Mysterious thread of red

Cyril Barrand, just like the vanguard artists or contemporary researchers, involved in search for new perspectives and new spaces, far from the « Centre » and hubbub of modern civilisation, wants in his creation to cross traditional borders, both plastic, aesthetic, historic, geographic and cultural… A willingness to meet, talk, cross-disciplinary research oriented to a multitude of worlds, redefinition of interpersonal bonds, relations with the « Other », all this refers to the aesthetics called by the artist himself the « aesthetics of connections ». This new dimension or other interpretation through compilation, combination, assembly, introduces to art a significant, plastic means of expression.

A graduate of the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Strasburg (1987-1992), a globetrotter by choice (a travelling exhibition of Cypriote and French artists in 2001; a stay in Portugal in 1995 and in Poland in 2002), Cyril Barrand develops in his creations the « method of connections » by analysing contrasts of the (Polish) society split between the past and the future, between its traditions and the pursuit of modernity. The method he uses draws from myths, legends as well as inspirations from ordinariness, which can be found in such works as: The mysterious thread of red: 9 drawings stitched on paper (2006-2007), So be it, may be (2006), Project snow globe recollection of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw (2004) or Peel (2006-2007). The works in which the artist juxtaposes and combines various forms, materials, objects as well as traditional and folk motives (such as dancers from the Żywiec beer label, Wars soap from the Polish Railways train, the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw) make reference to the ordinariness, life in the country, social role of women or history…

History. The artist tells of an « unidentified, unknown country », the people of which, regardless on the course and fate of history which incessantly puts their sentiments for the fatherland to test, show steadfast determination. In the play by Cyril Barrand we find the leading element which reoccurs at a regular basis, the « Mysterious thread of red », which reflects the pursuit of the artist to repeatedly draw and stitch the contours of the Polish map thorn and shaken illicitly through the centuries.

The stylistically varied, personal, poetic world of Cyril Barrand, rich in forms and colours, invites to discover the poetry behind stitching, the
« geography of forms ». The artist does not hesitate to play with contour and separate phrase, meditation and mockery, what is serious and what is absurd. Let us remind here the titles of particular works: An angel pisses, an imp passes by (2003), Jigsaw (2004), Man descending from an illusion (2005), Strangeness in oneself (2005), To peel (2006-2007), Medusa (2006-2007), The time goes ahead (2007)... When discussing the « geography of forms », it is difficult not to remind the penetrating and at the same time rebellious spirit and the world of the « Giants » of Polish literature, cinema and arts, such as Witold Gombrowicz, Andrzej Wajda, Tadeusz Kantor or Władyslaw Hasior.

Cyril Barrand in his work Voyailleurs (Seewherelse) attempts to develop in a simple way this vision, showing a new, inspiring « zone of creative action ». His work plays the role of an agent, a connector between the two worlds, two cultures, two arts. « It breaks » with what has been already said, « added ». It symbolises the artistic passage towards the new vision of history, our situation in the world.
By tapping in the two extremes, on one hand in the meeting (a meetings with a burden of enumerated data appearing one after another; with the existence of things; meetings with anonymous persons...), and on the other hand - in the search (search for history, memory, identity), in the times of globalisation and homogenisation of culture, the artist creates singular art, inspired and at the same time saturated by multiplicity of questions and M.O.T.S (Words) / pains of the society focused on itself. Barrand’s art discusses difficult issues, examines what is shocking in being different, in being « the
Other ». An important approach of the difference, an art of expression which reflects the infinitude of though and breaks one for all with the absolute certainty of humanity and individual.

Olivier Vargin, Art critic, January 2008
in catalogue of the exhibition Mysterious thread of red


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