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Jean Verville creates architectural setting for France Goneau’s ‘QUEENS’


Architect Jean Verville continues his investigations on the interbreeding between art and architecture to imagine a sumptuous scenography that enhances the refined appearance of the most recent ceramic sculptures by artist France Goneau and glorifies the architecture of the neo-Gothic church that houses the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec.Queens, Jeane Verville, France Goneau

Artist in residence at the famous Quebec’s Studio in New York from January to June 2018, France Goneau initiates some research on beautification by directing her reflection on beauty and transformation of the body and examining artifices and their ramifications, positive and negative, that shape this feminine mystique. With her new production of body ornaments, the artist deals with the feminine identity and the constraints associated with it, evoking as much the standards of feminine perfection and seduction, both a familiar and elusive territory, as fortuitous encounters brightening up her daily journey between Soho, where she resides, and Sculpture Space NYC studio in Queens, where she works.

Prostheses, pastiches, carcanets and other accessories testify to a personal and nuanced observation of a feminine identity, the cultures, traditions and protocols that structure them, as well as the incapacity felt towards them. With these seductive and unclassifiable adornments, France Goneau declaims a serenade whispering its secrets on the unfathomable pinkness of femininity.

The exhibition scenography elaborated by architect Jean Verville unveils these body ornaments in an ensemble finely conjugated to this feminine universe where control, expression of identity and social convention are transformed into sweet agony. In the tone of opulence specific to embellishment, the presentation offers a look at coquetry, elegance and refinement to arouse many speculations.

Illustrating various moments, and maintaining the language of femininity aloud, this presentation shows an intimate encounter with the world of the artist France Goneau. Alternating between facts and perceptions, the architect manipulates scenic devices to present these sculptural ornaments such as artifacts probing uncertainties, signalling the opacity of impositions and attesting binding injunctions that document the undeniable complexity of this feminine empire.

The architect opts for a dark purple space to create a chiaroscuro; with this cozy atmosphere, he accentuates the triumphant appearance of the museum’s imposing stained-glass window while enhancing the ostentatious aspect of the ornaments with lighting that enlivens their details and emphasizes the meticulousness of their fabrication.

Feeding the attraction emanating from these beautifully disturbing ornaments, the scenography uses multiple lenses to exacerbate their whimsical appearance where past, present and future merge, just like their state of aging revealing the symbolic or talismanic aspect of their relationship to the body. The scale of these ornamental instruments, carefully made of porcelain, nichrome wire, platinum and 24-carat gold lusters, invites to a proximity allowing to appreciate the multitude of details, their smallness, their exigency, but also the constraint, the reminiscence and the temporality which are evoked.

Structuring the space in a radial positioning, Jean Verville suggests the modalities of a processional journey resulting from an intimate ritual. This circular layout maximizes simultaneous visual contact with many of the ornaments which gives rise to a reflection on their function. The architect subjects the works to a new formal complexity by displaying them on reflective surfaces, as he highlights the ambiguity of their uses, their fragility and that of the moments evoked by inserting them under protection; the disturbing immaterial aspect that emerges seems to intensify the desire to admire, possess, touch. Thus, anchored in this atmosphere revealing the power of their femininity, these body ornaments welcome contemplative gazes to witness an enigmatic and indeterminate feminine universe, somewhere between dream, artifice and reality.


QUEENS ceramic sculpture by France Goneau is on display at the Musée des Maîtres et Artisans du Québec, July 12 to September 2, 2018.

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