Bernard Calet’s oeuvre is stamped by architecture both as a reference and as a working medium, as much in its spatial as in its political and social dimensions. His installations which mix sculpture, photography, video, neon light, and sound are prepared from archetypal architectured forms removed from their context and situated in art venues and public places, in order to rethink the role and perception that we have of them. In 1998, with Maison TV shown at the Ivry-sur-Seine Art Centre, he came up with an arrangement of two “houses” traversed by colour television sets uninterruptedly broadcasting programmes in progress. The almost blinding fluorescent light, the clashes of scale between different objects, the idea of mobility and circulation, and the presence of the diffused image recur in many of the artist’s works: Construction mobile, 1997, shown on several different occasions in varying configurations; Fluo, 2003; Movie Land, 2003; Maisons-Fluos, 2007/08; and Maisons-Extension, 2009. Sometimes with subdued violence, these works enabled Calet to question the relations between inside and out, and between public and private. With Hybride (1997), a video in which a model of a mobile home was grafted onto a show house, the artist rethought the fixedness of the contemporary “home”, a questioning which we find again with the exhibition Translation, for which he made three works which also referred to displacement, congestion, and the experience of isolation: like in a warehouse Dé/ménage/ment presented the block formed by the contents of a truck, with a volume of 80 cu. m. after loading the furniture of an apartment, the figure of a “home” in transit before finding a new mooring. In its turn, One to One, a huge penetrable sign/word expressed the figure of the body’s displacement and isolation in space.
Bernard Calet was born in Charenton, and lives and works in Tours. In 1997, together with Tania Mouraud, he won the 11th grant for monumental art from Ivry-sur-Seine. Since 2002 he has been part of the study group “Maison, Jardin, Lotissement logique d’acteurs et processus de projets/ House, Garden, Housing Estate, participant logic and project process” set up by Angers University and the Angers School of Fine Arts, where he teaches. In addition to his independent works, he has produced several public commissions, such as Tapis (2003) in Alençon, Ilôt in Tours (2004-2005) and Géographie commune (2002) in Ivry-sur-Seine. In 2003 the whole of his oeuvre was the subject of a publication (Archibooks).