This first monograph is the catalogue to the exhibition with the same throwaway title, presented last spring at Spike Island, an international art centre in Bristol. It features the works shown in Bristol, from the sculptures in wood made since 2004 to the artists' latest works, the 8 animated GIFs, and short video sequences projected in a loop and showing figurative sculptures in clay, shaped by the artists outdoors and then turned into animated images using the stop-motion technique.
How does sculpture react when it is reduced to the two dimensions of painting, photography or video? That is one of the questions explored by the artists in this recent institutional proposition, and discussed, among other points, by Alice Motard (deputy director and exhibitions organiser at Raven Row art centre, London), and Zoe Gray (independent curator and vice-president of the IKT, the international association of curators of contemporary art) in their respective texts, and by Helen Legg (director of Spike Island), in her interview with the artists. Each offers a perceptive vision of Dewar and Gicquel's work and the issues it raises.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at Spike Island, Bristol, from March to June 2012.
Daniel Dewar (born 1976 in Forest Dean, United Kingdom) and Grégory Gicquel (born 1975 in St Brieuc, France) live and work in Paris.
“With a kind of evident simplicity, Dewar & Gicquel practise an offshore style of figurative sculpture that may be more or less easy to identify, but whose relation to an external referent is beyond doubt. Looked at individually, their motifs seem precise and meaningful, in that they reference cultural niches or specialist activities. But when considered globally, on the scale of their work as a whole, the sheer length of the list prevents the formation of any kind of identity kit or narrative association. Retrospectively, the succession of their motifs and the fragmentary way in which they appear makes these considerations of cultural genealogy seem anecdotal, placing them in the indistinct zone of global Pop (or sub-Pop) imagery, made to serve conceptual decisions (where it is more a question of nondescript images for figurative sculpture). In the same way, Dewar & Gicquel try out various techniques in a pure amateur spirit, working with materials, usually in their raw form, to bring out regional (or even cantonal) sources of inspiration in sculptures that are essentially ex-situ. This hand-made, the traditional refuge of self-expression, is also a space for improvised slippage, with moments of exaltation giving free rein to a kind of heroic endurance and to the arbitrary detours of an untrammelled imagination. And so this subjectivism exacerbated by practice contradicts the hypothesis of an a priori conceptual decision about the motif. The hybridisation of motifs, techniques and materials operative at different levels of their work allows an endless back and forth between the basic obviousness of the Pop imagery allied to a vernacular language and the secondary effects of a conceptual posture that is indifferent to its natural imagery and to the context of its exhibition. Their sculptures, fusing almost readymade images and almost unforeseen forms, are thus the very concrete synthesis of a position that straddles two options: an expressionist subjectivism based on an authentically Pop imaginary and a distanced figurative conceptualism.” (Emilie Renard)