DATE: 3.10 – 6.10

For the 2023 edition of SWAB, SISSI club is pleased to present a solo presentation of new work by French artist Léna Gayaud. Entitled Wild Flowers Don’t Care Where They Grow, the exhibition presents a group of ceramics that highlight the notions of adaptability and regeneration.

Based in the Cévennes region since her early childhood, Léna Gayaud has grown up in a medieval architectural environment and with the mystical legends of the forest. In her practice, at the junction of craft and magic, she reappropriates ancient myths and knightly attributes to create a personal narrative and deconstruct exclusively male historical symbols. Sensitive to Clovis Maillet’s research on questions of gender and identity in the Middle Ages, but also on ceramics, she questions art history and social history through her medium and references. In her new work, she uses architectural and religious forms, ranging from floral ornamentation to altarpieces, to depict living beings, plants and minerals.

Linked to her rural environments, she is part of this scene of artists who tend to connect the content of their works to their contexts of production, which contrasts with a vision of rurality limited to the role of a ‘theme’ of exhibitions. Her creative processes steam from the journeys that the artists make in their territory. She testify to the quest, the fumbling in the narrative imagination of their paintings and ceramics.

For SWAB art fair, the artworks are linked to the notion of cycle, the idea that things come to an end to give way to others. Wild Flowers Don’t Care Where They Grow is a hymn to thinking about possible lives and imaginations which refers as much to the pastoral burning as to the capitalist ruins developed by Anna Tsing in ‘The Mushroom at the End of the World’. For the anthropologist, being interested in ruins does not mean contemplating a desolate landscape but learning to grasp what, discreetly, is going on there. The ruins carry within them a form of narrative, ‘which feeds the imagination and the sensibility’ and leads to rethink what could be considered ‘reactionary, derisory or insignificant’.

By playing with words, and taking care with the titles of these ceramics (Foot slayed by a flower, A wander through what remains, Barefoot ballade) Léna Gayaud aims to express the poetry that can be perceived in the hostility of nature.

‘A walk through the bartas (small bushes that prickle in Cevenol), getting scratched by the thorns. Bare feet on hot, pointed rocks carved by time, wind and water. Paths traced by the passage of animals. Colors of day, night, twilight, as when the silhouette of things is darker than the night.

A walk like a game, a roll of the dice, like a set, an epic.’