Lucie Le Bouder
Interview by Lauriane Mevel, June 2018
Where does your interest in architecture come from?
I think it started during my Space Design Degree and it grew during my studies at the Fine Arts School of Nantes. I was first interested in sculpture, then in installations and I finally understood that architecture was central in my researches. Space is like a medium, a work tool. Some people use pencils, I use architectures, places, constructions.
In the future I would love to integrate my work to a large scale architecture, do a monumental wall-painting or imagine a pattern for the facade of a building. Walls are very important in my work, I use plasterboards and other building materials, and I like to play with the reflection of colored light between my sculptures and the walls…
There is another pivotal element in your practice: the point. You said in a statement that the point is invisible in your works but that you always start with points.
That’s right, you never see dots in my work. They are invisible, but they generate lines and surfaces. I made a series of wall paintings titled wall, during my residency at the Darling Foundry in Montreal and then for my solo show Back Line at 22,48m2 in Paris in 2014. I start with dots on a white wall, connect them with lines. I paint the resulting geometric forms in different shades of white. The different fragments are barely perceptible but as the spectator makes his way around the gallery or the studio, it comes to life, you can see depth and cross movements…
You seem to like to show what is hidden in buildings and constructions?
Yes, in one exhibition I decided to reverse the vision of a wall by showing the rail system which holds the plasterboards. I presented it on the floor, which was another reversal and contradiction. […] I like to work with plasterboard because it’s a “humble” material and it is very malleable. It gives a lot of creative possibilities and it is very common in the construction industry. Plasterboard can be broken, it can be painted… I’ve also used a water-repellent plasterboard. I soaked it in water during a long time and it eventually started to absorb the water and became soft. I like to play with materials and contradict them.
You also use construction tools, like the cutter, in an unconventional way?
In a way, yes. With the drawings, a lot of people do not imagine that I use a cutter. They have this image of a tool that is rough and dangerous, and the drawings are clean, regular and delicate. The paper is not even fully cut, there is only a little slot in the top coating of the paper sheet. I use scalpel cutters for my drawings, but I also use bigger cutters to work with plasterboards, with a gesture that is more destructive.
Can you tell us about the cutter drawings you made for the Abstraction & Architecture project?
This project came at the right time. I had been researching futurist and constructivist architecture and the exhibition opportunity triggered a new series of drawings. I used to focus mainly on architectural drawings, on floor plans and on their superposition. In this new series I am more interested in the architectural styles, in the actual buildings, where they are located and how they interact with their environments. For example, one of the drawings is inspired by a Cube House that was designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom in Rotterdam in the 70’s. It is a type of tilted house that is built on the edge of another construction. To come back to our earlier discussion, the Cube Houses are also connected by a sort of point. […] The drawings of the new series have a closer link with my installations and sculptures, because they all take up the notion of volume. I will show the first two drawings of the new series in the Abstraction & Architecture project.
What is the second drawing about?
It comes from Rebstock Park in Frankfurt, by Peter Eisenman, which is based on the idea of folding and unfolding. I had worked on deconstructivism and on Eisenman’s architecture for my Master Thesis, but I had not really thought about it for the next 8 years. Then I got a new studio in March and I found some old notebooks and pictures. And now I am using this material – which is actually at the very source of my current artistic practice – for my new works.
Japan’s architecture also inspired you for this series…
… It is because Japan has a lot of futurist architecture, and a sort of “architectural craziness”. Tokyo is incredible, there is some very daring architecture, with colors, shapes, materials you would never see in France. There are no restraints. But at the same time the style is very minimalist. This contrast is very compelling.
Illustration images (from top to bottom): Prudence, 2011, plasterboard, metallic rail, acrylic paint - In situ installation for the solo exhibition "Fragments" at Gallery 22,48m2, Paris Wall #2, 2014, 557 x 267 cm, acrylic paint - Wallpainting created for the solo show Back Line at Gallery 22,48m2, Paris Plan #11, 2018, 48 x 67 cm, cutter drawing on cast-coated paper Source material for Plan #11: "The Cube Houses in Rotterdam, The Netherlands viewed from Blaak Subway Station." by Raul Ayres. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Plan #12, 2018, 48 x 57,2 cm, cutter drawing on cast-coated paper All of the above : Courtesy Lucie Le Bouder and 22,48m2