Crac! Boum! Hue! Ceramics of Emmanuel Boos
The ceramics of Emmanuel Boos are variously described as "pleasing" and even "very pleasing". That seems to say it all, and you imagine pieces that are refined and "highly design". Or elegant and beautifully wrought, not to say elaborate and mannered. But they are more or less the diametric opposite of all this. They are neither majestic nor spectacular. It's a trap.
They are monochromatic, discreet and melancholic. They are often irregular, at times broken, and make no claim to be perfect; they can even be clumsy. So why are they so obviously pleasing? Do they go beyond mere seduction? Can we succumb to and give into them, accept them as relevant contemporary artistic praxis?
"Pottery is for laying the table, ceramics are for moving you", says Emmanuel Boos, paraphrasing Le Corbusier's famous maxim on architecture.
Emmanuel Boos is a ceramist. He makes containers and receptacles. His artistic plan is to highlight the feeling and emotion they may arouse. Containers are the vehicle of exchange, if you will. They are pieces with a human face designed "for giving and receiving". In this exhibition, the bowls, shells and drums are on the scale of the person who might take them in his hands, and carry them to his mouth, or ear. While sculpture and ceramic modelling strive to fashion what is solid, the work of the container has to do with the void, which both informs them and gives them life. These objects, which already carry within them the promise of their own disappearance, with their fissures and cracks, thus rule out any kind of fetishism.
Emmanuel Boos believes in the artistic potential of ceramics. It is far more than a mere medium, it is raw, mineral emotion. So he makes ceramics and its actual materials (different types of porcelain and enamel) one of the central notions of his approach.
First and foremost, clay (here of the porcelains he compounds), whose folds and undulations convey the profound nature of the pieces, as well as the character and will of the material. Its forms seem to be born rather than designed. Enamel (the vitreous material which covers the porcelain) obsesses him, flowing in wide expanses in the centre of his pieces. For too long the ceramics of artists has been a ceramics of painters subordinating enamel to design. This conception has veiled the artistic potential of free enamel. This goes way beyond colour and mere pigment. It exceeds the human imagination. It has to do with surprise and wonderment. An incongruous concept of an artist-cum-spectator, and a paradoxical concept, too, if we bear in mind that this contemplative artist is also a technician.
These pieces are often made in a random, accidental way. Emmanuel Boos seems to do away with himself in the face of Nature. Powerlessness or lucidity? With porcelain, there is not always room for the practitioner's ego; he must cut himself off from his preoccupations. Submission? It is rather a matter of discovering a new relationship to Nature: complicity and exchange. Emmanuel Boos has a friendly relationship with nature. His plan is not Promethean, or domineering. Like a surfer, he slides, and goes along with. But the quest for elegance is always a final outcome, and what seems effortless is the fruit of intense hard work. In particular, Emmanuel Boos studied for three years with the Maestro Jean Girel, and is currently at the Royal College of Art in London doing research into the artistic potential of enamel.
With its two very flexible exhibition areas and its deliberately iconoclastic programme, Jousse Entreprise gallery likes to question and challenge the boundaries of art and its hierarchies. With Crac! Boum! Hue! it is our intent to illustrate "the artistic evidence of a certain ceramics" focused on an aesthetics of the container and ceramic enamel. Over and above this immediate aim, the exhibition hopes, in particular, to be able to demonstrate the interest of an approach that is more contemporary than it appears.
emmanuel boos _ emilie bonaventure