Vivien Roubaud was born in 1986.
He lives and works in Brussels.
The artist aims to extract unusable qualities or properties hidden in the objects that surround us in our daily life. The active cohabitations that he orchestrates often clash, adopting precarious and unstable equilibriums. Bypassing functionalities and disorganising savoirfaire are goals that require him to adopt a distanced view. Dust or
pollen, printer or freezer parts are brought into play to create hybrid installations, which often maintain a tenuous dependence on fragile technical solutions
Graduated of DNSEP with distinction at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Art of Villa Arson (Nice) in 2011.
Among his recent group exhibitions: Saison 17, Lieu Commun (Toulouse, 2013); «SUNSHINE & PRECIPITATION Part 2», Catalyst Arts, (Belfast, 2012); WATT, La Station (Nice, 2012); ?YOUNG & RESTLESS, Vidéochroniques (Marseille, 2012); Demain c'est loin, Galerie de la Marine (Nice, 2011). Solo exhibition as part of the Modules Fondation
Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, from 25/04/13 to 22/06/14 at the Palais de Tokyo. In collaboration with Villa Arson (Nice).
I often say that I use objects that make us live, in a sense, I try to extract unused qualities or hidden properties from these objects. The active mixtures that I make, bring together and confront, take on a form in precarious, unstable balancing acts. In order to bypass the functions and disorganize the know-how, we have to adopt a distant view in terms of what we know, or think we know, without ever falling into fascination, but instead with the intention of raising questions and inciting curiosity. Freeing an object also means reprogramming it, or handling its side effects. Static objects are set in motion, while those that usually move tend towards petrified states. Some systems come undone, returning to a lost state. They unravel so much that they go back to the crude, or heterogeneous pre-production state of an un-elaborated product. By making bridges between disciplines, and by combining or defragmenting fields and categories, it is possible to make one or more frameworks tremble, but without being able to extract ourselves from them completely. The point is then to re-examine and reinterpret the connections and ties that can join together the fragments and abolish the frontier between methods and materials. The game consists in regulating this unruliness.
By Elsa Guigo
Vivien Roubaud explores forms as much as materials, developing a particular interest in techniques and know-how, unnatural connections. Beyond simple recuperations or rearrangement of waste from the consumer society, his sculptures incorporate autonomous and breathing systems. Hybridized techniques play with time: the time of the work and the time of its perception by the visitor.
Vivien Roubaud collects common materials from junkyards or the sidewalk ? cables, pipes, old mattresses ? that he defines as ?objects that make us live.? He gathers, takes apart, analyzes and transforms the raw material around us. It would be easy to see in this approach an eco-sensitive and critical vision. The questions of pollution and recycling however, are not factors in his work. He likes to say that his emaciated printer crawling on the floor is much more polluting.
In Gaine, câbles, moteur 12v, roulements, barrières IR, deux cent vingt volts (Sheath, Cables, 12v Motor, Bearings, Infra-Red Fence, Two Hundred and Twenty Volts, 2011), electricity surges from an uncontrolled rotating cable that threatens the visitors, whereas in Poussières, souffleries, roues folles, deux cent vingt volts, mille cinq cents soixante-quinze mètres cube (Dust, Blowers, Mad Wheels, Two Hundred and Twenty Volts, One Thousand Five Hundred and Seventy-Five Cubic Meters, 2010), pollen is propelled by a blower into a ?sterile room? and becomes green and allergic pollution placed in a box. In Compresseurs de climatisation d?entreprises, condenseur d?un congélateur coca-cola, évaporateur d?un distributeur de boissons, indicateur de pression, capillaires récupérés sur trois frigidaires individuels, gaz r404a, deux cent vingt volts (Office Air-Conditioner Compressors, Coca-Cola Freezer Condenser, Drink Machine Evaporator, Pressure Indicator, Capillary Tubes Recuperated from Three Individual Refrigerators, r404a Gas, Two Hundred and Twenty Volts, 2012), a perfect and improbable ball of ice is artificially created. Lastly, we can mention the sedimentation phenomenon with the development of a system artificially uniting all the natural conditions favorable to the growth of a stalactite (Calcaire, eau, cuivre, pompe, automate, deux cent vingt volts, (Sediment, Water, Copper, Pump, Automatic Control System, Two Hundred and Twenty Volts, 2013).
HOW TO DO RATHER THAN WHAT TO DO
Diverting objects from their primary function and creating natural phenomena meant that Vivien Roubaud had to acquire a mastery and reappropriation of techniques and know-how. Attentively reading instructions and technical descriptions, he is able to ?exploit? the objects combining them in a hybridization that would seem a-functional and illogical by any heating technician or plumber. In light of the categorizations developed by Claude Lévi-Strauss in The Savage Mind (1966), the scientist develops research procedures based on concepts whereas the handyman investigates with what he has on hand. Artists travel between these two worlds of reflection and practice.
Rather than the what to do, it is the how to do that interests Vivien Roubaud. He often expresses the idea that he has to ?make the rounds? of a technique, an idea of hybridization or experimentation, in an intense relationship with fabrication. An inventive experimenter, he comes up against technical difficulties such as combining gas pipes with copper water pipes. What kind of connections? What kind of welds? What standards to destandardize?
The machines initially designed according to a precise functional diagram are pushed to the extreme, reprogrammed, diverted from their primary function. Thus, the printer that turns on the floor is transformed by its original mechanisms, the inking cartridge moves forward according to an implacable logic from one end of the track to the other. But here, the cartridge makes in circles on the floor, in such a way that the printer distances itself from its status as a functional and static object to become a sort of mad machine (HP DeskJet, ordinateur, wifi, roulement à billes, ressort, deux cent vingt volts, (HP DeskJet, Computer, Wi-Fi, Ball Bearing, Spring, Two Hundred and Twenty Volts, 2012).
THE TITLE, THE ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORKS
Giving a work a title participates in its finiteness and the distance that the artist places between it and him. By aligning the names of materials in the titles, Vivien Roubaud using a specific logic gives substance to the work and reinforces his primary interest in how to make.
Writing figures in letters ? the volts used or the cubic meters of air ? confirms the idea that a volatile material is not an additional means that serves the work but clearly one of its consubstantial elements, just as important as the pipes, cables or skyrockets. From the invisible to the visible, everything takes part in creating the work. The system exists through the chosen materials, harboring, right from their selection, the work to come. Vivien Roubaud is not a collector, he collects. His accumulations of words describe and name the sculpture. The system is autonomous, observable and comprehensible as much in its functioning as in its title.
THE ELASTICITY OF TIME
A poetic instant, a suspended moment is born from the absurd. All these assemblies are facets of endlessly playing with the elasticity of time. Vivien Roubaud?s practice encompasses the three periods of historical time (past, present and future) and excites the visitor?s objective and subjective perceptions of time.
These preoccupations are also found in the questions raised by the exhibition of his works. How can autonomous systems be designed whose movements and imperceptible respirations could be experimented on in the chronological framework of an exhibition? And if the visitor missed these respirations? What status would the sculpture then have? The tangible tension in these autonomous systems, which could be described as time-sculptures, de facto gives them a certain fragility.
With his series Feu d?artifice, gelée de pétrole dégazé, combustion incomplète, tube PMMA (Fireworks, Degased Paraffin Jelly, Incomplete Combustion, PMMA Tube, 2014), Vivien Roubaud freezes a fleeting moment. He plunges clusters of skyrockets into cylindrical tubes filled with paraffin jelly, degased and made transparent beforehand. The lit wick is gently consumed until explosion occurs. The pyrotechnical cloud is then seized in its brief life: the curls of smoke are frozen into filamentary heads of hair, the carbonized paper of the rockets floats, the air is trapped in a myriad of bubbles? The expansion is sudden. This dangerous and tricky process involves a host of tests. Formal criteria never lead Vivien Roubaud to choose to exhibit certain tubes rather than others: only the process leads to the form
?From the basic hypothesis that I formulate on a functioning, a form emerges that I decide to go ahead with or not,? he explains.
These technical requirements and this unshakable determination to show time is found in one of his recent works, Sculpture élémentaire (titre de travail) [Elementary Sculpture (Working Title)]. A block of unfired stoneware clay is placed under four burners connected to a complicated tangle of copper pipes containing gas and water. The whole, suspended from the ceiling, hangs like a cut-away diagram in a crystal paper cover, a sort of protective membrane. Gas and flame sensors linked to the system display a specialized, controlled technology. The burners light for a few seconds, projecting an infernal heat on the block. The air is rarefied, the membrane contracts. Heated to a very high temperature, the clay splutters, splits, bursts into tiny particles that are projected. The heat rises, the sensors command the burners to turn off, the membrane slackens. There is a pause. The sculpture slowly breathes out like an enormous mammal. The white-hot clay crumbles, frays. It disappears, gradually covering the floor. Time is at work but in an accelerated mode. The clay was not modeled; pottery?s millennial know-how is diverted from its primary aim, the kiln has overheated. The question of the perception of the invisible also comes into play here in the membrane?s subtle movement, in the high-pitched splutter, in the air that heats up.
Vivien Roubaud?s sculptures encourage the visitor to detect, to feel, to discover, to be surprised. Revealing phenomena without any mass, working the flow, the energy and the imperceptible that drives our world is his matrix. Offering the dizzying observation that motion is perpetual, he carries us along in a perception of rubbings of the infra-thin, the floating of particles? of the invisible part of the work. Sometimes, what there is to look at is not the most visible.
Galerie des Ponchettes, Nice, France
Projet entrée, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
Vivien Roubaud, Galerie In Situ - Fabienne Leclerc, Paris, France
En marge, Galerie In Situ - Fabienne Leclerc, Paris, France
Sous la lune, ICAS, Singapour, Asie
Archéologie du présent, Musée d’art moderne Saint-Etienne Métropole, France
Run, run, run, Villa Arson, Nice, France
Le nouveau monde industriel, Galleria Continua, Moulins, France
Le Parfait Flâneur, curator Hilde Teerlinck, Palais de Tokyo en résonance avec la Biennale de Lyon, Halle Girard, Lyon, France
Sèvres Outdoors, Cité de la Céramique, Sèvres, France
From & to «Jambes de bottes», Villa Arson, Nice, France
From & to «Jambes de bottes», Piano Project, Kunst Meran Io Arte, Merano, Italie
Ad hoc, La Station, Nice, France
Les modules, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
Voyageurs, Bourse Révélations Emerige, Villa Emerige, Paris Snap project, Lyon, France
Gestalt & Gangstagave, Association Culbuto, Musée MAMAC, Nice, France
On/ Out of work, Lyon, France
J’écris donc je suis, Le Garage, Brive, France
Minimenta, Galerie Bertrand Baraudou, Paris, France
Baleapop #5, Festival, Saint Jean-de-Luz, France
Conjecture, In Extenso, Clermont Ferrand, France
Nautilus, Nice, France
Saison 17, La Station, Nice, France
Artist run space, Lieu-commun, Toulouse, France
Object in the mirror are closer than they appear, le Salon, Nice, France
Proxémie, le Salon, Nice, France
WATT, la Station, Nice, France
WHERE ARE YOU?, Galerie Mineur, Blanzy, France
SUNSHINE & PRECIPITATION Part 2, La Station, Catalyst Arts, Belfast, irlande
Demain c’est loin, exposition des diplômés de la Villa Arson, France
Les quatre cavaliers (2011/ 2071), La Zonmé, Nice, France
Impressions d’ateliers Tome ii, Gazelle
Univers encapsulés par Elsa Guigo Code 2.0
Etat du ciel part 2 avec Eric Mangion, Magazine Palais de Tokyo
Les cabanes de Michel Fedoroff à Bargemon par Roxana Azimi, Le Nouvel Economiste
SUNSHINE & PRECIPITATION part 2, Donia Ouassit
L’Art contemporain explose, Audrey Levy, Le Point
Demain c’est loin, Villa Arson
2009 – 2011
DNSEP, Félicitations du jury, Villa Arson, ensba, Nice, France
2005 – 2009
DNAP, Félicitations du jury, Esbam, Marseille, France
2014 - 2015
Atelier Bourse Révélations Emerige
Villa Garikula, Association Culbuto Tbisili, Géorgie
La Station, Nice, France