Galerie Derouillon is delighted to present «Trust Me», the first solo exhibition of Mathilde Albouy at the Hôtel Cromot du Bourg.
She has presented her work at the Villa Empain (Brussels, 2023), FORMA (Paris, 2023), the Centre d’Art Chanot (Clamart, 2022), the galerie a mano studio (Biarritz, 2022) and 3537 (Paris, 2021).
" For her first solo show, Mathilde Albouy infiltrates the empty living room of the Hôtel Cromot du Bourg and imbues it with her creatures, troubling us. At the edge of which worlds are we finding ourselves?
Steeped with uncanniness, the artworks seem to whisper to those who are watching:
By addressing the audience, Mathilde Albouy gifts her pieces with an individuality and lays down the first rule of the game -trust-, which, if conceded completely, will give power to the fiction she contrives.
With human-sized combs as protagonists, her fiction comes to life and interrogates the ambivalent relationship women often have with this object, symbol of pain, control and care. She stretches its shape to reveal its tines and ambiguities. Dark and sculpted in layers of wood, her characters appear as shields, disturbing shadows and allies, protectors of a world kept secret.
To strengthen their power of protection, Mathilde Albouy creates her first combs around dense and complex knots. Over time, combs become pins; extended and unraveled (Come on in), finally exposing their heart. This gives us a glimpse of what is at play in the artist’s work: through the action of untangling, a quest for liberation.
At the Hôtel Cromot du Bourg, the comb series is situated into a dialogue within the space by a butterfly, paper fortune tellers and a pair of carboys.
Made of lead, a harmful material with infinite transformative power, String Figure and Combien tu veux ? echo the wooden comb pieces. They are symmetrical, inspired by children’s games and games of chance. They seem to pursue the same objective to transform toxic adversity into something of her own, within the artist’s control.
In Mathilde Albouy’s work, there is a perpetual sense of confrontation. Far from giving direct answers, she suggests the possibility of a reconciliation -between her and the others, between her public and shadow self.
The relentless actions she arrays to achieve her goal, of dissecting, tying and working in symmetry, bestows her work with an impression of controlled finitude. We would be mistaken in trusting this first impression. By giving the artworks a closer look, we realize that, at any moment, they can escape the artist’s sway. The apparent rigidity of the combs is countered by their glossy, almost sweaty finish. Lead pearls seem to flee on the parquet flooring. Remove a pin, and the butterfly vanishes. We suddenly understand what was implied the first moment we laid eyes on the pieces: they escape us because they only exist within the ambivalent worlds of dreams and the unconscious.
Perhaps that is why, after giving our trust and accepting the rules of the game set by Mathilde Albouy, her work ‘haunts’ us (‘takes us home’).
Comforted, we go on our way, souls a little bit fuller, and selves, maybe, a little bit more suited for this world. "
Only by appointment
© Aleksei Kostromin © Grégory Copitet