If he is mainly known for his artistic work on wine and cheese, Nicolas Boulard (b. 1976, lives and works in Clamart, FR) likes above all to play with conceptual shifting. Through the French gastronomy mythical products he has continually revisited and overturned, it’s especially the idea of territory and its limits that underlies an art practice embracing sculpture, text, video and installation.
Nicolas Boulard’s works, which are at once immaterial and tangible, precise and endless, and hyper-sensitive and anti-monumental, illustrate a certain lucidity about systems of thought. The artist enjoys playing with the standards and the rules of territorial production, geography, distance, travel... In map-making, if isopleths are the contour lines drawn between different points in a same altitude, here Nicolas Boulard draws imaginary and fabulous geographical lines, requiring us to reinterpret the traditions and the conventions of the past, and thus questioning the territoriality of art.
For his exhibition at Centre d’art contemporain La Halle des bouchers, Nicolas Boulard was inspired by the Rhone River from which he followed the course – from its source (the Rhonegletscher glacier in Switzerland) to its Mediterranean mouth (the Camargue delta) – collecting here and there samples of water, earth and stone that served as raw material to a set of sculptures inspired by old scientific contour lines and diagrams, including the ones designed by the German geographer and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), as well as Élisée Reclus and Claude Raffestin writings – those geographers for whom the experience of knowledge cannot be done without geographical experiences. At the same time, Nicolas Boulard has compiled his journey’s impressions, as a travelogue portraying the River, in a book published on the occasion that echoes the slope of his route, recalling the title of this exhibition – “The Dynamics of the isopleths”.
With the support of Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette.