Fanny Allié at ArtBloc

The opening reception for “Fanny Allié: The Glowing Home” at ArtBloc in Hamilton Square is this Thursday, March 13, from 6 to 8pm. We had a daytime preview of the work, but we’re looking forward to viewing the neon and sound installation at night.

courtesy the artist

courtesy of the artist

We’re delighted to have Fanny Allié exhibiting in downtown JC once again. Her video “From above” was in the first group exhibition held at Curious Matter in 2007. The image of the artist “levitated” along with the story of waking to discover she “had lost [her] body during the night” is enchanting. There have been many other exhibitions for Ms. Allié since then. Among them, an installation of her “Silhouettes” at St. Eustache Church in Paris, and currently “Getting To Know You” at 601 tully in Syracuse until April 26.

New York Magazine’s “Approval Matrix” recently featured a sculpture Ms. Allié installed in Tompkin’s Square Park. It seems people had taken to dressing her life-sized silhouette with scarves, hats and other items. NYmag was particularly amused when someone had duck-tapped the hands of her figure to suggest a bondage scene.

We thought we’d take the occasion of her ArtBloc installation as an opportunity to ask her a few questions, including whether she was pleased or distressed about the Tompkin’s Square installation.

 A Few Questions for Fanny Allié:

Fanny, you recently installed a sculptural work, “Serendipity” in Tompkins Square Park. It’s a life-sized, steel, silhouette of a human figure. People have taken to dressing the sculpture. It has donned hats, scarves, and tee shirts. It has been wrapped in tape, and has had a variety of objects attached to it, from sticks to shovels. Can you tell us what your initial response was to these “interventions”?
In the very beginning, when the first red ribbon was added to the sculpture, it bothered me and I had to remove it. I went and took the ribbon off. Then I started to realize that the sculpture wasn’t mine anymore, it belonged to the public, being in a public realm. I then began to document the changes as often as I could.

photo courtesy the artist, Serendipity with "piece of wood attached to the neck + black wool glove"

photo courtesy the artist, Serendipity with “piece of wood attached to the neck + black wool glove”

Were they totally unexpected?
Yes

Have they changed how you think about public art in anyway?
Not really. They actually reinforced the idea that for me public art is a great source of possible exchanges and encounters with other people. In the case of Serendipity, those interventions are almost magical; they appear out of the blue, at times with humor or poetry.

What role does context/location play in your work?
It plays a big role. When I propose a piece, I always do research about the environment, social, historical, geographical, the context in which the work will be received. I am interested in the relationship between the artwork, the place and the people who inhabits the place. 
For my installation at Artbloc In Jersey City, I mainly asked people that I met around Hamilton Park to sing a song for my project. Next time they will be walking near the shipping container located near Hamilton Park, they will hear their own voice playing.

You also create small papier-mâché pieces and works in clay. (One of which we exhibited in the Curious Matter/Proteus Gowanus collaboration The Fool’s Journey.) I’m inclined to read them as objects from a cabinet of curiosities, particularly when you display them on shelves or in a grid. Can you tell us the relationship between these pieces and your larger public works?
In my studio, I usually create small objects using different materials, like paper-maché, plaster or more recently fabric. And yes, they could belong in a cabinet of curiosity. I like experimenting with material and the hand-made process. I don’t have the same relationship with my larger works because I’m drawing it, but I am not making the work physically myself, I have it made by someone else. The connection between all my works is definitely the human figure and its trace.

From above, video, 1:32, Fanny Allié

From above, video, 1:32, Fanny Allié

Lastly… you work in steel and neon, but also papier-mâché, clay and fabric. You have an interest in the “fleeting moment.” Can you speak to your choices of medium? What role does the permanence or ephemerality of materials play in your work?
The project and the idea behind the work dictate the choice of medium. My work often relates to ephemerality so I use fragile materials, clay, neon, paper. For my series Artifacts for which each object was referring to a piece of news, I used paper-maché because it was like keeping the envelope of the object, its trace. We read or hear all these news on a daily basis but only a few remains in our mind, they come and go.

Ms. Allié’s Artbloc exhibition is curated by Brendan S. Carroll. For more about Fanny Allié visit her website.

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