What is an object?

At first, it is a projection of our ideas onto a substance of the object itself, which becomes a material reality and finally, returns to the stage of hypothetical projection.


We rely on our immediate environment in order to isolate a thing that we see with our eyes, or sometimes in our thoughts. To do that, we often use the form and the content of an object. Yet we shouldn’t confuse the two: the object and the thing. The object incorporates all possible thoughts, desires, histories and references. While the thing is nothing but an item which may be real or not, independent of ourselves. As such, it becomes a manifestation of the act of making, the equipped part of the object.
In Jérémie Boyard’s work, this major difference transformes itself into the background of his creation, a meeting point for a discursive practice which, depending on the detail, may be either stable or unstable.
In this light, the object is a vector of intangible value (aside from its material qualities). The thing becomes a source of information: symbolic, relational and historical. Boyard’s concern is to awaken these elements and references in order to create a concentrated artistic language. His strategy of invoking all the elements contained in an item – no matter if its origins are industrial or handmade, carries a deep reflection on the concept of ‘making’: the moment when things turn into objects by embedding the elements which elicit a projection. Treated as such, the subject of his work is not only philosophical but also historic and geographical.


At this point it is interesting to recall the cycle of an object in a contemporary industrial world. Every object in this context follows the same process: conception, design, prototype, object, object life and then object obsolescence. It is in this cycle of deterioration that Boyard’s intervention gets fundamental. Sometimes referring to only one particular stage of the process, sometimes choosing to treat it as a whole, the artist interrupts the cycle by using pictorial representation, and reactivate the meaning which can’t be found in the original object. The initial item feeds the reflection through its origins, materials and usage and define the final object.
Whether the primary element is an image, a chair or a car hood, Boyard’s objectif is to integrate it into a vernacular practice (meaning local or being part of a precise environment) as a counter-force to globalized production. Doing it, the artist make use of information contained in a thing to re- concentrate it into another one. His work conveys a subtle shift of meanings, an exercise in disappearance.
The critical point of the object’s obsolescence lies at the heart of Boyars practice. He invests the objects with the ability to reflect, in a pictorial manner, the very stage where the power of utility seems removed. In this way he moves an obsolete, anonymous and industrial material towards its unique incarnation. Humbly influenced by the Arte Povera processes, he is particularly interested in the mental change taking place when objects qualities are re-attributed, both literally and figuratively.


In its approach the obsolescence may be seen as a box of resonance to the anomaly which becomes a resistance. The anomaly itself can be defined as a moment when the object reaches a dysfunctional space. At this precise instant object’s exceptional character can appear, and with it, the potential status of an artwork. By creating an interruption in the object cycle, Boyard makes it branch out differently. It is the resilience resulting of this process which will enable him to produce an art object.
Definition of the object’s associations is an exercise which demands a considerable cultural resource. Indeed, it isn’t enough to survey the history of materials or the history of applied arts. The key to Boyard’s way of working is the full awareness of the form itself as a cultural construction and an amalgam. Accordingly, he models the social relationships inherent to his project, depending on his intended object. Links with the industrial world, its modes of production, but also relations of the man to himself and his consumption find in this set the central place. A balance between those different forces can be felt when a value other than commercial is given to the object. In Boyard’s works, only the hand can finish an object, and this fact provides it with a symbolic and unique dimension.


He divides the things, by selecting their qualities in a space-time of a hand. In this concept of vernacular creation exists a powerful link to man and his limits, whether that be in the scale of the object or the space-time which it inhabits. If the hand is seen as the mind’s ultimate tool, it requires to reconsider the scale of what surrounds us. The intervention operated by the artist, pervade the original références to give back a signature to the thing which becomes an object. This artwork is therefore only possible through the singularity of the non-automated hand which gives it a new container: itself.


We are therefore close to a ready-made practice with the exception that Jérémie Boyard places references into hierarchy. He is not displaying the same thing in a different context but rather placing different things in the same context. It is indeed the very character of his work: his way of highlighting the main reference as though it were the dominant paint layer in a painting.
He introduces a utopic quality to industrial ‘still lives’ which become manifestos of destruction, creation and of the relationships of attraction and repulsion that human beings have with the world. It in this double movement, oscillating from one extreme to the other, Jérémie Boyard’s looks for the flaws which will form the basis of his artwork. Accordingly, they become ‘nests’ of thoughts and references, sorts of time and geographical capsules. From entities with a standardized history, these objects become landmarks which tell our human history differently. He modestly adjusts the fruit of our consumer imaginations by prioritizing the chance and the signification, qualities which are hard to reconcile with modern history.
But by re-creating an object, he also pays tribute to all past inventors and creators.


Michèle Rossignol, april 2019