Caroline Achaintre
June – October 2020

Fondazione Giuliani is very pleased to present Permanente, the first solo show in Rome by French artist, Caroline Achaintre. The exhibition is comprised of a broad selection of recent works, which include hand-tufted wall hangings, ceramics, drawings and wicker sculptures. Achaintre has also produced a new wall hanging specifically for the show in the Foundation. Created while the artist was in lockdown in London, Louis Q. finds inspiration in the historic beaked mask of plague doctors, originating in the 17th Century; however, in this instance, the connotation loses its typically macabre characteristics and adopts a carnival-like irony.

Achaintre’s practice is rooted in an interest in German Expressionisim and Primitivism, out of which some of the main themes in her production develop. Her mask-like creations are deeply linked to Western ethnographic collections, the notion of duality, and accompany us in a carnival parade of the absurd. The beauty of her work lies in the distortion, in the uncanny, in the co-existence of darkness and light as complementary parts of a single being. Her ink and watercolour drawings are both figurative and abstract, and explore her interest in the psychological analyses of Rorschach tests, sci-fi and horror films, and the aestethetics of heavy metal music.

If the wall hangings hypnotise us with their playfullness, the viscous quality of the ceramics elegantly seduces us with more or less explict references to the controversial world of the fetish. The ceramics’ lustrous surfaces contrast with the decidedly warmer and more familiar tufted pieces, creating a tension that encourages the viewer to converse with a cast of animated and multifaceted characters. The textile works, in particular, incorporate multiple characters that coexist within the coloured weaves of the threads, evoking shamanic and animistic aspects that pervade Achaintre’s artistic production. The way in which the artist’s works are filled with humour, coming to life before our eyes, is also accentuated by the Dadist approach used by the artist when titling the works, often arising from the same flow of free associations from which the sculptures come to life.

Permanente is a co-production of Fondazione Giuliani, Belvedere 21, Vienna, MO.CO Montpellier Contemporain and CAPC, Bordeaux. The exhibition at Fondazione Giuliani is realised also thanks to the kind support of Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati.

Caroline Achaintre was born in 1969 in Toulouse, France; she lives and works in London. A selection of recent solo exhibitions include: Permanent Wave, MO.CO Montpellier Contemporain (2019-2020), Dauerwelle/Permanent Wave, Belvedere 21, Vienna (2019), Fantômas, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, UK (2018), Duo Infernal, Art: Concept, Paris (2018), Dissolver, Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund (2018), Scanner, Arcade Gallery, London (2018), Caroline Achaintre, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims (2017), Boo, c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e, Bruxelles (2016), Caroline Achaintre, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2016), Caroline Achaintre, Art Now, Tate Britain, London (2015). In 2016 she was artist in residence at the Fondation Albert-Gleizes in Sablons, France; in 2015 in Toyko, invited by Arts Initiative Tokyo; and in 2014 at the Camden Arts Centre in London.