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A long travel trunk is placed on the floor. Closed, it resembles a walnut shell. Open, it reveals a collection of mysterious leather tools, ready and waiting. In residence at the manufacture de Seloncourt, visual artist Io Burgard has produced a work open to multiple possibilities, combining sensuality and sophistication.
The resin base means the object can float. The upper part, in leather, resembles a taut skin hinting at the forms of the objects inside. The objects themselves lie waiting to be activated: limp leather sheaths, measuring tools, a mask…. The forms are borrowed from the artist’s own œuvre, sublimated here in leather, sheathed and saddle-stitched to sensuous effect. Lying in wait, they function as ‘narrative tools, an allegorical testimony to a past upheaval, a potential action’, in the artist's words.
Io Burgard is a graduate of the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris and the Arts décoratifs de Strasbourg. Mentored by Jean-Michel Alberola, she immersed herself in the work of the maroquinerie de Seloncourt as its first artist-in-residence. The residency proved a stimulating, reciprocal learning experience for all involved: Burgard discovered the skills involved in working fine leather, learning the associated gestures and techniques, and encouraging the artisans to revive stitches no longer used in their day-to-day practice.
Io Burgard’s trunk is inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise and the artisans’ leather satchels. The piece is open to innumerable interpretations and options for display, either closed in upon itself or unfolding and expanding in space, with an arrangement of its inner tools. It falls to the viewer to associate the potential uses of each piece, while the open trunk resembles a boat ready to set sail for new narrative forms.