Galerie Quynh is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Sandrine Llouquet titled Chapter 4: Days and Nights of Revolving Joy. This will be the artist’s fifth solo show at the gallery. Borrowing a line from The Four Zoas, an unfinished book of mythic poems by William Blake, the title reflects a continuous and elaborate journey of learning and discovery for the artist. The first part of the ongoing project was presented at the gallery in 2013 as Chapter 1: Where I attempt to drown the dragon. Chapitre 2: Midi was realized at L’Espace, Hanoi, Vietnam in 2015; and Chapitre 3: les 101 Grandes Déesses was shown at Le Point Commun, Annecy, France in 2017. Chapter 4 unveils newly produced works incorporating ceramics, installation, and video that delve into ideas of identity and division, recurrent themes in Llouquet’s practice.
Llouquet’s practice is often invested in the reading and research of modern thinkers like Foucault, Nietzsche, Deleuze and Jung. In Carl Jung, Llouquet is particularly interested in his theory of archetypes. Jung’s explanation of archetypes looks at the unconscious stories and structures that are passed down through generations despite an individual’s particular circumstances of nature, nurture, and geography.
In The Four Zoas Blake intended to give his own vision of the psychic history of Man. His cosmic poetry offers an intriguing echo to Jung’s definition of the archetype despite Blake having died almost 50 years before Jung’s birth. Blake’s poetry is an outline of the unconscious forces struggling against one another in the human psyche.
This sense of fragmented, existential profundity is interwoven with Llouquet’s broken ceramics. Inspired by a recent trip to Lisbon where she encountered the painted, tin-glazed tile works known as azulejos, Llouquet travelled to Hue, the imperial capital of Vietnam, to learn more about pottery mosaic, a traditional technique using broken pottery that flourished in Hue in the 17th century.
For her new mosaics, Llouquet takes porcelain pieces, some found and others hand-painted, and shatters them into pieces before reconfiguring the shards into geometric forms. She accumulates images from disparate sources and recomposes them into new patterns and narratives. What is divided and fragmented can now be re-seen as a whole.
Chapter 4: Days and Nights of Revolving Joy unfolds as a progression from the ground floor and mezzanine which offer a mosaic of intriguing images of broken ceramics and fantastical, painted ceramic tiles towards more mysterious charcoal drawings on canvas on the second floor. The second floor back room features Days and Nights of Revolving Joy, a new video work of an esoteric ceremony. Viewers must enter a stark room with only bamboo mats on the floor to view the video, which is accessible only after scanning a QR code on their smartphones. Faithful to Llouquet’s idea of syncretism, the video is a celebration of various sources from the cult of Isis to Catholic mass to profane celebrations. The mysterious ceremony involves various rituals including dancing, a reading in Esperanto of Night the First (the first chapter of The Four Zoas), and an initiation rite. Rather than attempting to understand the content with our rational mind, the artist proposes to experience it and grasp it on another level of consciousness.