How to talk about history and memory if you have to invent your own culture? How to describe the complex beauty of nature – the sea, the rhinoceros and the hummingbird – if they have been polluted and killed by the human destruction of the environment? And how can the seductive language of art contribute to these challenging questions?
Julien Creuzet’s works address this urgent discussion by using poetry as a medium and tool. In his art, language functions as an open, rhizomatic construction that switches from standard to vernacular, from English, to French, to Creole and finds its very own rhythm and tropes. The artist himself grew up in Martinique – one of the French overseas departments that is separated from Europe by the Atlantic Ocean. His multi-layered poetry unveils how language can connect but also divide us through nationality, class and education – it is, in the words of Édouard Glissant, one of the most important intellectuals of the French Caribbean, “a boat we sail to reach out and connect with the unknown.”
The sea and what it takes, brings and carries plays a central role in this exhibition: Constructed as a variable multimedia installation, the show consists of found objects, a video, engravings and sculptures. By combining natural and synthetic materials, like fishing nets, shells, driftwood, bottles and shoes, he blurs the border between technology and nature, the native and the foreign, high and low culture. Poetic and political at the same time, Julien Creuzet’s installation creates a spatial experience that focuses on the complex intersection of the history of Martinique and the events of European (post-)modernity. By problematizing identity and the colonial construction of the Other, his works ask provocative questions relating to the concept of hybridity, subalternity and the anthropocene.
Julien Creuzet (*1986) lives in Paris and holds a diploma from L’École des Beaux-Arts de Caen and a post-diploma from L’École des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. His work has been recently shown in solo presentations at Bétonsalon and Fondation Ricard in Paris (2018), SKETCH Gallery in Bogota and Documentation Gallery in Chicago (2017); besides, in large international exhibitions such as the Bienniale of Lyon, the 11th Rencontres de Bamako (2017) and the Dakar Bienniale (2016).
Jana J. Haeckel is a freelance curator, art critic and lecturer based in Brussels. She recently curated the solo show „Versipellis“ with Bianca Baldi (Superdeals, Brussels, 2018) and the group show “Performing the Border” (Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, Vienna, 2017).
We would like to thank the following for cooperation.
MeetFactory, Institute Français Prague, Hope Recycling Station