Jean Luc Vilmouth
As a rule, I always depart from something which already exists from before. I need a point of departure. It is this very contact with reality which helps me to get further and to progress. What I am most of all interested in, is man and his relationship with the world, with objects. If one takes, it will exist a relation with the saucer, the table, the spoon, the mouth, etc… Things only exist insofar as they stand in relation to the environment, to what surrounds them…
I started to develop an interest in the specific relations that can exist between an artistic proposal and the public from my participation in the exhibition “Chambres d’amis” (Ghent, 1986) onwards; as a result of the confrontation with the people who lived in the houses which were converted into exhibition spaces for the duration of the show. To me, “Chambres d’amis” with its inhabitants, their guests, the public, had become a space of experiences. A space which differed from the museum where, most of the time, merely contemplation from a distance takes place.
Curiosity urges me to explore, to experiment with divergent scales and at different places. And it is only natural that I started to take an interest in art in public space. In the same fashion, I had used everyday objects: chairs, tools, light bulbs and the like. I also make use of the preexisting architecture as a point of departure. This could be an outlet of the air conditioning, a palm tree, a lamp in a room… What I am looking for, is a place that I can respond to in the manner of an echo, to make connections, to delineate zones of exchange and of complicity, a possibility of enhancement.
I am to admit that I am attracted to the social dimension of the public space.
In the same manner as in an exhibition space, I pay attention to the door, the floor, the beams and the walls. The same goes for an urban environment: the road, the trees, everything is important. And what I insist on bringing to the fore is not so much a thing in and of itself, but rather the interaction with the public; to propose a space in which to experience and not just simply an object of contemplation.
The desire that the spectator become active is always manifest. I take into account the specificities of the place, of its architecture and of the people who live there. A reciprocal action and relation needs to be brought about between my preoccupations on the one hand, and the context on the other hand. Rather than just asking myself whether it is art or architecture or nothing whatsoever, I prefer to raise another question, namely, how to contribute to inhabit this planet? To call into question our ways of inhabiting the world. What seems most important to me with regard to this issue, is the place mankind occupies.
I travel a lot, I like being in a new context, different from what I already know very well. I like being in a situation where I need to reposition myself, questioning me and rethink my habits to find new situations with other answers, other hypothesis
with my work in public spaces, I always seek to propose users different experiences by simple shifts from one sense to another. I also seek to propose new stories about a place for those who live and work there. In general, the relationship that we have with the city is imperceptible: we usually do not pay attention to the things that surround us every day, as these things are often oppressive or simply uninteresting. We don’t think we have ties with these everyday things, they have become familiar, static and anonymous.
To be continued. To experience