Carte Blanche

  • Michel NURIDSANY:
    • Anne Ferrer

A sculpture and sound installation created at the Virginia Center of Creative Arts in collaboration with the composer John Nichols.

Michel Nuridsany, about Anne Ferrer

“Devenir Souffle” by Michel Nuridsany

Anne Ferrer has an easy laugh. She is young. Young-looking, young in spirit, young at heart and young in her interests and passions. I can’t imagine how she could get old someday. Her work, with its pink pigs and pink flowers, some animated, some not, should be relished like sweets. Anne Ferrer’s world is coloured candy-pink.

I discovered her at the ARC, in 1992, and at the Jacqueline Moussion Gallery the same year. She was showing compact black bulls, almost excessively virile, dressed in lace; but the contrast was neither confrontational nor aggressive: it was erotic and playful. She also used cords to hang slaughtered oxen from the ceiling, with their entrails exposed, reminiscent of Rembrandt and Soutine. But the abundant silk and glowing colours she used imbued the scene more with a sense of voluptuousness than of blood and death. Anne Ferrer handles irony with insolence, but even more so with exuberance and light-heartedness. Just look at her pigs, covered with pacifiers and baby bottles.

At the time, she was living in a former butcher shop. Is that how she became more aware of the relationship between people and animals? This is what she says.

Since then, her flowers stand up straight, like erections. Fans inflate them. They are made of materials such as latex, fur, vinyl, fleece and imitation leather. The visual and the tactile are combined with a sense of humour.

The lightweight sculptures shown here, in a sort of ideal weightlessness, were shown at the Michel Journiac Gallery in February. It was a celebration, with all these loud colours, blowing air and oscillating flowers, extending and retracting in the exhibition space. People were caressing them. And smiling.

The work was created in November 2015 at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Anne Ferrer exhibits often in the United States. The sound, which turns on when someone approaches, was created over there by John Nichols. It is a sort of subtle breathing that goes very well with the instability of these sculptures, which are transformed magically, by flows of air.

Solo show Anne Ferrer (sound by John Nichols)

The Paris-based French artist, winner of the 2016 commission of the Virginia Center of Creative Art, arrived in Richmond just a few days after the 13 November terrorist attacks in Paris, still under the shock.

“On the day of my arrival at the VCCA, I decided to do something happy and playful in reaction to the attacks in Paris. I needed it. I was miserable. The location was sublime, and this created a discrepancy. A mixture of anger and the will to love life and guilt for being in this idyllic setting. John was working on his thesis in the studio next door, and we thought of collaborating on this project right away. Our two projects merged”.

Anne Ferrer & John Nichols

Anne Ferrer grew up in Northern Catalonia, and then she left France to study in the United States for 7 years, first at the University of Oklahoma (BFA Sculpture) and then at Yale University (MFA). Back in Paris, she felt like a foreigner in a city obsessed with fashion, food and perfume, and the culture of luxury fascinated and amused the artist, who began to play around with these ingredients. Building, sewing and creating shapes out of textiles, and infusing these creations with meaning, have become central to Anne Ferrer’s creative process. Using fabrics has become a subversive mechanism, giving the artist an interesting / daring tool that is lightweight, direct and easy to manipulate, in order to fashion insolent shapes and colours. The inflated, billowing sculptures leave viewers with a giddy, overwhelming sense of indulgence. The fast installation and easy transportation (in a suitcase or purse) are integral to the working process, creating a performance as the artwork inflates, breathes and invades the space like live entertainment. Ferrer’s work has been shown at the Pompidou Centre, the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art, as well as by Sonia Rykiel and Nina Ricci and in various museums, such as the Seoul Museum of Art, the French Institute in Naples, museums in La Paz, in Madrid, and others. Her work is also part of numerous international public and private collections.

John Nichols. Full of the immediacy of life, the compositions of John Nichols III have been described by listeners as “cosmic”, “seismic” and “tectonic”. His internationally renowned compositions have garnered numerous prizes.