French artist Chloé Quenum works with glass, metals, textiles and concrete, and with processes of staining, transparency and casting. Key elements in her work are the references she makes to furniture, architectural structures and symbolic coding. Sensitive to the role materials play in building stratum and to the architectural contexts in which her highly constructed objects are encountered, Quenum explores the complex layering of space and time. She is interested in how the spatial arrangements of her installations present audiences with multiple points of view.
In Am Stram Gram (2012), the glass folding screens and glass public park benches invite audiences to reflect on the complex and layered relationship between public and private space and considers the porous nature of the boundaries that often divide them. More recently she has been working with Middle Eastern rugs. Woven with symbolic meaning rugs like these were prized artefacts collected by western travelers from exotic cultures and landscapes to showcase their wealth and taste, she says. In Dune (2015) at Beauborg, audiences navigate through, over and between layered stacks of rugs, some covering elevated structures like sets of stairways that go nowhere. Quenum proposes to re-orient their historical past alongside contemporary provocations, while in the more recent Circuit III Modife (2015) the artist stains the rugs with household bleach to reveal what she refers to as “new chromatic ranges”.
During her artist residency at Te Whare Hēra, Quenum will continue textile research on the symbolic coding and graphic and chromatic systems of traditional textiles – a project she has been working on for the last two years that has taken her to Benin, Togo, and Nigeria in West Africa. While in Aotearoa/New Zealand she aims to work with College of Creative Arts partners at Te Papa, Māori School of Art staff plus other external Māori specialists in discussing the patterns within whatu raranga, kakahu and other woven taonga tuku iho. She has also expressed interest in engaging with tā moko experts to understand more appropriately, this revitalized customary practice.
Chloé Quenum is a visual arts graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, in Paris. She lives and works in the French capital and is represented by the Galerie Joseph Tang.
Chloé Quenum’s residency is supported by the French Embassy in New Zealand. For more information on the artist visit Galerie Joseph Tang