The Semiose Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition by Sébastien Gouju, which was produced as part of the Artist Residency program of the Hermès Corporate Foundation, under the sponsorship of Françoise Pétrovitch.
From October 2018 to March 2019, the artist produced among the leather craftsmen of the Glove maker of Saint-Junien (Limousin), one of his most ambitious works to date: sculptures in black lamb leather, reproducing various large plants. As an extension of his previous works where the material and the subject form a happy and caustic hiatus, here soft and supple lamb leather mimics the delicate plant, while the stereotypes of the black leather — bad boys, rock and SM — are contradicted by the innocence of a simple plant.
The works are entitled Contre-jour in reference to the black palms of the postcards, seized against the light in the setting sun of paradisiacal beaches. This crepuscular garden of Eden breathes to the artist some poetic oxymorons borrowed from Baudelaire or Verlaine, "beauty interlope", "dying sun" shining with a "sad splendor." The romantic and decadent spirit — the one who loves artificial flowers in fabrics, the heavy and precious perfumes, the spectral atmospheres — infused into the work to the painted pedestals that seem to float above the ground.
The works are assembled only from non-exploitable leather pieces from the glove maker and, in a confusion maintained between vegetable tanned leather and "vegetation leather", these new sculptures confirms Sébastien Gouju in his proven strategies of displacement and diversion, signed here in the most luxurious way.