Raphaële de Broissia – Wild Herbarium

Raphaële de Broissia – Wild Herbarium

Born in 1985, Raphaële de Broissia studied textile design at the Françoise Conte School and Fine Arts at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she resided until 2016. She then moved to Hong Kong, from 2016 to 2020, and now lives near Annecy in France. Raphaële de Broissia is particularly inspired by the study of materials and colors, which she learned from the British sculptor Richard Deacon and the French painter Jean-Michel Alberola.

Her work is intimately linked to each of the places she invests and transforms with the support of everyday materials, accumulated, metamorphosed, renewed. She uses nails, balloons, newspapers, scotch tape, citrus peels, books, etc. and boldly applies them in unexpected places. Her approach is also inspired by the practices of haute couture that she learned during her studies and at Chanel, where she worked part-time for five years.

Since the early days in the Beaux-Arts, Raphaële de Broissia has experimented with installation – her end-of-study project was a tour at school that questioned the relationship between the building and the students, notably through the traces of their passage. After graduation, she continued in this path by putting her projects in unusual places, often with the group In Fieri (“in the making”) that she founded. In a castle cellar in 2013, in the cloister of a former convent in 2014, on the banks of an underground river in 2015. In each case, one simple rule: respect the identity of the place while transcending it with materials that are linked to it. Thus, her first Hong Kong installation, Nesting, is an impressive nest sculpture made from bamboo and nylon ribbons of local scaffolding which is exhibited in a building under renovation. Or Secret d’alcôve (secret of the alcove), in 2021, a large tapestry made of masking tapes fading into the Aubusson “greenery” of a ceremonial room in a castle in Haute-Savoie.

Installation is often the technique that inspires Raphaële de Broissia for her exhibitions. The gallery bears witness to her research outside the walls and allows her to stage the materials she has created. Her most singular technique, Paper Tapestry, based on latex balloons and masking tape, was first Raphaële de Broissia, The Coat, 2019, mixed media developed for the installation of a grotto in a staircase at the Beaux-Arts. This technique was later summoned into numerous works, most notably from 2017 in Hong Kong, due to its resemblance to dried fish in traditional stalls. This material was embodied in the geometric bas-reliefs of her series Sinuosités, in 2018, in the invasive vegetation of her Cheveux de Vénus, pinned up as if for a cabinet of curiosities, in 2019, in the glacial landscapes of her Seracs, in 2020…

Since 2021, Raphaële de Broissia has been curator of the contemporary art biennial “Légendes botaniques” at the Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard. It is from the dialogue with the millennial history of this place that she draws her latest inspirations. And in particular from a monumental alpine herbarium, which she reinterprets, in her paintings, with the language of dried flowers, ink and adhesive.

My artistic practice is eclectic, with installations, sculptures and paintings. The common thread of my work is based on the material that leads me to sublimate poor materials, as if I were ennobling fabrics. I use nails, balloons, newspapers, rolls of wallpaper, scotch tape flowers, … to give them a new sensitive and organic aspect. My inspiration comes from the observation of the landscape and the environment modified and rhythmed by man or by the freedom of nature which nevertheless organizes itself.

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