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Pascal Brateau, 2020

We interviewed Pascal as part of our proposal to offer insight into how practising artists were coping with these unprecedented times. He has talked about ways in which he had to manoeuvre and reposition to align with restrictions.

1- Who are you? Introduce yourself


I wish I knew who I am. Or maybe I don’t…
My name is pascal brateau. I’m a french artist with architecture background, based in
Berlin and in Nancy France.
I regularly try to make procrastination as a science.


2- What is your artistic practice?- What drove you to work as you are now? How has this
been impacted by lockdown restrictions and the pandemic?


I’m dealing with the notion of inhabitation, the sense of dwelling.
My work focuses on the image of the house, reflecting the relationship between
intimate thought and collective unconsciousness. It questions the notions of territory,
individuality, community, and archetype.
I’m working the volume.
My approach to sculpture is through construction, which induces a certain durability.
But some of my works clearly show the action of time. In fact, I try to tell stories related
to a place, so the notions of time and culture are underlying.
These two aspects, the theoretical or conceptual aspect and the constructive aspect,
are intimately interconnected.
The term “constructive” is not insignificant, because it is really a process of
construction. Many of my works are built from a basic module that is repeated /
multiplied and assembled or stacked to produce the final image. Others are made from
moulds that obviously have to be produced first. In term of sculpture it’s far away from
carving, but rather in construction or edification.
I like to work with little material.

I have always been interested in minimal art, especially artists from the sixties in New
York like Carl André and Donald Judd or Sol Lewitt. Minimalism is hardly a choice for
me. It’s part of my sensibility.
I am in a process, which is as much intellectual as it is experimental.
My architectural background initiated my questioning on the way of inhabiting, and
more broadly on the notion of inhabited, what is inhabited. I wondered if this question
is restricted to the habitat, or if it extends over a wider field. Ever since Heidegger*
took up Hölderlin’s phrase “man dwells as a poet”, the question of how to inhabit the
world has been raised, but far beyond that, it raises other concerns: What do we live in?
What is inhabited? What is dwelling? Do we live in a space? Can we inhabit an idea? Or
could we be inhabited by an idea?
The house is the first notion that comes into direct relation with the term “inhabited”.
For me, it is an intermediate point between inside and outside, between landscape and
intimacy, between reality and reflection. It is a symbolic representation, as much of the
way we inhabit the world as of the way it inhabits us.
And it has become as much a motif that allows me to approach plastic notions in a
different way each time as an inexhaustible source of questioning.
The exploration of the same pattern (an archetypal house with pointed roof) in all its
possibilities allows me to question notions like unity / diversity, fullness / emptyness,
materiality / immateriality …
But I don’t regard my work about the house theme as a series. I see it more as a way of
viewing or recounting the world through a specific angle.
The house dramatizes the link that human establish between his home and the world
around him.
Like the body, the concept of house sets in motion the notion of habitat as well as that
of inhabited. Through poetic exploration of the archetypal image of the house, I
question this ambiguous and inseparable relationship that both animates and
conditions us.
With the covid, apart from the fact that we, as artists, are now required (specially by
institutions but also by media and much more) to react to the extraordinary situation
we are living through, the way I look at my work has changed.
The perception of current artistic production has inevitably changed, not only for me.
All artworks are now reassessed in the light of the pandemic or containment (I am
extremely interested in the absolute syntactic opposition of these two words). My
research focuses on the house, on the inhabited. I speak of constraint, enclosure,
promiscuity as well as oppression, I speak of one inside and one outside. I talk about
collective feelings and living places. It is obvious that this questioning evolves in a
different way, but I can’t predict whether or not it will continue, whether it will keep its
relevance. And of course each piece I have produced can be considered differently,
analyzed with a new reading grid.

3- What are you currently working on? (virtual exhibitions, creative movements, collaborative
projects, maintaining production of work)


A group web exhibition with one of my work has just been launched curated by Michel
Carmentrand, with 10 works by 10 artists, titled TEIDA 2 (The Exhibition I Dream
About).
But being a material enthusiast, I am looking forward to seeing my work in the physical
world, and very happy that Michel Carmentrand just invited me again to take part in a
group exhibition at meinblau gallery in Berlin in early December, for which I will show
an artwork that I had time to finalize during this strange period.
I also enjoy the group exhibition “hors les murs” held by the city of Vandoeuvre in
France, with print artworks of 31 artists displayed in the advertising spaces of the
streets in july and august.
However, I was lucky enough to have projects planned after lockdown that stayed on
schedule.
I will show my latest artwork in a group exhibition from the 5th to the 27th of
September at La Douëra in France and I am preparing an installation for a solo show
in France at the beginning of October, following the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant
I received this year.
After that will come a solo show in aquabitArt gallery in Berlin where I will show a big in
situ installation in november.


4- What is next? – How, if at all, has this pandemic inspired further progression?


My practice finds its best expression in installations in open spaces, but this period has
led me to focus on small sculptures or even drawings, which I find exciting.
My head is full of ideas, I start thinking about future projects before I’ve even finished
the current ones, but as I said, the perception of my production changed.
Although this one is long narrowed down to a precise theme, it’s constantly evolving,
and of course I am attentive to the world around me, almost always to the very
microcosm that surrounds the artwork or the conditions of its creation. Obviously my
work will continue to evolve, but maybe radically. I will have to transcribe this
astonishment.

5- Where can we find you? Extra projects you are working on, social media, website,
exhibitions you will be in, etc.

you can find me on instagram @pascalbrateau and get an idea of my work on my
website : http://troisquatorze.fr.nf

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