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Valentin Carron

Minnesota, 2007
Tiflex on tarpaulin, galvanised steel tubing painted black, plastic straps
150.0 x 227.0 x 4.0 cm
Drawing on the popular folklore that has developed around signs and emblems of all kinds, Valentin Carron manipulates and transforms such images in a process of reappropriation that explores the symbolic strategies at the heart of cultural production.

With its red point beaming outward in bright lines, Minnesota depicts a motif borrowed from the collection of books the artist has put together while going around second hand bookshops. The abstract, radiating image, whose effects are similar to the aims and interests of Op Art and what it wanted to achieve, comes in fact from the cover of a 1960s spy novel. In a movement from graphic design to the fine arts and back, Carron shifts the motif to an artistic domain and transforms it into something hybrid, notably through the use of industrial materials. The stiff paper support is replaced by a large tarpaulin attached to a metal frame, materials that suggest affinities with very different sociocultural worlds—building trades and advertising, for instance.

In his reformulation, Carron also manipulates the codes and signs of painting whilst distorting them. The frame becomes visible, tubular and metallic, the canvas, now transformed into a tarp, billows out, and the artist instils a kind of clumsiness in his transfer of the motif to the new support, as if to dismiss any reference to geometrical or optical art of the 1960s, which is generally associated with mathematical perfection and rigour.

Redo, reuse, recombine, reinvent, rethink, reassemble, these are the actions driving Carron’s practice. Recreating an object in a slightly dissimilar vein, the artist exaggerates certain qualities of the form being reproduced. The recreation reveals an artificial, decorative or vernacular dimension that is latent in the original and subtly amplified thanks to the effect achieved by quotation. This imparts to Carron’s work a component that is critical and occasionally parodic, though never derisive.
Valentin Carron, Minnesota, 2007