SYLVIE AUVRAY — LES CAMBUSES

I say Accolay. Located in Vermenton on RN6, the roadside store was also a gas station with a painted and diagonal concrete design. The display units would fold back, securely storing the ceramics. The production was carried out in the village of Accolay, a few minutes away. It was rich and multi-style, ranging from Africanist inspirations or naïve art à la Peynet to loosely geometric compositions. The surface treatment would use chamotte (grog clay), or have a rugged matte blue finish, like the famous “Gauloise” style vases… This production is fascinating in that the blend of styles, various borrowings, and clever lack of culture, gives it post-modern value and positioning.

I say Le Vaucour. I don’t know much about this type of Vallauris pottery. I’m solely interested in it for a type of piece, which through an unspeakable shortcut managed to sneak its way into the local secular culinary pottery, with its numerous Suprematist spatial compositions. A repulsively speckled sur-face adorned with diagonal red and black surfaces. Ashtrays, cups, jugs… 

I don’t need to say more than propose these two paths to situate Sylvie Auvray’s work in the millenary litany of glazed fired clay that molds human civilization into a single inexorable model of survival. After that, history made things more complex and produced various narratives. But this is outside our purview.Franck Gautherot, “Wood Oven, Pizzeria, & Majolica, ” in Sylvie Auvray, Les Cambuses, 2019).


Sylvie has admitted to me that she decided to create brooms after looking out the window of a small shop in the desert, where she thought she’d caught a glimpse of a garage (for manufacture and repair) for witches’ brooms. The broom being also, of course, the preferred attribute of witches, whose demonization led to the persecution of several thousands of women from the Middle Ages onwards. And if the alleged witches were so disturbing, it is perhaps primarily because they appeared to be free and liberated women, since the witch might be the woman who escaped her husband’s clutches up the chimney, with her broom, to be ravished by the sky literally. And this is how the witch became the great feminist-identified figure, with her forbidden and scandalous sex toy, just like the bicycle seat later on, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, which was criticized for its masturbatory potential and therefore seen as detrimental to public health and morals.Anne Dressen, “Kurious Kat,” in Sylvie Auvray, Les Cambuses, 2019.

Sylvie’s sculptures are always about to do something, though you can never really tell what. They seem impatient and static at the same time. Like dogs or cute things, they will have you coo in an indecent way, making sounds that reduce language to onomatopoeia. When you look at them, you distort yourself, becoming a caricature of yourself, a comic book character. They itch, like “the brick,” in George Herriman’s comic, Krazy Kat. In one of the sketches, all we see is the brick, just lying there, but already a tension exists in anticipation of the next panel. Inevitably, it will move from the hands of the mouse to the head of the cat.  — Sarah Holveck, “Slapstick,” in Sylvie Auvray, Les Cambuses, 2019.

SYLVIE AUVRAY—LES CAMBUSES

Through October 19.

Galerie Laurent Godin

36 bis, rue Eugène Oudiné, 13th, Paris.

Excerpts from the monograph SYLVIE AUVRAY—LES CAMBUSES, 2019, Is-Land Édition.

SYLVIE AUVRAY BOOK SIGNING

Tuesday, October 1, from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Ofr Librairie

20 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 3rd, Paris.

Sylvie Auvray, Les Cambuses, Galerie Laurent Godin, 2019. Artwork images courtesy and © the artist and Galerie Laurent Godin. Book cover image courtesy and © the artist and Is-Land Édition.

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