Left : printed fleece sweat-shirt, GUCCI. Right : Jacquard wool costume, silk shirt with monogram and glasses, GUCCI. Personal necklace.
The duo formed by Julie Villard and Simon Brossard functions like a meta-organism whose insatiable desire for ingestion is matched only by its sheer lucidity. Since they met at the Cergy School of Fine Arts in 2016, the pair, born in 1992 and 1994 respectively, has practised an art of metabolization whose forms – which are never final and always potentially reusable – have the sweetish flavour of the rotten fruit of an era sick with its own excess. Standing or hung, their human-scale sculptures are frontal, like archaic totems, and are made up of refuse that reminds us of the overproduction in Western societies. A formal repertoire runs throughout their oeuvre in which we recognize Dyson vacuum-cleaner filters, sex toys, medical supplies, soft fabrics, knickknacks and swarms of cables.
Standing or hung, their human-scale sculptures are frontal, like archaic totems.
Though they claim to be obsessed with collecting and accumulating, Villard and Brossard have developed a com- position process that makes one forget the provenance and original function of the different parts. Condensing the kingdoms of the living – both human and non-human – and more machine-like registers (those of daily life or advanced technology), each organism-totem is enveloped in eternal flesh, whether it shines with the ultra-smooth finish of a manufactured part or has been darkened with the mineral roughness of ore. The metabolization process that engenders the sculptures, which emerge as distinct families over the course of the duo’s exhibitions, is in a certain way a reflection of the artists’ working process: with regard to their first solo show, MENU, held in 2018 at the Exo Exo gallery in Paris, they say they spent three months locked in a tiny bathroom, their hands and feet in water, welding the steel to the wool, dividing up the tasks symbiotically between them. Even today, and even though the first 3D printed parts have appeared in their compositions, manual production and the throwing of their entire bodies into the moulding, modelling and sanding of the work remain crucial.
As the fabrication process advances, reorienting the speculative dimension of their work, the duo is stretching its temporal spectrum yet further. As part of their current research, Villard and Brossard are using not only highly contemporary moulded materials but also antique or faux-antique Greek or Egyptian objects, imbuing the results with an emotional palette of sickly-sweet kitsch. The obvious post-apocalyptic overtones of the first mutant plants, prosthetic organs and sepulchral furniture deepens all the weight of the ambiguity. Stuck in a present without a future, where the past is but a waste scrap like any other, Villard and Brossard’s heterochronic sculptures self-generate from the ruins of the Capitalocene, appearing, like so many sick gems, swollen with their desire for autophagy.