Arts de Paris (2021).
Joséphine Ducat-May (b. 1993, France) lives and works in Achères-la-Forêt, France.
A graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Ducat-May studied sculpture in the atelier of the painter Jean-Michel Alberola, and was deeply influenced not only by his practice but also by the antiquities and archaeology collections held at the nearby Louvre, which opened up to her a world of Roman and Greek ceramics, as well as ancient ex-voto artworks, in which painting and sculpture coalesce into new languages and aesthetic results. This exposure has informed the way in which she works, blending sculpture and crafts with painterly techniques.
Recent group shows include Amies, Muses, Artistes, Tajan Gallery, Paris (2020); Seuls Ensemble, H Gallery, Paris (2016); Le noir & blanc en couleurs, Lizières (2015).
Ducat-May has been recently awarded the Prix de Sculpture, Fondation Joseph Epstein, ENSBA (2020); Bourse Diamond, ENSBA (2019); Prix d’encouragement de sculpture, Académie des Beaux-Arts (2015).
Nathanaëlle Herbelin (b. 1989, Israel) lives and works in Paris, France.
In her research, which is entirely composed of paintings of her surroundings, Nathanaëlle Herbelin creates bridges between the intimate and the political, between the personal and the universal: each painting is the result of an event or a relationship experienced and testifies to the different contexts apprehended. Franco-Israeli and based in Paris since 2011, she continues to travel regularly to paint in her native country.
Herbelin graduated in 2016 from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (ENSBA) with a master’s degree, and was invited in 2015 to attend the Cooper Union (New York, USA).
The artist has had solo exhibitions in France (Jousse Entreprise, Hôtel de Guise, Dilecta, Yishu 8 in 2021), at the Palestinian Art Center in Umm Al Fahem, in China (2020), in the United States (2019) and in Belgium (2018).
Her work has also been presented at Fondation Pernod Ricard, Paris (2017 and 2022); Bétonsalon, Paris (2019); at the Collection Lambert, Avignon (2017), among others. Herbelin’s paintings are included in several public collections, including Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes; Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix; CNAP; FRAC Champagne-Ardenne; Pinault Collection; SMAK; Lafayette Anticipations.
Johan Larnouhet (b. 1988, France) lives and works in Paris, France.
Johan Larnouhet applies a contemporary lens to traditional portrait and landscape painting genres since graduating from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2013, while combining both imaginary and historical images to create his compositions. For Il faudrait que je me calme, Larnouhet will present a large-scale landscape work combining an archetypal contemporary urban backdrop, a personal photograph of a friend, and images of plants and vegetation inspired by medieval tapestries and primitive painting. His intimate sized portraits delve into the psychology of the sitters, often the artist’s close friends, as they gaze away from the viewer.
He has held a solo exhibition titled Là où je peux être somnambule at Galerie Iconoscope, Montpellier (2018), on invitation from Michaël Roy and Sylvie Giraud. Larnouhet’s group shows include Where I Gaze, Mathilde le Coz x Dans les yeux d’Elsa, Paris (2022); Fresco, Kumo, Ivry-sur-Seine (2022); Lost in between, Galerie Alexandra de Viveiros, Paris (2016); Vendanges Tardives, CAC, Meymac (2017).
In 2017 he participated at artist residencies in Chamalot, France as well as in Bielefeld, Germany. He was shortlisted for the Takifuji Award (2013); the Keskar Prize (2014), and the Prix Marin (2017). His work was acquired by the FRAC Limousin in 2019.
Maëlle Ledauphin (b. 1999, France) lives and works in Le Mans, France.
Maëlle Ledauphin is currently studying Fine Arts in Le Mans after having completed a course at the Beaux-Arts de Marseille – INSEAMM. Il faudrait que je me calme is the artist’s first group show. Ledauphin’s work is rooted in drawing but includes monotypes and oil on wood. A mix of traditional and experimental techniques, her works draws inspiration from imagery pertaining to science, anatomy, archeology and history, such as Four exit strategies (2022), Four delicate monotypes about birth-giving inspired by the accounts of a 17th-century midwife (2022), or Calculis (2022), an oil pastel drawing inspired by the artist’s recent discovery of a Mesopotamian archeological artefact called calculi, considered to be the first ever envelope system with a primitive system of content verification .
Pierre Seiter (b. 1992, France) lives and work in Paris.
Pierre Seiter studied at the École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne, in Rennes, before graduating from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, in 2017. With photography (often conceptual in nature) as his medium, Seiter’s work addresses the nature of image-making and the potential for autonomy of images outside of the physical world they were taken in. For Il faudrait que je me calme, Seiter will present three photographs produced in 2020.
Note (2020) is an unfolded piece of paper that comes from a portrait of a cardinal by El Greco. “I still can’t figure out what surprised me the most when I discovered this detail. A pontifical/papal note lying on the ground. Although this note is no longer readable and signed from any authority’s hand, I chose to keep its subtle curved shape which gives it a significant weight. The grain of the photograph combines fragility and a glued aspect to this image”, says Seiter.
Le Bouffon and Le masque vert (2020) are characters drawn from the working process in the studio. “I was working on a self-portrait as a homeless mendicant and, as I went along, I had the impression that I was meeting this figure for the first time every time I turned on the studio light. This led me to question the materiality of light. Which figure is the most incarnate, the one with the body or simply the mask as it fills up with light?”, questions Seiter.
Seiter’s solo exhibitions include Double single, PhotoSaintGermain, Galerie du Crous, Paris (2018) and Home run, Beaux-Arts de Paris, Paris (2017). Recent group shows include Deux scénarios pour une Collection, Frac Normandie, Rouen (2021); Coup de projecteur, PhotoSaintGermain, Beaux-Arts de Paris, Paris (2019); Felicita 18, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2018); Portrait impossible, IMMIX Galerie, Paris (2017).
In 2018 Pierre Seiter won the Photography Prize for his participation in Felicita 18. In 2019 his work was acquired by the FRAC Normandie.
Raphael Sitbon (b.1991, France) lives and works in Montreuil, France.
Raphael Sitbon, who graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2016, has a wide-ranging practice that encompasses mediums such as color crayons, carpentry, waxwork, tapestry, ceramic, and glassblowing. The works chosen for Il faudrait que je me calme were produced for his first solo exhibition at the Conservatoire d’art plastique de Pantin (2022) after being awarded the Jeune Creation prize in 2020. These large-scale sculptures, representing common household objects, are made from wood, metal, and resin. “But only a shadow of these household objects remains,” Sitbon says. “What follows is a succession of forms and languages that expand the object until it loses its name and function, before turning into sculpture.”
Sitbon’s solo exhibitions include Festina Lente, Conservatoire d’art plastique de Pantin, Pantin (2022). Recent groups shows include Le métier de vivre, Théâtre des expositions, ENSBA, Paris (2022); There will be light, Poush Manifesto, Paris (2021); Flat at Commissariat: Laure Flammarion, Espace Voltaire Paris, Paris (2021); 69ème édition Jeune Création, Fondation Faminco, Romainville (2020); Aux sources des années 80, MASC musée Saintes-Croix, Sables d’Olonnes (2019).
Sitbon has been awarded with the Prix du Pavillion Pantin Jeune Création (2019).
Thomas Cap de Ville (b. 1978, France) lives and works in Paris, France.
Thomas Cap de Ville is a child of the eighties and the nineties. His work draws from inner worlds and collects objects along with obsessions to pay tribute to adolescence and counterculture like a personal testament to this time. Cap de Ville started out in fashion and created videos in collaboration with musicians before taking part in collective projects, including at the Fondation Cartier (Paris, 2011). He inaugurated his first solo show titled PAGE OF PENTACLES at Goswell Road Gallery (Paris) in 2017 where he returned in 2019 for a second solo presentation titled FAREWELL YOUTH, an archive 1996-2019. In 2020 he was invited in residence at Confort Moderne (Poitiers) where he presented his first institutional exhibition curated by Yann Chevalier.
For Il faudrait que je me calme, Cap de Ville will present two books that were produced between 2020 and 2022.
WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU is a book gathering 44 testimonies from people who Cap de Ville describes as “very close and dear to me. They are my roots, like the one on the cover. They have accepted to share pictures and captions of themselves as kids and teenagers. It’s my homage to thank them”, says the artist.
5 TIMES CLOSE TO DROWNING BEFORE I WAS 12 YEARS OLD is a handmade book where the artist recalls the 5 times he almost drowned as a child. Cap de Ville says: “I took pleasure in drawing decorations all around the texts. The tape makes the book look wet”.
Cap de Ville’s solo exhibitions Interlope, MK Gallery, Zagreb (2022); Splut, Exo Exo, Paris (2021); Psychophore, Confort Moderne, Poitiers (2020); FAREWELL YOUTH, an archive 1996-2019, Goswell Road, Paris (2019); PAGE OF PENTACLES, Goswell Road, Paris (2017). Recent group exhibitions include Charybis into Scylla, House of Spouse, Vienna (2022) and Piégé.e.s inextricablement dans la formulation d’une émotion, Galerie Hussenot, Paris (2020).
Miranda Webster (b. 1991, New Zealand) lives and works in London, UK.
Miranda Webster, who studied literature at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (2013), and painting at the École Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (2021), paints from observation, spending a long time looking and accumulating detail in an attempt to capture a physicality in her subjects. She is currently working on creating still-life works as parallel bodies, through which she can explore physical sensation and the extension of empathy towards the non-human.
Meniscus (2020) is Webster’s first painting after a physical sensation. “I have always been interested in the body and how we observe it, but in making Meniscus, I was grappling with the felt experience of the body and how I might represent or even evoke physical sensation in a painting. It is a moment of contact, flesh with glass, fingertip with water”, says the artist.
Bandage (2020) was produced at the same time as Meniscus (2020), while exploring ideas of physicality and sensation. “To me, the flowers take on a sort of corporeality, drooped over the ledge like a hand. They are sinuous and tired and brittle. The bandage wrapped around their stems transforms them into a body, both as analogy for a human body, but also as a non-human body deserving of care in its own right”, says Webster.
The artist has participated in Aura Par Procuration, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2021); Le Rayon vert – furtif et elliptique, Résidence Privée, Saint Ouen (2020); Qu’est-ce que ça ne veut pas dire? (2019), IESA Gallery, Paris; Ailleurs, Glassbox, Paris (2019).