Thomas Teurlai makes machines. Etymologically, a machine comes from the Greek μηχανή (mākhanā), “ingenious invention”. Thomas Teurlai’s inventions are a way of butchering the world, of looking at it in a shifted way.
This began with the discovery of abandoned objects in the open air on the outskirts of the Villa Arson, where the artist trained in the 2010s. A classic career path, with a stint at the Beaux-Arts school in Nantes beforehand, but a fairly radical position in his artistic commitments, starting with a way of living in the wastelands, producing and inhabiting them.
In the wild dumps of his beginnings, he took advantage of the potential of the machine, developed new tricks, and of course questioned our relationship to production and economic mechanisms. He was also captivated by the magic of the movements generated by these machines.
Thomas Teurlai’s works are often sculptures, gigantic totems. They stand powerfully in space and wait for the visitor to fully experience them.
Washing machines, shower cubicles, cylinders of urban tags, blocks of cement, a forest of metal… his world is turned upside down, as if bombed, in deflagration or the day after a party, a little stunned.
Mash-up belongs to these intriguing devices, where a stroboscope, a vinyl turntable and the shower’s flow speak to us of the dielectric properties of water but above all propose a slightly crazy interpretation of opera, trance, electro parties and a return to the future.
The first version of the work was created in a bathroom in Switzerland, during a residency in the Villa Bernasconi. For 10 years Thomas Teurlai has been refining his protocol, because things are not left to chance in his work, even if the works often start with an accident. The rubbing, the mixing, the bass levels, the hermeticity of this sarcophagus cabin… everything is studied. We then enter into a collective and interior experience, where the vibrations take hold of our guts, where the body and the mind are together. The machine comes to life, on the edge of anthropomorphic visions.