Scanned from the outermost reaches of the gallery space, Jocelyn Villemont’s solo exhibition Material Dreams at Chez Valentin, seems to blur the boundaries between a private cosmology and universal imagery, studied through the appropriation of domestic gadgets and antiseptic aesthetics. In the sterile brightness of the room I find myself confronted with familiar, banal objects: the commodities on display and their texture seem simultaneously highly artificial, yet I recognise their shapes and symbols, and my dependence vis-à-vis to them.
With a closer look, the works on display reveal to delve into the proliferation of scattered images and the exhaustion with visual stimuli, their constant renaissance and recycling. This approach is closely linked to Villemont’s method: in his creative practice he uses quick execution processes, such as transfer, sticking, flocking, printing and sketching. In the gallery space, I can hear the steady hum of a washing machine, occupying the center of the floor: this work, entitled Nightstand (2015) suggests an ongoing, definite movement in the otherwise still atmosphere, proposing a study on the (re)cycle of images. The machine is surrounded by transparent, thus accessible surfaces, yet their horizontal stretches and positioning leaves a plastic, distant feeling.
This installation is surrounded by a continuum of limpid forms and objects, allowing to get deeper in my quest for re-establishing the original experience and connection with images. On the left side of Nightstand, a series of detergent bottles, entitled Self-branded detergent (2015), can be found. I recognise their forms and subsequently their meaning: however, they are deprived of all-encompassing branding, when their white plastic surface is decorated with something reminiscent of DIY badges.
The gallery space is enclosed by a series entitled Sleeping disorder dating from 2015: these pillows with fresh shades form a composition that rhythms the white gallery walls. Sleeping disorder proposes flat vortex images and symbols of common care, which I’m able to decode thanks to the mental guide in my mind. While these whirlpool images stand for a movement, stretch and twist, their linearity, energy and mass are flattened on fabrics, whose texture seems somehow to absorb the images. Next to these printed vertical flows, I can find rectangular shapes with images on detergents and linguistic symbols. When I continue to move my gaze on the gallery walls, I end up observing my distorted profile: this series entitled Masticated reality (2015), made of film mirror and chewing gum on dibond, unfolds the mood of distrust related to our cognitive sight, when facing the never-ending flow of images.
Villemont’s exhibition reveals to be a study on spatial and visual encoding, where personal zone and time interweaves with black holes. The established boundaries cease to exist within the white confines of the space: what to make of all the images and their constant production? Do they fade away gradually, or rather, do they form symbolic charts in our minds, thus ending up lingering in the imaginary beyond? Plain forms and colours seem to be sufficient for us to contextualise, yet we get confused, when all of a sudden the familiar 360 degree branding is missing. Material Dreams is about discerning the symbols we think as our narrative, both in public and private consciousness.
Jocelyn Villemont is a French artist and curator, born in 1986. He lives and works in Thorigny sur Marne, and is part of the artist duo It’s Our Playground together with Camille Le Houezec.
Material Dreams on view at Chez Valentin through June 20.