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Brussels, Belgium

Isabelle Cornaro

Last exhibition of the Gesture, and thought season

Isabelle Cornaro is fascinated by representation across the history of Western art. As the latest guest artist at La Verrière, she presents a new work that both embraces multiple artistic references and covers its own aesthetic tracks, challenging our perception and taste with a sophisticated play on the ambiguity of material value.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Isabelle Cornaro
© Isabelle Cornaro

Curator Guillaume Désanges describes the new exhibition by French artist Isabelle Cornaro (b.1974): “Beneath La Verrière’s glass roof, the exhibition’s central structure is part mausoleum, part minimalist sculpture and functional ‘vanity’, in the tradition of 18th-century architectural follies.” Cornaro has created a site-specific work for La Verrière, featuring a mix of representational tropes taken directly from the history of art, the better to transgress and confront them with the decorative tradition. 

The installation’s radical, uncompromising form is undermined by the colourful spray-paint intervention covering the surface, shattering its initially austere appearance and making its sharp edges invisible. The painted decoration confers a new and different status, at the crossroads of aesthetics and artistic references. The installation also incorporates a number of other more or less decorative objects, exerting an alien presence in this modernist-inspired setting.

Isabelle Cornaro won the Prix Ricard in 2010. Her work draws on erudite references (classical painting, photography, modern architecture, still life) and popular culture (everyday objects, kitsch decorations) to construct landscapes as installations, sculptures, drawings or videos. Her critical approach to the history of art, and the essential materiality of her work, make her a natural choice for the ‘Gesture, and thought’ season at La Verrière. Her economy of means – part identical copies, part ready-mades – is comparable to the subversive approach of Marcel Duchamp. 

>> Discover the interview of Isabelle Cornaro

>> Discover the interview of the curator of this exhibition: Guillaume Désanges

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La Verrière / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
50, boulevard de Waterloo – 1000  Brussels
From 15 January to 27 March 2016
Free admission Monday to Saturday, from 11 a.m.  to 6 p.m.


Curator : Guillaume Désanges