cyprien gaillard: rubble and revelation at fondazione nicola trussardi cyprien gaillard: rubble and revelation at fondazione nicola trussardi
nov 16, 2012

cyprien gaillard: rubble and revelation at fondazione nicola trussardi

‘gates’, 2012frottages on paper82 x 107 cmcourtesy sprüth magers berlin londonimage © designboom


cyprien gaillard: rubble and revelationfondaxione nicola trussardicaserma XXIV maggio, via vincenzo monti 59, milannovember 13 – december 16, 2012


approaching his artistic practice much like that of an archaeologist, cyprien gaillard travels the globe in search of modern-day monuments, documenting their existence and gradual decline with the precision of a scholar. capturing these relics and ruins through the medium of photography, video, sculpture and collage, the french artist has developed a vast archive of imagery which reflects the destruction and deterioration of our society, an expression of his obsession with the poetry of decay, through tracing the roots of dramatic social changes.

set within caserma XXIV maggio military bakery – a site which had supplied bread to all of the military complexes in the lombardy region for over a century (closing in 2005), and nourished the whole city of milan during world war II – the selected venue for the young french artist’sfirst solo show in italy, is rich in memories, reinforcing and complimenting the themes he addresses through his work.

‘rubble and revelation’ takes the viewer on a journey through the past and present, amidst a myriad of cultural contexts which bear the scars of violent transformation and the hallmarks of collapse. each raw image is a piece of gaillard’s collective memory, as if through the eyes of a documentary maker, conveying the enduring process of erasure and reexamination that landmarks and icons undergo over the course of history showing the social and cultural transformations for which we experience.



‘gates’, 2012frottages on paper82 x 107 cmcourtesy sprüth magers berlin londonimage © designboom



the ‘gates’ series was developed when gaillard roamed the streets of californian metropolises in which he collected imprints of manhole covers, some of which read ‘city of los angeles – made in india’, conflating different localities and overlapping distant geographies.


‘gates’, 2012frottages on paper82 x 107 cmcourtesy sprüth magers berlin londonimage © designboom



installation view of ‘gates’image © designboom



‘new picturesque’, 2012postcards, papercollages, 20 x 28 x 2,8 cm eachcourtesy sprüth magers berlin londonimage © designboom



old black and white postcards depicting ancient castles are covered with torn segments of paper, hiding and revealing their silhouettes in ‘new picturesque’. their application conceals the decorative details , stripping them of their function, in which gaillard questions the deeper meaning of their grizzled edifices.


‘new picturesque’ is composed of postcards of castles whose edifices are blocked out by torn pieces of paperimage © designboom



through the act of hiding the decorative elements of the buildings, gaillard questions the meaning of the castles’ edificesimage © designboom



‘new picturesque’ in the context of the old military bakeryimage © designboom 



‘millions into darkness’, 2012showcases, pieces of meteorites, B/W photographs130 x 130 x 90 cm eachcourtesy sprüth magers berlin londonimage © designboom


an installation of large vitrines, ‘millions into darkness’ contains an assortment of fragments and vestiges which the artist has arranged withscientific precision – dozens of black and white photographs salvaged from the archives of various american newspapers are rescued from darkness,as the work’s title suggests. the piece reconstructs a history of conflict and catastrophe in which news photos and documents are juxtaposedwith fragments of meteorites – shrapnel fallen to earth from the depths of the universe – that might function as weapons of a new kind ofurban guerilla warfare.


archival photographs from american newspapers are arranged in juxtaposition with pieces of meteoritesimage © designboom



the images depict moments of catasropheimage © designboom



image © designboom



general views of the exhibition venueimage © designboom



‘geographical analogies’, 2006-2011mixed media3 tables, 66 boes, 65 x 48 x 10 cm eachcourtesy sprüth magers berlin london / bugada & gargnel, paris / laura bartlett gallery, londonimage © designboom


set-up as a series of panels reminiscent of displays often seen in natural history museums, gaillard has positioned nine polaroids within each caseof his installation ‘geographical analogies’. these collages are a collection of photographs which he has taken on all five continents, an atlas of the world, bringing forth anologies and contrasts between locations around the globe that share a sense of the sublime: from the pyramids of mexico, to housing projects in the bronx, to french castles and public sculptures in iraq.



collages of polaroids arranged in compositions of nine, present photographs which  have been shot by the artist over five continentsimage © designboom



the two-dimensional works draw analogies and contrasts of various global locations which share a sense of the sublime image © designboom



detail of the polaroidsimage © designboom



the photographs capture such sites as french castles and public monuments in iraqimage © designboom



image © designboom



image © designboom




the set-up of the panels is reminiscent of displays seen in a natural history museum image © designboom




‘real remnants of fictive wars V’, 200435mm filmloop: 7 min 15 seccourtesy sprüth magers berlin london / bugada & gargnel, paris / laura bartlett gallery, londonimage © designboom


‘real remnants of fictive wars’ is a compilation of five short performances in which gaillard has set off industrial fire extinguishers within carefully selected landscapes. smoke slowly wafts out of a tree in the background in a small act of reversible vandalism which first obliterates and then reveals the composure of the surrounding environment.


image © designboom



the orchestrated scene takes place on a castle balaustradeimage © designboom



‘the lake arches’, 2007video DVD, color, silentloop: 1 min 38 seccourtesy sprüth magers berlin london / bugada & gargnel, paris / laura bartlett gallery, londonimage © designboom


in his work, the french artist weaves a web of references to 1960s american art, debates about urban planning, preservation, ecology and the rise and fall of modernist utopias. in ‘the lake arches’ gaillard’s capture of derelict buildings and shifting landscapes romantically incarnate the inevitable fate that the passage of time holds for all human efforts. produced using a handy cam, the film shows young men diving into a shallow body of water, a game which evokes a rite of passage, one of them emerging with a bloody, broken nose. an architectural relic – ricardo bofill’s apartment block in saint-quentin-en-yveslines near paris – stands in the background, watching helplessly like a postmodern ghost.


‘the lake arches’image © designboom



image © designboom



image © designboom



cyprien gaillardimage © designboom



the fondazione nicola trussardi team from left to right: barbara roncari, production; massimiliano gioni, artistic director and curator; roberta tenconi, special projectsimage © designboom

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