Le Diable est dans les détails - 2016 (solo show)

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Born in 1989 in France

Works and lives in France

She fears that her irony will not be easily perceptible. Laure Mary-Couégnias in effect treats apparently benign figures: animals and plants, in a naïve fashion. Patterns from African fabrics and tapestries come to mind. Except that these animals are sometimes skeletal Chimera, they have a curious tendency to mutate (the tortoise burger or the unzipped butterfly) and her plants are regularly phallic vegetables, such as the aubergines in series, entitled Couvrez ces aubergines que je ne saurais voir / Cover these aubergines that I cannot look upon (2015). Yet these solanaceae do not find their model in the vegetable patch: the artist was inspired by the aubergine emoji that instagrammers use to share dick pics.

A first remark: contrary to what we may believe, her art is not disconnected from its epoch. It is indeed the opposite, as the patterns are often taken from images found on the internet while the canvasses adopt the format of a screen: she also paints the edge of the frame, as if it was a tablet. The pleasure of the multiple layers and levels of reading.

A second remark: it is not only because of the possible degrees of interpretation that the canvasses of Laure Mary-Couégnias are misleadingly naïve, even perverse (that is to say, in a literal sense: totally reversed). Her technique, that consists of varnishing certain parts to give them relief on a flat background, aims to seduce the watcher. After third grade, tired of classic subjects, she joined a sewing school before becoming a costume maker for cinema: this explains her sense of assortment and aura. In her studio on the outskirts of Lyon, the canvasses build up. “Sometimes I produce work quicker than I think” she says amusedly. “My work is a constant obsession when I am painting, and when I am not painting my obsession is to go and make a painting.” We stop before an epiphanic, brilliant and yet totally far-fetched onion, in a similar vein as the rest of her production (the omnidirectional treatment of light, in particular, does not help render her visions earthly). She says: “Ah yes, this one, it was painted to be particularly attractive”. Irony contributes to a position, acting both against a certain idea of “feminine” painting and against “feminism” in painting.

A third remark: obsession is a driving force for Laure Mary-Couégnias. The format of her paintings varies and depends on the place wherein they are. If she has a space three metres in height available to her, she will paint a canvas three metres high. Her subjects often come from “obsessions” (for a film, for example) that she wants to free herself from. More recently, she has begun to make models of each one of her exhibitions, so that each painting can be nourished by the others and so that we can understand the irony in the work through the presentation. The works weave relationships with each other, relationships based on form, on themes or even simply “on gestures”: “in fact”, she writes, it is “a painting that seeks coherency with the world”. 

Written by Éric Loret 

Literary, cinema, visual arts and music critic for the daily newspaper Libération and France Culture



2016 - Le diable est dans les détails - Galerie Houg - Paris, France

       - Inauguration - Mairie de Vougy, France

       - L’Amour s’achète - Galerie l’Oeil Vintage - Lyon, France

2013 - Le Mur - Ensba - Lyon, France



2016 - 20e Prix Antoine Marin (Parrainage Marc Desgrandchamps) - Espace Julio Gonzalez - Arcueil, France

       - Les Enfants du Sabbat - Le Creux de l’Enfer - Thiers, France

2015 - Prix de Paris - Ensba en résonance avec la Biennale de Lyon 2015 - Lyon, France



Residency Ateliers du Grand Large Adera Décines-Charpieu (France) from July 2015

Jury mention : Prix Linossier Ensba Lyon 2015

Publications on :

Le Monde n°22235 - Philippe Dagen - July 2016

Beaux-Arts Magazine - Écoles d’art - Françoise-Aline Blain - March 2016

Initiales N°6 - Ensba Lyon - September 2015

Le progrès 09/01/2015 - Métiers de la création : des profils capables d’innover et de bousculer - Blandine Baudier