READ: The Autobiography of Deux Filles' Claudine Coule, by Gemini Forque
Claudine Coule (°1982, Lourdes) is an artist who mainly works with performance. By rejecting an objective truth and global cultural narratives, Coule makes work that generates diverse meanings. Associations and meanings collide. Space becomes time and language becomes image.
Her work urge us to renegotiate performance as being part of a reactive or - at times - autistic medium, commenting on oppressing themes in our contemporary society. With the use of appropriated materials which are borrowed from a day-to-day context, she creates with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.
Her works directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. By studying sign processes, signification and communication, she presents everyday objects as well as references to texts, painting and architecture. Pompous writings and Utopian constructivist designs are juxtaposed with trivial objects. Categories are subtly reversed.
Her works question the conditions of appearance of an image in the context of contemporary visual culture in which images, representations and ideas normally function. By parodying mass media by exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society, she makes works that can be seen as self-portraits. Sometimes they appear idiosyncratic and quirky, at other times, they seem typical by-products of American superabundance and marketing.
She creates situations in which everyday objects are altered or detached from their natural function. By applying specific combinations and certain manipulations, different functions and/or contexts are created. By emphasising aesthetics, she tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, likes to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical and believes in the idea of function following form in a work.
Her works sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By investigating language on a meta-level, she seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.
Her works focus on the inability of communication which is used to visualise reality, the attempt of dialogue, the dissonance between form and content and the dysfunctions of language. In short, the lack of clear references are key elements in the work. With a conceptual approach, she tries to grasp language. Transformed into art, language becomes an ornament. At that moment, lots of ambiguities and indistinctnesses, which are inherent to the phenomenon, come to the surface.
Her works are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes. They question the coerciveness that is derived from the more profound meaning and the superficial aesthetic appearance of an image. Claudine Coule currently lives and works in Algiers.