"Chapitre 3: Les 101 Grandes Déesses", by Sandrine Llouquet
Le Point Commun, Espace d'Art Contemporain, Annecy, France
(photos: Antony Leclerc)
Ancient spiritual practices, esoteric rituals, re-imagined mythological imageries and religious behaviours have been at the centre of Sandrine Llouquet’s artmaking.
For many years, the French artist has been fascinated by the powerful influences that religions and beliefs have played in many aspects of the human existence, and has been searching for common connections between them to try to understand their unshakable importance in the human psyche.
Influenced by psychological and philosophical texts, such as the works of Jung and Nietzsche, Llouquet has been building an array of realms inhabited by magical, often esoteric, creatures.
In her latest solo exhibition, Chapitre 3: Les 101 Grandes Deesses, on display at Le Point Commun, Annecy, from the 15th September, Llouquet turns her gaze towards what she regards being the source of all spiritual beliefs: the Goddess.
As the title suggests, the shows is a continuation of her previous projects (Chapter 1: Where I attempt to Drown the Dragon and Chapter 2: Midi), but, most importantly, it reflects the artist’s desire of having her art considered as a whole: an organic body that evolves and expands. In fact, included among the new exhibits for Chapter 3, there are pieces selected from her recent projects, such as a mix media bust from the Cabinet of Doctor Komo and the drawing Mithra Games Grand Opening from the show Carne Vale.
Llouquet’s interest in religion lies on the evolution of its rituals, iconography and manifestations rather than on a theological perspective. With this body of work, Llouquet investigates the reasons behind the marginalisation of the female figure in contemporary religious practices.
The female archetype has been visible throughout prehistoric and ancient history (the famous Venus Figurines, for instance, are regarded as one of the oldest art on Earth), signifying the important role that female virtues had in various spiritual systems.
(…) From Palaeolithic art to Indo-Iranian religions, from contemporary tribes’ rituals to mythology, Chapitre 3: Les 101 Grandes Deesses displays a collection of images of goddesses, in the form of drawings, installations and sculptures.
However, the viewer should not expect a reproduction or a re-interpretation of such iconic figures, but rather an invitation from the artist to explore our own collective memory in interpreting the various female archetypes on display.
When talking with Llouquet about her artistic process, the words ‘alchemy’ and ‘syncretism’ are bound to come up early on in the conversation. Stemming from a personal curiosity in mythology and legends, the French artist collects images, pictures and texts, which then, like in alchemy, are transmute into esoteric worlds, where eeriness and ethereal magic live side by side.
Since moving to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 12 years ago, Caodaism (a southern Vietnamese monotheistic religion that incorporates teachings from Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity) has been another inspiration for Llouquet, who sees it as an example of Vietnamese cultural and its ability to freely absorb a variety of sources and merge them together without restrictions.
This same principle is applied in her work, where she creates her own universe of religious gestures, imageries, rituals and movements, and, through it, the viewers can ascertain her personal creative recollection and make it their own.