For his exhibition “Material Dreams”, Jocelyn Villemont offers a display that condenses different production chains, reflecting the cycle of image consumption, irradiation, scattering and fading, the chemistry of dreams as products of sublimation and synthesis operation. Placing the cycle of image consumption and reproduction alongside that of washing (clothes-washing and brainwashing), “Material Dreams” could look like a “materialist daydream” about the mind’s contamination by visual culture, introducing the element of transfers from human to object, from the utilitarian to the decorative, the domestic to the virtual.
Pillowcases, supports on which we are setting up and spending most of our lives, first faded during a wash cycle and then decorated with vortex images, cosmos, washing pictograms or clothing labels are pinned to the walls beside distorting mirrors. Matrix of this redistribution of content, a washing machine rotates in a closed circuit, diffusing its infra-sounds in the manner of a domestic drone. The dream and the various transfer processes are considered here by the artist as a form of “curation”.
Jocelyn Villemont’s practice stems from a dual principle of appropriation and fictionalisation. He questions the “natural environment” of artworks in the era of networks, the made tangible effects and scenarios rendered possible through the fluidification of cultural and aesthetic typologies, as well as the notion of art as a derivative product.
Jocelyn Villemont uses quick execution processes, such as transfer, sticking, flocking, printing and sketching, borrowing forms of object customisation and stylisation that cause appropriation practices to evolve according to the ever-increasing speed of turnover between innovation and obsolescence. With humour, his work exploits the fertility of the misunderstandings and parallels made possible by the de-hierarchisation of sources and the loss of historical antecedents of forms as a result of translations, replicas, varieties. In the context of the widespread aestheticisation of lifestyles, of the viral migration of images and imaginations on social networks, it feeds on the immanent theatricality of a hyper-connected day-to-day life, operating through transfers between aesthetic and cultural registers, while regularly resorting to anachronism (from of the history of abstraction to the history of raves, from minimalist sculpture to catwalks).
This is all a matter of traces (the lines of a drawing or painting), fragments, documents that, far from being distorted, diminished parts of an absent whole, are so many moulds of form. By constantly creating a mise en abyme through the reversibility of his experience as consumer and producer, Jocelyn Villemont often offers scenic spaces of the nature of a display, demonstration sculptures made with common materials (plywood, plastic, metal, fabric) inspired as much by standards of museological or ethnological forms of presentation as by interior design and shop windows; and they are tasked with presenting a set of creations: clothing lines made of raw canvas, a set of neomodernist glazed stoneware set, badges.
His environments hybridise found, often archetypal images and elements also inspired by the computer screens or playgrounds (It’s Our Playground is the name of the collective he founded with Camille Le Houezec). Relaax.in, a collaborative virtual platform, presents itself as an interface that promotes the “connected break” (coffee, cuddle, gentleness), an alternative solution to disconnection and a remedy for the anxiety that comes from overexposure to images. The project has developed into an environment composed of objects, images and furniture: an enameled chocolate bar, playful furniture and a series of posters recapturing the standards of visual culture in the 1990s, the years of soft and cool, of acid-culture, and the internet stone age (Stoned Happy Face, 2011). These installations often explore the confusion between the terms wakefulness/productivity, creation/wandering, wandering/illumination.
Conceived primarily as a process of organising and arranging contents and sources, borrowing just as much from the figure of the curator (which he also is), Villemont’s approach is marked by sharp attention to the question of “making” (the making of things, imaginations, tendencies, the exhibition, knowledge, dreams etc.) and the question of transfer (in terms of material and ideal operations), assuming that each work brings into play its natural condition as an artefact, as a synthetic product, and as an inter-textual meshing.
Text: Clara Guislain