Elsa Duault probes what is anchored in time, history, intimate thickness and universality in the most intangible forms, objects or gestures. Combining painting, sculpture, performance and digital work, the artist revisits the major pictorial themes, from landscape to portrait.
In 2017, after a master’s degree in Marketing, a self-taught artistic practice and several exhibitions of her paintings in France, she left for South Africa to take courses at the very famous Michaelis School of Fine Art in the University of Cape Town (UCT) where she continues to develop a series of works based on the technique of pouring. By pouring thick mixtures of acrylic on various supports (circular canvases, fabrics, etc.), then blowing on the paint using a straw, she thus composes abstract landscapes whose mineral forms are modeled at a distance of by hand, without direct contact with the material. In the tradition of Kandinsky, the artist forges connections between the arts and embellishes his pictorial research with performances, collaborations with dancers and musicians, videos and augmented reality animations. These works were exhibited between 2018 and 2021 at the Candice Berman gallery in Johannesburg.
In Cape Town, she also discovered the work of Lynda Benglis and the sculptural properties of polyurethane foam. The material chosen dictates a particular temporality and an almost performative mode of operation: its ability to petrify the fabric almost instantaneously does not allow any repentance and requires great precision in gestures.
In 2022, four years after her return to France and a succession of encounters, she will make it the starting point of “Memories & trousseaux”.
Present in various forms in most cultures and civilizations, the tradition of the feminine/wedding trousseau offers the artist the opportunity to handle her favorite themes in new terms: her fascination for time, space and their cycles, for memory and intergenerational ties. Her attraction for nature and landscape, which here becomes an intimate landscape, or her desire to tie her works at the intersection of the modeling of forms and the immaterial, shape her approach to the subject and direct Elsa Duault towards the creation of drapés like unmade beds. Having created and hosted the monthly program Matière(s) on Campus radio for a year, Elsa Duault mobilizes this experience to conduct a series of interviews with women who have had to put together a trousseau. She collects their bedsheets on the way and freezes them with polyurethane foam on circular formats.
For the artist, this dual work of investigation and sculpture is first and foremost a way of approaching the portrait genre. However, it does not exclude a feminist reading: concerned at the outset to show whirlwinds, turbulences, movements and forms present in nature, Mémoires & trousseaux inclines towards the evocation of female intimacy and approaches matrimonial inheritance as a universal fact, like birth and death.
From September 15 to November 6, 2022, as part of the matrimony days organized by the HF association, this series will be presented for the first time during a monographic exhibition at the Château de Gaillon (27). It is placed next to her collection of old documentation on trousseau and needlework. Elsa Duault also presents a monumental installation under the 12 meters hight tip of the castel main tower, consisting of a 70-meter piece of woven linen and raw flax fiber.