Gilles Fromonteil



Ceramics as a space for tension

Gilles Fromonteil is a historical artist; the kind of history that involves the masses in a quest for a better world. He crushes it to extract a new one. When taking on the world of clay, Gilles Fromonteil overcame the complex processes involved in manufacturing the beautiful workmanship of porcelain. Over many years, he set up his workshop in porcelain factories, so his work developed around the formal registers of the tableware. He diverts this register, one so characteristic of the decorative arts, by playing with the figures from history. His work ranges from the figures of the communist temple to those clinging to the liberalism of the Chicago school, and seeks to continue the tradition of ceramics which make a living from historical events and figures.

By working in collaboration with workers and craftspeople, he remains grounded in the economic and social realities. Nevertheless, he remains free to think ready-made thoughts, like his apprehension about working with clay. He does not hide the difficulties involved. His sculptures mix various forms but all of them are referenced. He shows how hard it is to work by showing the marks of the moulds and the distortions created by the interaction of shrinkage. In the series of plates, the pictorial image dominates. We recognise the Maos, the Fidels, the Georges and historical events, but yet the representations are tinged with romanticism, with the poetic nature of the struggle. It is as though these figures have had the weight of history removed from them. They regain a degree of humanity. Sometimes, as well as historical figures, animal representations dominate, with the animal as a metaphor for humanity. His entire output is a dialogue, a kind of militant, formalised conversation, reinforced by a history of social chaos between the people who produce and the people who profit from it.


Christian Garcelon


Exhibition from March 16 to April 23, 2019.
Opening Saturday, March 16 from 6pm to 9pm preceded by a meeting with the artist at 5pm.

Open every day from 11am to 6pm.