Les poissons des
grandes profondeurs ont pied

Ten years after completing the work Poissons des Grandes Profondeurs ont pied, Yves Chaudouët, an intentionally iconoclastic and uncategorizable artist, presents his vast installation consisting of 200 pieces of glass: starfish, jellyfish and shoals of fish, suspended or delicately placed, shimmer in the dark and invite the viewer on a meditative and metaphysical journey.

Initial reflections and forms of these underwater worlds seem to have first emerged with a monotype in 1997, Deux Poissons abyssaux and series of lithographs and engravings. 

The dense and ever-changing work of Yves Chaudouët heads in a number of directions, including an evident interest in the concept of chiaroscuro. This interplay between light and shade is most commonly seen in painting but is also used in other techniques, such as in his work on abysses. The idea of suspension, both literal and figurative, is one of the artist’s key themes, revealed in this installation where objects gradually appear out of the darkness, unveiling a weightless underwater world. In this universe beneath the waves, an unknown and mysterious form of life plays out, inspiring a great deal of research and imaginative leaps. The artist seems to be delving into our unconsciousness – and his own – appealing to our senses, and lulling us into a state of levitation. The fish, which are the inspiration of the work, live at depths where no light is able to penetrate, apart from the bioluminescence produced by the living organisms themselves – including hideous creatures, jellyfish, opaline starfish or glass eels.

Yves Chaudouët’s obsession of making invisible elements visible led him to begin a long-term creation and production cycle, initially unveiling a prototype back in 2001 with Poisson des Abysses, created at Murano. He then worked on his project in close collaboration with the master glassworkers at the International Centre of Glass Art (CIAV) in 2006 and 2007, eventually creating Les Poissons des grandes profondeurs ont pied. Every part of the installation combines blown glass, blowtorch moulded glass, and silvered glass. In addition, the artistic thriller, Inaliénable(1), written by two authors, tells the story of the beginning of this adventure in the world of glass, and a quirky fiction L’affaire du faux poisson(2) documents the project.

These luminous creatures take you on an extraordinary and profound journey. 

Yves Chaudouët

Born 1959, Paris, France. Lives and works in Bazas, France.
Rooted in painting and poetry, the works of Yves Chaudouët put together a cosmogony in which words, creatures, objects, and landscapes speak of their relations: romantic, geometric, colored, political. Yves Chaudouët was associated artist for La Criée (Rennes) in 2015. With his installation of hundreds of luminescent creatures in crystal (Fish of Great Depths Have Feet), he became the first to win the François Schneider foundation’s Contemporary Talents competition in 2011. His photography, installations, and paintings are on display at CNAP, in the New York Public Library, at the FRAC Artothèque du Limousin, at the Centre des Livres d’Artistes, and at the Albertina. He is also the author of many books, most recently Essai la peinture (Actes Sud, 2015).