This Saturday at the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 gallery, Claire Courtin-Clarins caught up with her friend, the French artist Cyprien Gaillard. Inspired by “the beauty of failure,” as he once told Interview Magazine, Gaillard’s latest work includes crumbling buildings, smoky forests, and long chains of Instant Photos – which represent something of a failure themselves now that Polaroid’s becoming extinct.
Here, Claire talks about the exhibit, and the party that followed:
“Like me, Cyprien just moved to New York City.
He’s a very romantic artist who’s only 33 years old, and his work focuses on what we leave behind, both in nature and architecture – something he’s really passionate about. For Cyprien, the fascination comes from evaluating what happens to a building with time – how architecture becomes a ruin. He’s a huge traveler, curious about discovering new landscapes and culture, and – as a friend talking! – he’s not easy to pin down, so I was really glad to see him.
This show is very experimental, so even though you can look at photographs and video of the work, I advise you to see it in real life. It’s a retrospective of his work – many pictures, collages, and short videos of what he’s seen and what fascinates him during travel. In this exhibit, there are many different rooms and they chronicle his experiences with buildings under demolition, manmade smoke in wild forests, a big street fight, the Iraq war — the art is very poetic and intense, and there’s also music that really transports you. (Most of it is by his friends, the French musicians Kudlam and Sebastien Bouchet.)
After the exhibit, M. Wells cooked a very good dinner – French food, of course – and we ate underneath a heated dome inside the courtyard. Then we went to a bar designed by the famous architect Mies Van Der Rohe – there wasn’t any music, but the space was resonant enough.
On Sunday, we went back to the dome at PS1 for a dance party. He got the band Egyptian Lover to play, everyone was dancing, the whole room was super-dark and the music was just so good.
Thanks, Cyprien, for bringing me into your fascinating world!”