L’effet du logis, par Antoine Moulinard

Antoine Moulinard devotes himself, body and soul, to ceramics. This medium has long been downplayed by high art. Cherishing the idea of building a safe space for himself, he promised himself that, one day, he would live in a palace, ideal according to his criteria, conceived and designed by himself. I’ve always been fascinated by artists whose ambition goes beyond the framework of the usual, individuated work of art. Whether it be La Maison Picassiette (The House of a Million Pieces), near Chartres, or the Bloomsbery group in Charleston, England.

Inventing your own interior. Moulding it into your image. Intervening in reality. Transforming it. And not just bringing yourself to accept the standards set by others, by simply decorating it here and there. There is something politically utopian about these ambitious undertakings.
During summer 2023, he is in residency at the villa Noailles in Hyères, where contemporary design is given pride of place every year: his table, stools, sofa and fireplace, as well as his attraction to costumes and cross-dressing, fit organically into this context. What’s more, his exhibition will coincide with the fashion festival and the centenary of the villa where the Noailles, this hyper-fanciful couple, loved to party and disguise themselves with their friends.
In the recently vacant park house, Moulinard has teamed up with painter Elisabeth Leyshon to create an all-over mural reminiscent of an almost bourgeois, though DIY, wallpaper as a setting for an installation of eccentric, proudly handmade ceramics.

Moulinard’s proliferating aesthetics and, for the most part, highly recognisable references can be deployed ad infinitum: he is a scholar of popular culture and counterculture. But his erudition leaves no one out: Vallauris-style seashells, rainbow version; a cowboy, a Saint Sebastian: two gay icons, but not only; SpongeBob, a hero with deconstructed masculinity; a shaggy yeti; drawings evoking Keith Haring; the figures of the witch, the vampire, the werewolf, the devil: so many off-kilter characters, in the form of half-drag, half-folklore dolls, but also queer ornaments, reviving earlier versions, far less binary and moralising than in the tales of Perrault or Disney. In his installations, he also inserts knick-knacks found at flea markets, glass dolphins and garden gnomes, which cheerfully mock good taste.

Moulinard’s skilfully arranged shapes have a finish of their own. But make no mistake: the sloppy style or the gloopsy (this dripping enamel) involve great technical virtuosity, but the kind that doesn’t show off. Moulinard seeks perfection in imperfection, to better reintroduce the exquisite pleasure of bodies and materials, in all their diversity and heterogeneity. Because in the end, this is what it’s all about.

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