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Meet the artist-in-residence: Gaëlle Choisne

Plastic money, stick-on cat eyes and a necklace that says ‘DIVA’. These are the objects one comes across when entering the studio of Gaëlle Choisne (1985). In her work she creates environments, experiences, and spaces through objects, materials and film. The interview takes place in the AVL Mundo art studio of Choisne. She talks about her way of working and her ongoing project TEMPLE OF LOVE. With this project she aims to explore different ways in which societal, political and collective ‘love’ occurs.

How did you become an artist?

First, I had a job which wasn’t that nice so I started art school in Lyon, but only at a later age. This turned out to be in my favour as I knew better what I wanted because was more experienced and determined. Later on I became an intern at the atelier of Michel François, an artist from Brussels. That was an important moment for me as he taught me what it means to be an artist both practically and philosophically. Through several residencies I build up a network which allowed me to exhibit in a lot of places. I have been a resident in Montreal, Italy and the latest one was at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.


You have lived in different places, does that influence your work?

Definitely! I focus a lot on the textures of objects in my work, for inspiration I look at the environment I am in. Recently I have been invited to participate in the Biennale in Curitiba, Brazil. Two weeks before it starts, I will go to Brazil to create my work there so I will get inspired by the environment. Obviously, two weeks are very short so I will have a plan B to take off some pressure. However, it is only afterwards that I can see the effect of an environment on my work.


“I do not have a purpose or goal,

I just work with my process.”


What is the process like, when you make an artwork?

First of all, I never start with a fixed idea. When I create an artwork I do not have a purpose or goal, I just work with my process. This process is similarly important to the end result and I mostly have no idea what my work will look like until the very end. In the process everything can happen every possibility is open. There is no linearity in my work, it flows, it has no beginning or end. 
Secondly, collaboration is very important when I am in the process of making a work. For example, I invited a rapper, producer and sound engineer for the project S’abîmer (2019). His name Arghtee and he made the soundtracks for my video. It was an amazing and interesting collaboration. The video was part of my solo exhibition at Zacheta in Poland.       


“I want to link the concepts of

power, domination and love,

there is no contradiction”       


Currently, Choisne is working on a project TEMPLE OF LOVE. This is a long-term project in which she will create works that are reacting to political issues while addressing social and political love. It is the first time she is working according to a theme and creates her works and installations accordingly. Despite of the set frame, TEMPLE OF LOVE still gives Gaëlle Choisne a lot of freedom. By working and exhibiting in several countries, she gets inspired by the place of stay while making it according the concept TEMPLE OF LOVE. What does this project entail?

My work is among other things about destruction, exploitation and colonialism, TEMPLE OF LOVE is a logical continuation of what I make. The themes of exploitation an capitalism are all within this project. Colonialism is not just about hate. There is love hidden in this phenomena. Domination, power too are not necessarily about hate. My aim is to link the concepts of power, domination and love, there is no contradiction. For example: the colonisation in 18th century. The guys arrive in the country, see it and say: wow it is so beautiful, I love this place, I want to keep it. Love is so complex, love is destructive. You can completely destroy the thing that you love. In my work I try to translate personal love to political and societal love. This all connect to the concept which I made a project: TEMPLE OF LOVE.


Why a Temple?

In my work I have a spiritual approach, it is about rituals, manners. Politically thinking about institutions and how they in a sense become a temple. On the other hand it is a joke too, a little ironic even. In search for a balance within the subject of political love, and how we can deal with it easily.


Where does your perspective on love come from?

Well, it has to do with my personal life, but on various levels. For example when I was still in art school. It started when three of my friends tried to do something together, starting exhibitions. We had big dreams and were super ambitious. And then the personal ego got in between the collective. All these dynamics inherited some kind of love. And then my parents. They are from France and Haiti, which is basically a mix of the dominated and the suppressed. Another very important inspiration is Roland Barthes, and his essay’s about love called ‘A Lover’s discourse’. In the 80 essay’s Barthes describes various emotions the come with love. It is autobiographical and includes festive feelings as well as suicidal. It is hard to give a good description of the work as it is very nuanced and sensitive. get emotional every time I read it,  I can recognize myself in the different passages and feelings.

What do you want people to feel when they see and experience your work?

I hope they really have a really deep and individual experience. With shape and experience. And feel love around them: more love (!) in any kind of way…


In September you will participate in the AVL Mundo exhibition Secret Society, what can we expect?

I will work with the material plastic, I am already experimenting with it. How does it reshape under different circumstances? I even made drawings already, something I never do. There will be a video installation too, it all relates to TEMPLE OF LOVE. The name will be To Be Engulfed.

Gaëlle Choisne and Vincent Ceraudo are the current artists-in-resident at AVL Mundo. Their art will be on display at the group exhibition Secret Society at AVL Mundo that opens on the 7th of September 2019.

An inteview by Cecile van Bruggen, intern at Atelier Van Lieshout and AVL Mundo, undergraduate of the International Bachelor of Arts and Culture Studies and Double Degree with Philosophy at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.