Installation view, Galerie Parliament, Paris, 2022
Now you see it, 2022, glazed ceramic, 136 x101x25 cm
Impuzzibilities, 2022, glazed ceramic, porcelain, 126x69x18 cm
Clearly impossible, 2022, latex, porcelain, glazed ceramic,
Bound to Please II, 2022, glazed ceramic, 143x62x22,5cm
Mismade, 2015-2022, glazed ceramic and ceramic, 159x27x16 cm,
Standing blue, 2015-2022, glazed ceramic and ceramic and porcelain, 82x9x8 cm
Untitled, 2015-2022, glazed ceramic and ceramic, 96x21x21 cm
Two standing, 2015-2022, glazed ceramic and ceramic, 75x21x10 cm
Curtain call, 2013-2022, glazed ceramic and ceramic, 78x19x23 cm
Untitled, 2015-2022, glazed porcelain and ceramic, 68x24x14 cm Untitled, 2013-2022, glazed ceramic and ceramic, 82 x 21 x 14 cm Untitled, 2015-2022, glazed ceramic and ceramic, 78 x 15 x 8 cm
Grand Finale, 2021, glazed ceramic, 119x77x1,5 cm
Charlotte Dualé, influenced by childhood exposure to magic shows on television, explores illusions and their link to the body and the dominance enforced by patriarchal society.
These shows prominently feature women being cut in half or made to disappear. In these acts, women are portrayed as glamorous, sexy assistants, subjected to various bodily tortures, symbolically representing their passive and submissive role. The magic show becomes a manifestation of masculine desire, with women transformed into obedient objects, their bodies controlled and manipulated by male magicians.
Dualé's exhibition "Impuzzibil" breaks away from conventional magic tricks by using ceramic sculptures to unveil the hidden aspects. The exhibition comprises three parts, beginning with colored ceramic tubes resembling dismembered body parts or prostheses. These tubes are strategically attached to the wall, evoking images of bondage and torture, symbolizing the control and subjugation of the body.
In the second act, the tubes are placed in boxes, resembling a magic trick. The bodies, once restrained, contort and crack, striving to vanish and adapt to the imposed physical and mental constraints. Despite the symbolic violence, the ceramics feature vibrant colors, reflecting the dual nature of magic shows as both entertainment and catalysts for transformation. Through playful exploration of shapes, colors, and materials, Dualé also acknowledges the power of magic as a playful force that enables change.
The concluding artwork, "Grand Finale," is a wall installation showing a body perpetually disassembling and reconstructing itself, symbolizing the potential for self-fragmentation as a chance for intentional reconstruction. Each person can discover a distinct reconfiguration of their identity. In this context, true magic arises, converting domination into liberation, destruction into creation, and violence into restoration.
by An Paenhuysen
The body has been a long fascination of artist Charlotte Dualé. In her sculptural work i appears undefinable, as parts of a body, maybe arms or legs, let’s say they are limbs and they seem tired limbs folded onto one another, fleshy and exhausted, but also with a faint hint of resistance to them, a slim chance of a positive turn, a resurrectio beyond the grave. Because Dualés ceramic sculptures are flawed like human bodies. They have scars, they bleed, they have blotches. They cavil, quarrel shudder, grumble disillusioned, sick, crushed, sore. Dualé shows them on the tiles of what could be bathrooms or on the hooks of the dressing room in the gym. They also surrender as damp cloths on shelves.
In her new show at Parliament in Paris, the sculptures regained colour (like red and
blue) and their spirit is more upbeat. They find themselves in boxes, equally colourful, and there is an element of play. “Impuzzibil”, the title of the exhibition, adds to the fun. So what is impossible? Thinking the infinite is impossible. Disappearing in the universe isso too. You have to die to do so, to pass away. Except when it’s magic. Magic is having a come-back over the past couple of years, also in the arts. Shamanism, sorcery,witches. A recent book on the topic by the Oxford professor of archaeology Chris Gosden calls magic the "oldest and most neglected strand of human behaviour”.
Magicians make things disappear. Like rabbits out of a hat, a bouquet of flowers (als out of a hat), and anything bigger needs a box to hide. Like women. It was while watching a magician at work on television that Charlotte Dualé noticed its fascinating gendering. The male magicians put their female assistants in a box. There they get stil and are made to disappear. A violent act dressed up as entertainment so you don’t even register it. But the artist noticed and decided to do some research behind the scenes. How does it work to be sawn in half, disembodied, decapitated, vanished? Or how to fold a body into the smallest space conceivable?
It is said that women are more body than men. Bodies that bring about excess, sexual desire, loss of control. Bodies that are wanted. Non-solid, roundish bodies. Juicy, ripe fruit, wet laundry. In Charlotte Dualé’s work they protrude out of the holes in the magic boxes. When I met the artist in her Berlin studio, about a month before the opening of her Paris exhibition, the oven has just been turned on to burn the ceramics. Dualé was trying out the boxes with peep holes in them, stuffed here and there with fabrics or wrapped in latex. Vanishing acts often involve hiding in the folds of textiles or warping the body in the strangest positions.
There is a long history of making women disappear, of making them superfluous. Simply putting them in the domestic space can do the trick. If you think of it, Valerie Solanas’ S.C.U.M., short for “Society for Cutting Up Men”, of 1967 was a humorous antidote. The satire was set to make men disappear as their lack of empathy prevented a human society. Solanas liked to turn things upside down. There was no such thing as the Freudian “Penis-Neid”, she argued, but instead men were missing a leg, being XY yearning to be XX. The male spends his life attempting to become female, and thereby overcome his inferiority.
In Impuzzibil, there are these bodies struggling and folding and stretching in stacked boxes. They didn’t disappear but they’re not fully there either. And there is no magician present to help out. But Charlotte Dualé’s work is always inspired by the potential of a body. Our vessels might be cracked and leaky, subjugated to the wishes of others. And we might tell ourselves not to reach out for the impossible anymore, but then, again and again, we do.
The exibition was on view at Parliament in Paris from 25 MARS - 14 MAI 2022