Virgil de Voldere Gallery is pleased to present Circus, a solo show with gallery artist Nicolas Touron.
Viewers entering the gallery happen upon a semicircular structure with stripes in red and white. Upon a walk-around, the construction reveals itself as a circus-like seating arrangement. A lone deer is the attraction of this silent performance. Constructed of interlocking parts like a children’s 3D puzzle, the animal’s antlers are connected to another deer, almost an exact mirror image of the first, only upside down and frozen mid-motion. The deer’s elegant back-flip mesmerizes but at the same time the jigsaw parts appear skeletal, as if not only the animal but also the show itself had become extinct.
A series of drawings on wood panel reveal similarly phantasmagorical spectacles. In Iland, small eye-less green penguins waddle about on a sea of blue and multi-trunked elephants drag medieval carts loaded with amorphous pillars. Little cars weighed down by oversized pink cameras record the whole scenes But this is not all. A blue snowman-like monster is spitting out tentacles loaded with missiles from above. And a wave of pink marshmallow seems to be slowly encroaching upon the entirety of the blue landscape.
The small characters that inhabit all of Touron’s landscapes invoke happy cartoon fantasylands. But their small universes are in every case ominously threatened by circumstances that their little eye-less heads seem incapable of comprehending. Signs, cameras and vehicles in these scenes are emblazoned with names of corporations, organizations and nation states, such as “FOX”, “US”, “NATO” and “Tchad.” There are obvious references to current political situations and media spectacles, but the signals are scrambled. Touron repeatedly plays switcheroo with common expectations and media representations; names of Third World countries appear in prominent places, just as corporations become countries and vice versa.
Et Voila! is a petit-bourgeois interior run amok. A hutch proudly displaying collectible plates is similar to those found in millions of homes worldwide. However, it is gruffly constructed out of concrete and the platters, while bearing names of countries as is typical, feature Touron’s characteristic animals that are only tenuously connected to the country they are given to represent. Jutting out from the cabinet is a shelf with little pewter elephants with flags put in motion by a small store-bought fan. Another figurine, resembling so many kitschy knickknacks, is a small monkey speared in the heart by a swordfish. Miniature speakers on arms extend from the piece and point towards each little figure, as if recounting their own stories back to them. The piece seemingly enacts the method by which so many children, stuck in boring suburban homes, make their dull everyday spring to life. Just as in the circus, a condition of the show’s magic is that the “real world” is kept at bay. Nicolas Touron presents a near hermetic universe where fantasy reigns supreme – but we are always reminded of what lies in store once the show is over.