Mitacuye Oyasin, 2022
It all began millions of light years ago, at a time when zombies, Satan, and witches played around, laughed, and collectively celebrated at the fabulous altar of humanity. Since then, these great figures have been carefully tucked away into the shadowy nooks and crannies of the drawers that now store evil, danger, and transgression. In this very spot, in this cold abyss – one we have truly sought to make collectively dark – you will find Fabien Clerc’s work. Using the fiery art of ceramics, the artist grabs and spins the great figures associated with the occult sciences, paying tribute to them and their beauty at the same time. This act is not gratuitous. It is conducted as a strange policy for the resurgence of knowledge and know-how regarding all things obscure that were usually perpetuated by ancient communities, and are now (too) often lost, wiped out or marginalized. Clerc has serious fun with a few fearsome figures from popular Western culture. This game – which some might qualify as a process of revalorization, others of poeticizing the ugly and monstrous – has accompanied the artist throughout his career. Fabien Clerc offers an exhilarating shift from the world of the dead and the occult to that of performances, rituals, skulls and coloured horns. In his world nothing is ever half-baked.
(Extract from the text written by Raphaël Pieroni)
© Isabelle Meister (portrait)
© Fabien Clerc
Fabien Clerc is a ceramist and visual artist born in 1975, in Colombia. Since graduating from Les Arts Décoratifs in 1996 (4-year degree), then from HEAD (Diploma of Advanced Studies) in 2009, his work has been regularly exhibited in Switzerland and abroad. He is very experienced in creating cultural events and, as a ceramics teacher, is now deeply invested in sharing his knowledge. Indeed, the “art of fire” is at the heart of his work, where Clerc respects the technical rigor of this medium, while also embracing its “failures”, resulting in cleverly calculated amateurism. He expresses himself logically in his heterogeneous pieces, playing skilfully between anachronisms and cultural syncretism, inspired by his various residencies abroad, namely in Colombia and Haiti. Clerc poetically explores the construction of his own identity and questions notions of geopolitics and decolonization from a critical angle – and always with a touch of humor.
Website Fabien Clerc
Window display: courtesy of Grütli, Centre de production et de diffusion des Arts vivants