Isabelle Cornaro (b. 1974, Paris) has been invited to create an installation for one of the spaces of the Palais de Tokyo, the Païpe. Following on from interventions by Ulla von Brandenburg and Sheila Hicks, Isabelle Cornaro will devise an in situ installation for a space which lies between stage theatre and immersive diorama. This invitation seems all the more pertinent given the presence of both mentally and physically constructed landscapes within her work, which are situated between mimesis and abstraction. Landscapes are an important element within Isabelle Cornaro’s body of work, appearing in the photographs entitled Savane autour de Bangui et le fleuve Utubangui where the Savannah is depicted using jewellery, or again in Paysage avec poussin et témoins oculaires, a series of installations inspired by the pastoral paintings of Nicolas Poussin which evoke an idealized, bucolic world.
Cornaro has chosen to create an installation of wall paintings for the Palais de Tokyo. These in situ works, made using spray paint, are reproductions of stills from the 16mm film Floues et colorées that stages landscapes, geometric abstractions and monochromes. Isabelle Cornaro originally showed a selection of landscapes and geometric abstractions from this series at the Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris in 2010 and at Magasin, Grenoble in 2012. For the Palais de Tokyo installation, the artist has chosen to simultaneously show monochromes (Reproductions #1, Reproductions #4) and landscapes (Reproductions #7). Both the size of the paintings (identical to that of a cinema projection) and their textured spray paint finish emphasize their relation to a visual experience. The artist readily admits to the reference to Claude Monet’s Meules, completed near Giverny between 1890 and 1891. This series was not only of great importance to the pioneer of abstraction, Kandinsky, but is also particularly representative of a complex system–which oscillates between naturalism and idealism– elaborated by Monet through his plein-air series, the construction of his Giverny garden and the realization of the Nymphéas installation for the Musée de l’Orangerie.
The Païpe becomes an ambulatory, a space for wandering, where one observes projected paintings and vibratory freeze frames. It is a unique physical and mental experience, an unending exchange between two systems of production and perception of images which are often opposed.