Becoming One


A Conversation with Amelie Chabannes

1. Why did you go back to drawing again as a medium? Usually artists do the opposite. They go from drawing or painting to sculpture. Your way is the opposite.

It is a very pertinent question. I never thought about it! I don’t treat or use drawing in a preparatory aim. To me, it is a whole. It’s its own world, an endemic medium which does not have to serve another one and disappear in the shade of the object. I guess I treat drawing as the most noble substance an artist could use. To answer more precisely: I always draw, never stopped even while being absorbed by a sculpture project. Today I want to strengthen the concepts and formal questions I am haunted by with drawing, for a great reason – the work I experiment with through sculpture and performative installation merged with my drawings! Hurray, I feel like I’m entering a “free zone” away from the medium’s usual borders.

2. What interests you about making a couple become “one”? Do you think that it could be a way for you to search how people are working generally in social life? Why are you interested in presenting well-known people instead of people from your common life? Maybe it allows you to have a “healthy” distance?

Yes, it gives me a healthy distance. I want to be a spectator of what I observe. I don’t want be an actor in or a participant of the interaction I am using. It can’t be personal, or close to that. Well-known people are in that case necessary. The drawings end up partially/totally destroyed. I refer to iconoclasm. There is no iconoclasm without icons: Rauschenberg needed

De Kooning drawing…

As I used various approaches on Identity as the pillars of my work, I became more absorbed and finally, exclusively focus on extreme collaborations/relationships.

I chose iconic ones as they beautifully disrupt and change the course of art history.

I am not interested in the social dimension of their relationship or its social context. I would say that these relationships, the use of documents depicting them, plus the formal exploitation/manipulation I inflict, are just pretexts questioning my and hopefully OUR perception…

What interests you about making a couple become “one”?

As I used various approaches on identity, I became more and more interested in extreme relation/collaboration where the sense of individuality vanishes. Where almost a double or a third identity is created through the relationship, and not many fill that unique criteria.

What are interests you and your research about the consequences of human beings?

Do you mean consequences that extreme relationships inflict on the being?

Could you describe the process of your work? It interesting, the layer of how you destroy your drawings after drawing them.

Yes! I never draw conventionally, free hand on the panel. I choose a document (lately historical performance from protagonists). Then I create a first drawing, a sort of mapping of the document. I reproduce the drawing by hand with graphite on tracing paper about 20 to 30 times. Once these are done, I flip them over on the wall or the panel, and I engrave each detail by strongly scratching the back. That way, I overlapa great multiplicity of the same drawing until you visually lose the borders between the protagonist until their presence is blurred. I start to destroy with chisels the contact zone and eventually destroy representational features. A way for me to play with iconoclastic gestures, references, a way to defy the conventionality of the fabrication of a product, a way to talk also about the prohibition of representation (very anchored in recent art history).


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About Amelie Chabannes

DoublePortrait_Variation3Amelie Chabannes is an artist who works in sculpture, installation and Drawing. Chabannes was born in Paris, France. She studied Architecture and Fine Arts in a leading French Art School, ENSAD. She worked for many years with Architects and Designers on major projects, including a Cultural Center In Riga, Latvia. She moved to NY in 2005, she currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Her work has been exhibited in international venues that includes: The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art (CT, USA), Critically acclaimed art festival Crossing the Line in 2009 and 2011 (curated by Lili Chopra and Simon Dove) New York, NY. Kunsthalle am Hamburger Plaz (Berlin, Germany) Museo De Arte Moderna (rio de Janiero, Brazil) Galerie Hussenot (Paris, France), Stephan Stoyanov Gallery (New York, NY), NADA Sculpture exhibition (Miami, Florida) Syracuse University Art Center -The Red House (Syracuse, New York), the 798 Biennale (Beijing, China). Galeria Fernando Zubillaga (Caracas, Venezuela) S.E gallery (Bergen Norway) White Box (new York NY) Galerie Of Marseille (Marseille, France) Museo Frantz Mayer (Mexico City, Mexico) Drawing Now 2012 (Louvre, Paris) With artist Diana Shpungin. She has been awarded the International Center Award of Excellence for Fine Arts (New York, NY) along with artist Yoshitomo Nara.
She has been reviewed in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Art In America, Flash Art (Us and Italy), White Wall Magazine, City Art, Timeout New York, Liberation, France-Amerique, Flavorpill, M Magazine, Elle (France), Architektur and Wohnen, Verso Arts et lettres, The Visual Art beat Magazine among others. Selected collections include the Progressive Collection, Cleveland, Ohio as well as numerous private collections in the United
States, Europe, Russia and Japan.

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Artist’s Statement

Exploring the limitless notion of Identity, its various derivations and representations within philosophy, psychology and art history has been the main subject, which has haunted my work over the past years.

I first aspired to associate the exploration of the self with archeological procedures.  My recent installations have stood as excavation sites and their sculptural objects were submitted to raw and meticulous recovery in which debris and artifacts are observed as remains of our individuality.

As I engaged in deeper research on fewer specific aspects of our identity, I became profoundly drawn to extreme fusional relationships that exhaust the sense of individuality.

By using and manipulating with great obsession, documents depicting Marina Abramovicz and Ulay while intensely performing, Genesis P Orridge and Lady Jaye attempting to resemble each other, Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh practicing the far-off “year of the rope”, I include in my work cases of individual disappearance through extreme collaboration and witness its deep impact on the process involved in my practice.

First, a map of the original picture is drawn upon numerous layers of tracing paper; then, the data is endlessly flipped over, transferred and overlapped on a wood panel until the borders of each of the protagonists fade away.

I deliberately demolish parts of my drawings and sculptures, not only with the intention to recall the archeological protocol, gestures and its metaphoric strength, but also to suppress specific areas where the inseparable collaborators I mentioned earlier are in physical contact, where stands the third identity they created.  I also attempt to challenge and destroy the established icons I chose to employ and therefore evoke my search for a new found expression.

Such iconoclastic actions fuel my hope of recalling a long history of prohibited representation; they also allow me to confront the conventionality of the fabrication of an art object. Altering an artwork already sacralized by the time and the virtuosity involved is definitely an act of defiance.


SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2013 The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. CT
2011 Crossing The Line Festival. New York, NY. Curated by Lili Chopra+Simon Dove
2011 Galerie Hussenot. Paris, France
2010 Stephan Stoyanov Gallery. New York, NY. Vast
2008 Luxe Gallery. New York, NY. My Portrait of Your Identity
2006 Luxe Gallery. New York, NY. The Bestiary Of Clothilde
2005 Luxe Gallery. New York, NY. Oil, Cotton and Amalgams
2004 New York, NY. Open secrets, curated by Regis Krampf
2002 La Hune Gallery. Paris, France. Untitled, release of the art and literature review Verso Arts et Lettres titled : Dossier Amelie Chabannes, pour un art au dessus de la melee!.

Prelude: Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see. A Video installation in collaboration with Antonia Dias Leite. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Performing Methods. CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles – Curated by Chris Oatey RH Gallery, New York, NY
SHELF LIFE. Kunsthalle Am Hamburger Platz. Berlin, Germany. Curated by Nicole Cohen
Carrousel Du Louvre. Drawing NOW 2012. 2 artists show (with Diana Shpungin)
Galerie Hussenot. The Armory Show. New York, USA
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery. In the heart of a Woman. New York, USA
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery . Sites Of Memory : Architecture and Remembering Curated by William Stover
Nada Art Fair. Special Outdoor Exhibition. Miami, USA
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery. Sites of Memory : Architecture and Remembering Curated by William Stover
Galerie Hussenot.The Amory Show 2010, New York, NY.
The Red House. Syracuse University. NY
Macy’s Windows. NY. Crossing the Line Festival. Curated by Julie Boukobza and Lili Chopra
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery. Nada Art Fair. Miami FL
Art Brussels 2009. Brussels, Belgium
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery. Bruxelles Belgium. Phantoms
White Box. New York, NY. Talent Preview, 5 curators – 5 artists
Luxe Gallery. New York, NY. Alive
Galerie of Marseille. Marseille, France. Alive
Artissima 2008. Torino, Italy
Art Brussels 2008. Brussels, Belgium
Cige Beijing ArtFair. Beijing China
Luxe Gallery. New York, NY Singular
Miami Photo. Miami, FL
Luxe Gallery. New York, NY. All the way
Luxe Gallery. New York, NY. Spaces
Art Athina. Athenes, Greece
Chicago Art Fair. Chicago, USA
La Fiac. Paris, France. Men Many More
Fernando Zubillaga Galleria. Caracas, Venezuela
KrampfPei Gallery. New York, NY. Untitled
Acte 2 gallery. Paris, France. Anima Corpus
Galerie SE. Bergen, Norway. Singular
Il Syndroma Di pantagruel. Torino Art Fair, Italy . Luxe Gallery
La FIAC, Paris, France. Luxe Gallery
Athens Art Fair. Athens, Greece. Luxe Gallery
Luxe Gallery. New York, NY. Luxe Gallery. It s not about sex
Luxe Gallery. New York, NY. Simply drawn
Acte 2 gallery. Paris, France. Flower
Museo Frantz Mayer. Mexico City, mexico. Curated by Sebastian O Campo
National Art Center of Mexico City. Curated by Sebastian O Campo
Cite de la Musique. Paris, France. Ames
Carrousel du Louvre. Paris, France.

AWARDS2011 MAIF Sculpture Prize / Paris, France Finalist
2010 Award Of Excellence / The Arts. International Center Of New York 
2002 Construction of French Cultural center. Riga, Ladvia. Laureate Project. In collaboration with the architect Adam Yedid (official architect or the French Monument) and the French Office of the Foreign Affairs.
2000 Grant “vent des forets”, Verdun, France
Laureate Project. International symposium gathering 5 international artists and architects.

Progressive Collection, Cleveland, OH
Private collections.USA, Belgium, England, France, Japan, Russia

“Art In Space”, Catherine Ferbos & Mickey Boel
“Remastered”, Published by the Gestalte Verlag, berlin

2000-1996 E.N.S.A.D – Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Arts Decoratifs de Paris Leading French school of design
1994-1992 E.S.S.A.G – Atelier met de Penninghen, Leading French private school of design