Huge clouds of white smoke, which explode out of tunnels or grow exuberantly in the afforested background of a French Château or a stony lighthouse; morbid housing complexes from the 60ies and 80ies with their crumbling facades or the ruins of high apartment buildings in the precarious outskirts, left for the demolition squad, originally built for social Utopia and now mutating to hot spots of violence. These are the places and motifs Cyprien Gaillard deals with in his artwork.
Gaillard is interested in the relationship between architecture and nature, which shows particularly remarkable in his series Geographical Analogies from 2006. Very carefully he places nine polaroids into a visual correspondence with each other. In a wooden box these photos are arranged as a group and show Mexican nature sites as well as construction projects in the Bronx. But with this conflict between architecture and nature Gaillard also relates to the statements and effects of the Land Art. With Number VI from the film- and photo series Real Remnants of Fictive Wars Gaillard even lets the icon of Land Art, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty from 1970 end up in smoke. Minimal aesthetic, a discreet romantic touch, but also vandalism and a young anarchistic spirit are the fundamental pillars of his works, which support him in implementing the reversion from vandalism into a high culture.

Choosing a media for his work Gaillard also stays very multifaceted ranging from painting, graphics to photography, film and video works. But especially in the media film his keen sense for sublime landscapes, places and architecture is realized. The reason why his 30 minutes video Desniansky Raion (2007) advanced to one of his important works.
Conceived as a triptych and accompanied by the spherical music of Koudlam, the concentrated entering view focuses on the monumental, but already scruffy 35 levels high West gate of Belgrade, the Genex-Tower. Then the narrative parts follow, beginning with a street battle of Hooligans in a suburb of St. Petersburg; the spectacular detonation of a Parisian apartment complex accompanied by a lightshow, fireworks and music and finally the Bird’s-eye-view on a desolate paltry housing complex in the district called Desniansky Raion in winterly Kiev, reminding of the English Stonehenge due to its ring like structure.

Cyprien Gaillard’s new video work Crazy Horse (2008), enacted as a live performance together with Koudlam, was introduced within the night program of this year’s Berlin Biennial for contemporary art.
Looking at an immense projection onto a wall in the sculpture park in Berlin Mitte one saw the detonation proceedings at the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills in South Dakota, which will be one of the largest sculptures in the world once it will be finished in approximately eighty years. Already in 1948 the sculptor Korczak Ziólkowski was invited by the former sachem of the Sioux to build this memorial and Gaillard’s video is again conceived as a tribute to this fantastic project.

With his presentation at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum entitled Glasgow 2014 Cyprien Gaillard will draw the attention to the large-scale demolition program of apartment buildings from the 60ies and the consequently disappearance of social housing in Glasgow, which takes place in the course of the preparations of the sportive big event of the Commonwealth Games 2014 and which is supposed to serve the visual enhancement of the city. For Cyprien Gaillard this is a prime example for state-controlled vandalism.

Bio Cyprien Gaillard

Cyprien Gaillard was born in 1980 in Paris. He completed his exams under John Armleder and Francis Baudevin at the Ècole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne, Switzerland. Already in 2003 Cyprien Gaillard participated in a number of international group shows and biennials, such as MOPH (2003) in Tokio, The Elated Pedestrian / Champion # 7 (2005) at Champion Fine Art in Los Angeles, Abstraction / Surface (2006) at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.  He also took part in the Lyon Biennale 2007 as well as with two works and the Live-Performance Crazy Horse in the 5. Berlin Biennale 2008.

Cyprien Gaillard lives and works in Paris.


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