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Martine Feipel & Jean Bechameil: Rebels

Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery is pleased to announce the new solo show of Martine Feipel & Jean Bechameil in Dubai.




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Exhibition from 11 May until 25 June 2022

Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery is pleased to present the first exhibition of the duo Feipel&Bechameil at its new space in Dubai.

Working as a twosome, Feipel & Bechameil produce installations where there is a mix of illusion, imagination, instability and illogicality within gridded and controlled places in the contemporary world. As sculptors but also amateur researchers and engineers, informed by a great sensibility with regard to the theatricality of the world and its various forms of beauty, they create works within a socio-historical, aesthetic, political and technical approach. In combining their many areas of know-how in various fields – drawing, sculpture, engineering, directing and presentation, and sets -, they are producing an oeuvre that is as formally accomplished as it is powerfully engaged. The artists apprehend their environment in its most raw and purified forms with an imagined, fantasized and dreamed view of nature.
As artists, they have no certainties about ideal social and cultural models, but they are forever questioning human life by way of themes such as the social and collective setting, life styles, the forms of architecture people occupy and the objects which accompany us in our daily round, the landscape that is presented to us, and the areas of freedom we are given, as well as the future being traced out for us. As robotics hackers Feipel & Bechameil propose a re-appropriation of the realm of technology in a sensitive way, using an eminently political gesture: taking possession of the expertise and know-how of industrial robotics, to apply them to the creation of artworks which describe our world in a different way.
The work of Feipel & Bechameil addresses the question of space. Their work shows in a destructive manner, the hidden complexity of the ideas in the traditional way of constructing space. At the same time, their work also opens a perception for an alternative reflection. In it, art and society go hand and hand. Past, present and future, the artist duo Feipel & Bechameil deal with all times at once one. Firmly attuned to the present (robotization) so as to better consider the future (the consequences of a robotized world on humans), the artist duo nonetheless proposes a rereading of the history and utopias of modernity: dada, De Stijl, the Bauhaus and all the modernist movements that, before the invention of the atom bomb, believed in the compatibility of technical progress and humankind.

Extract from a written essay by Clément Minighetti, curator at Mudam, The contemporary art museum of Luxembourg:

For their first exhibition in the new space of the Zidoun-Bossuyt gallery in Dubai, the artist duo Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil have installed a set of works which allow us to understand the progress of their work in recent years. A selected work that unravels the thread of a reflection based on careful observation of our contemporary era, in the light of the history of modernity.
The reflection of the artists focuses on the rise of industrialization and the profound social upheavals that accompanied it. Their works evoke this heritage, just as they borrow part of their formal vocabulary from the modernist movements, cubism and constructivism among others, but knowing how to divert them. How has technical progress influenced our lifestyles, directed our social aspirations? What future is taking shape for our societies which, long deluded by the omnipotence of technology, see the moment of a definitive break with our natural environment approaching? All these questions run through the works of artists whose critical spirit avoids the pitfall of Manichean thinking, which would hide the complexity of our relationship to technology. Sometimes stamped with a gentle melancholy, their works do not forget to rehabilitate the march of progress when it has served social progress, or contributed to changing for the better our ways of living and thinking about the world.
As artists engage in a reflection on our environment, they are interested in natural habitats just as they have become attached to human achievements. Originally designed to be installed on the facade of a shelter, the ceramic sculptures of the series Shelters (2022) are in fact nests for black swifts (apus apus). This bird, at the peak of evolution, spends its entire life in flight, even when sleeping, and only alights to brood. Unfortunate collateral victim of the architecture of modern cities, it has been deprived of the crevices offered by our buildings of yesteryear, replaced by modern buildings with impenetrable concrete facades. In a successful synthesis of modernist forms and primitive arts, the artists then designed these habitats.
Finally, the Rebels series (2022), from which the exhibition borrows its title, deals with the human figure. These sculptures draw a link between the series of Shelters and the public art project Les Brutalistes. However, if all these works belong to the same aesthetic register, the lines and geometric shapes of the Rebels are no longer only the expression of an architecture, but also that of a character, of a revolt. Taken together, these three projects demonstrate both the diversity and plastic rigor of the entire work of Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil, as well as its ability to find applications in reality, by creating links in the public space as in natural areas.

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