Cenotaph to 12 Riverford Road, Pollokshaw, Glasgow 2008
recycled concrete and building detritus from demolished housing estate, cement, steel, frame
400 x 200 centimeters
GAILLARD's sculpture 'Cenotaph to 12 Riverford Road, Pollokshaws, Glasgow 2014' is made from 15 tonnes of concrete salvaged from the remains of a Glaswegian Modernist social housing project demolished in advance of the city's hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, transported to London and then cast into an obelisk. The word 'cenotaph' betokens a monument to someone or something whose remains are elsewhere, and at first reading this seems an inappropriate designation for this obelisk – it is formed, after all, from the leavings of the building it memorializes. Perhaps, though, what is being remembered here is not the physical stuff or concrete, brick and glass, but rather a devalued history, and a devalued dream.
Cyprien GAILLARD escavated a German bunker which was buried in a hill overlooking the beach of Scheveningen. This is an area already undergoing drastic transformation as the existing communities and industries are displaced to make way for new housing developments. GAILLARD's project comments obliquely on this process of gentrification and the way in which outmoded architecture is buried or hidden beneath new layers of urban development. This work, titled 'Dunepark' – a rough translation of its location – can be seen as the embodiment of the 'Bunker Archeology' carried out by the French cultural theorist Paul Virilio in his eponymous 1975 book and exhibition. For GAILLARD, the physical process of excavating is a form of negative sculpting. He sees this submerged bunker as a buried readymade. With the help of large earth-moving equipment and volunteers of the Foundation Atlantikwall Museum Scheveningen, Gaillard digged out this massive form to reveal it in all its brutalist glory, before recovering it once more.
Homes & Graves & Gardens # 1
For his exhibition at Centre d'art et du paysage de l'île de Vassivière Cyprien GAILLARD masked the facade of the center by a line of trees, cut down on the island for the occasion. Leaning against one side of the building, these trees block the entrance, profoundly modifying the building's appearance. The center thus become a vestige of the past, adopting Cyprien GAILLARD's sculptural viewpoint through the dead mass of the trees which carry within the notion of the inexorable march of time, of transformation and degradation. But this also constitutes a pictorial and conceptual inspiration through the evident analogy with the famous painting by Arnold BOCKLIN, 'The Isle of Dead'.
Homes & Graves & Gardens # 2
On July 14, 2007 for the opening of his solo exhibition at Centre international d'art et du paysage de l'île de Vassivière, Cyprien Gaillard asked to have the traditional fireworks exploded inside the lighthouse. The viewer could experience the show through the sound and traces of the explosion. Echoing the exterior overgrowth of the trees on the other building, the interior tension of the fireworks imposes itself on the space like an experiment with neither concession nor illusion. The ephemeral quality of the fireworks give prominence to history, to tranformation and to dissolution through their residual traces.
La grande allée du Château de Oiron
crushed recycled concrete from a demolished tower block, wood, plastics, glass
"La grande allée du château de Oiron" is firstly a permanent installation by Cyprien GAILLARD (born in 1980 in Paris, lives and works in Berlin), part of the 'parc aux ruines' that the artist has undertaken to build throughout the world: here, he had dozens of tons of crushed rubble from a demolished tower block of Issy-les-Moulineaux dumped on the main alley of the Renaissance castle of Oiron (West of France). At the same time discrete and spectacular, the artist's intervention takes visitors to step on the ruins of modernist utopies to access a piece of heritage. "La grande allée du château de Oiron" is also the title of the photography that documents this intervention, taking after Düsseldorf school of photograph's codes while pushing them to their ultimate stage: monumentality, frontality, absence of narration – it is impossible to identify the season of the year or the time of the day; but instead of picturing an arrogant modernist building, only remains a pyramid of ruins.
Le canard de Beaugrenelle
200 x 150 centimeters
Cyprien GAILLARD's gesture of bringing a barely movable bronze duck from Beaugrenelle, a city of tower blocks bordering the Seine in Paris's 15th arrondissement, to the terrace surrounding the Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie — a gift from a failed, urban community to the high-architecture context of the hallowed plateau adjoining the museum — is a bitter comment on the successes and defeats of the architectural utopias of modernism. The duck becomes a new symbol and symptom of the ruined ideals of social housing projects of the 1960s and 1970s and the politics of art in public space or a present day “non-site.”
The Recovery of Discovery
72 000 bottles "Efes" beer
425 x 1200 centimeters
Similarly to the relocation of the Pergamon Altar, 72 000 bottles of beer of the brand Efes, whose name makes the most of the mythology of the ancient Greek city of Efes, have been transported from Turkey to Germany. The cardboard boxes filled with bottles form the even steps of the pyramid. By using the monument – by climbing the sculpture and drinking the beer – its destruction is already initiated. The barbaric removal of single architectural elements that have been transported from their original location to Berlin, embodies both the concept of displacement and a tourist colonialism.