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.
The exhibition is an excellent chance to discover or rediscover this major work, the winner of the first edition of the Talents Contemporains competition of the Fondation François Schneider back in 2011.
These luminous creatures take you on an extraordinary and profound journey.
(1) Inaliénable, Yves Chaudouët et Yann Grienenberger, Arles, Actes Sud, 2006
(2) L’affaire du faux poisson, Vincent Gérard, film, 52min, 2008