Medley N°13, 2011
Exhibition from november 25th 2011 to january 21th 2012
Using a profusion of materials, colours, effects, embellishments and ornamentation, Emmanuelle Villard paints in a way similar to a drag queen doing her make-up: lavishly and over-the-top. In both cases, it’s all about creating an exaggerated counterfeit appearance. Using this facade as a canvas, the drag queen tries to conceal the man within to make way for a cleverly choreographed and exuberantly feminised entity, all the while open about what lies beneath. Although there is illusion, there is no delusion. Thus, Emmanuelle Villard dresses up her work in such a way that her pieces become inevitably alluring. Does the artist consider painting to be pretending?
Emmanuelle Villard’s work cannot be taken out of context or even outside of the artist’s own era. Her work is brimming with art history, problematic debates and pictorial references. But nevertheless it remains directly linked to how the artist perceives the society in which she evolves; that is, a divided society resting upon values of power, luxury and appearances and in which the quality of art work is gauged by its market value. This world promotes a ‘make believe’ attitude, but it also creates nostalgia; a notion that can lead to ambiguous views based on ideals of purity.
These paradoxes and controversies are tools the artist uses to shape her work. The ambivalence is revealed through the spectrum of seduction and revulsion. Her work originates from artefacts, devices and contrived objects: diamante, trashy jewellery and fake beads, sequins, distorting mirrors… All things that shine, glitter and sparkle and that catch the eye. In Emmanuelle Villard’s work, these devices are used to trick the audience: they enable the artist to showcase the emerging escalation of sharp travesty in a Duchampian satire. The artist creates works that are sometimes baroque, often decadent and always complex. Their perhaps overly shiny surfaces cast a deformed and cloudy image of ourselves and of the world around us: they invite us to reassess our perceptions.