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©François Lauginie

Home, 1999

Sylvie Ungauer
  • Artist (1963)

The bond, the knot, and anything and everything which weaves, links and re-links are recurrent themes in Sylvie Ungauer’s work. This artist is interested in the networks which structure our society, and also in the relationship between the individual, the place where he/she lives, and the outside world. The networking of various figures which she introduces in many of her projects also underpins part of her artistic approach. Getting out of the museum, going into the street, towards people, and exploring places have all very often represented imperatives. As a priority, the artist uses materials known as “vectors”, such as video, fiber optics and the Internet. At Home (2000) and Synapse (2002) are two works which, for example, she made by knitting video tape. Both talk about the house, the hearth, and the relations which the inhabitant has with the world. Their organization devised on the basis of the plan of the helix of the DNA sequence, also refers to the infinitely small, which is to say to what basically structures us. The questioning which she builds up around the “home” , “home sweet home” and dwelling is developed in her installations, videos and public works. In a project produced in Geneva, Stand By (2001), she invited passers-by to take a break by slipping into one of the 60 blue cushions provided for protection against attacks. With Habiter (2001), a set of four outfits designed to be “worn”, Ungauer brings in a moveable shelter capable of questioning ways of occupying space, even temporarily. We find the same concerns in Nowhere/Everywhere (2009), a video in which people move small cardboard houses from Brest to Gagnon in Quebec, in a “quest for the ideal place”, to try and construct another home-sweet-home, albeit in vain.

Sylvie Ungauer (Voiron, 1963), lives and works in Brest. She graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Lyon in 1987 (DNSEP), and since 2005 has been teaching at the Ecole Supérieure d’Arts in Brest, in the Video-Image Department, after working at the Université Paris VIII and in the art schools at Le Havre and Cergy. She was awarded grants in 1991 and 1992, and stayed in Stuttgart and Dortmund in Germany, where she would subsequently have several exhibitions. Between 1997 and 2000, she obtained residencies at the ENSA in Bourges with the collaboration of the FRAC Centre, at Arteppes, Espace d’Art Contemporain (Annecy) and at the Atelier Calder (Saché). She has had many solo shows in France and Germany. Three works have resulted from public commissions:  Archipel (2008, in Quimper), Babel Composition (2005, at Saint-Jean-de-Braye), and Panorama (2004) in Orléans.

Nadine Labedade