Isabelle Cornaro

A Sort of Commercial Eroticness

Set of works exhibited at Centre Pompidou as part of the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2021.
Paris, October 6, 2021 - January 3, 2022.


Paysages XIII, 2021
Wood, Acrylic painting on spray, found objects, variables dimensions.
Eyesore, 2020
HR animation, color, silent, 2'16".
Transient, 2020
16 mm film transfered on numerric support, color, silent, 1'18".
- Reproductions, 2021
Acrylic painting sprayed on the wall, variables dimensions.

Rapporteur: Clément Dirié
Curator of the exhibition: Philippe Bettinelli

In collaboration with Galerie Balice - Hertling


In an attempt to deconstruct our perceptions, Isabelle Cornaro explores our relationships with objects and their images. For the Prix Marcel Duchamp, she uses installations, painting, video and film, to present a group of works in which images are made and unmade, inviting the viewer to a sensory and critical reflection.

While clearly inspired by the tradition of classical painting, the main piece, a new work from the Paysages (Landscapes) series uses the vocabulary of installation and of very diverse exhibition techniques to propose a mise-en-abyme of the art of representation. The installation as a whole is presented as an image with different levels of interpretation, and which is more or less clearly sourced. It is made out of standardized objects issued from mass production or the entertainment industry (scenery elements, accessories, etc.) that appear like signs and symbols as much as full shapes, in a way where fake mixes with fragmentation and grotesqueness.

An attempt to deconstruct our perceptions.

In a dynamic wandering set by the central and frontal position of this Paysages, the artist goes on with her exploration of the ambiguous affective links that we maintain with the goods of a productionist material culture. She analyses the mechanisms of a scopic impulse that sees human beings attempting to extend their existence through the objects they covet or reject.
The short sequences of the animation Eyesore (2020) confront us with violent and worrying mutations of animated human bodies into inanimate objects.
The film Transient (2020) shows artefacts similar to those of Paysages, which have been stripped of their functions and presented only through their visual dimension. They question the subjective links that preside over the flow of objects within our societies.

Conceived as a visual and framed transposition of film images, the new painting Reproductions is sprayed directly on the wall, in an identical format to the film that it faces. Whereas its powdery texture evokes the film grain, the layering of colours gives form to an optical mix that brings us back to the beginnings of abstraction. Its ambiguous status between materiality and ethereal wavering offers a flat reflection of the pictorial quality of the central Paysages, and brings us back to the relationships of transposition links from an image into an object, from one medium to the other.

Isabelle Cornaro was born in 1974, she lives and works in Paris and Geneva.