Artist: Mathis Collins
Venue: Crèvecoeur, Marseille
Exhibition Title: La Maison des artistes
Date: February 1 – March 30, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Crèvecoeur, Paris and Marseille
La Maison des Artistes, Mathis Collins’s first exhibition in a French gallery, is the continuation of his exhibition Éducateur in Longtang (Zurich) which took The Yellow Kid (1) as the central figure of a series of “naughtiness” evoking, as in a self-portrait, the figure of the artist himself. The Yellow Kid comes over as an artistic pedagogue and rebel, a spanner in the well-oiled works of a cultural policy giving itself a good conscience. Here, Mathis Collins draws away from the figure of the child, to confront that of the adult. La Maison des Artistes is a world of violence, noise, injuries, deceptions and scars in which a child’s naughtiness become an adult’s crimes. The central figure is that of a clown in a pointed hat, promoting his own misfortunates, reminiscent of the artist himself.
The exhibition works like an entre-sort (the façade of a fairground stall, whose decorations, claims and various other artifices are there to incite the public to enter an interior, which often turns out to be disappointing). The central character thus guides us into an attraction announced as being spectacular, but which ends, 12 sculptures later, with an idle, penniless figure, who has failed to put on a truly sensational show. Like the different steps of an artistic career, alternating success and failure.
On joining the official Maison des Artistes, it is necessary to declare your identity and the artistic category which your work belongs to: painting, sculpture, engraving, et cetera… This process of self-identification is here intensified by Mathis Collins who toys with the traditional codes of fine art.
At the heart of the concept of “popular art” lies the anonymity of the creator. Creation in the popular arts can be distinguished from an oeuvre by the non-recognition of its maker. Without a signature, an artist can only then be a Pierrot Lunaire or Mime, an icon, a character that a singer of children’s songs would include in their repertoire.
Mathis Collins studied fine art in Cergy, Metz, Montreal and Brussels before participating in Open School East in London. He has in particular exhibited his work at the Palais de Tokyo, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Friche Belle de Mai, the Riijksakademie in Amsterdam, the 1m3 Lausanne and Longtang, Zürich. He is currently participating to the Lafayette Anticipations residency.