Jeanne Vicerial’s Enigmatic ‘Armors’ Evoke Timeless Power in Elegant Sculptures Fabricated from Thread


“Mue n°5 (Amnios).” All images by Adrien Millot, © Jeanne Vicerial, courtesy of TEMPLON, Paris, Brussels, and New York, shared with permission

Evocative of medieval fits of armor or monastic traditions, Jeanne Vicerial’s intricate sculptures exude quiet power in hundreds of draping threads. The French artist layers halyards, a kind of wire used to hoist sails or flags, to stipulate the curves of figures sporting elegant cloaks, hoods, and shield-like equipment with unraveled coils at their toes. In her collection Armors—a play on the French phrases amour and armure, which means “love” and “armor,” respectively—she assembles enigmatic clothes that await use, as if crystallized over time.

Vicerial was impressed by the Gorgons of Greek mythology, probably the most well-known of which is Medusa, whose hair roiled with snakes and turned anybody who checked out them into stone. “The thought was to insert myself into that nice mythological story however to droop its time, making it unattainable to outline the time or place the place they have been born,” the artist tells Colossal. She leaves the wearers’ identities open to interpretation, permitting the viewer to think about the chances of their histories or functions.

Drawing on her background in vogue and textiles, Vicerial was initially fascinated about learning the male determine and clothes. She started to give attention to expressions of the feminine kind when she participated in a year-long residency at Villa Medici in Rome and was struck by the best way ladies have been represented all through artwork historical past. “After I regarded on the sculptures within the Villa’s park and noticed the Venuses with their moist material, the representations of ladies in lascivious postures with draped material that all the time appears to be by accident slipping off, I made a decision to focus once more on the feminine physique,” she says. Vicerial turns the traditional trope on its head by emphasizing clothes as protecting coverings that beget a formidable presence, merely hinting on the determine beneath.


“Puppa n°1”

Describing the works as “guardians,” Vicerial provokes refined associations with medieval European burials of knights and nobles, Japanese samurai armor, or nuns’ habits. She typically locations varnished flowers like roses into cavities positioned the place a metallic chest plate would have protected one’s very important organs in fight. Like portals glimpsing a mysterious inside, they spotlight the physique’s vulnerability.

Blurring the boundary between vogue and sculpture, the phantom-like works are devoid of facial expressions. Lengthy threads cascade from headdresses, shoulders, and faces illustrating dignity and vulnerability, and the spectral, imposing armors are “protections that categorical a type of energy, however which might be in actuality extraordinarily fragile as a result of they’re made solely of threads,” she says, underlining the doubtful pressure between power and weak spot. “To the touch them is in a technique to destroy them as a result of they may by no means be introduced in the identical approach once more.”

Armors comprised a latest exhibition with TEMPLON. In case you’re in Paris, you’ll be able to discover Vicerial’s work within the group exhibition Des cheveux et des poils on the Musée des Arts Décoratifs by September 17. Observe updates about forthcoming reveals and new works on the artist’s Instagram. (through .ready)


Element of “Puppa n°1”

“Encéphale n°1”

“Catula Présence”

Left: Element of “Présence à l’enfant.” Proper: “Présence à l’enfant”

“Gisante de Coeur”

Element of “Gisante de Coeur”

Left: “Mue n°1.” Proper: Element of “Mue n°1”

“Puppa n°4”

“Mue n°5 (Amnios)”


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