Today I am interviewing textile artist Elodie Antoine and her abstract 3D sculptures and objects. It’s fun to have work which is open to interpretation. Let us explore the motivation behind the artworks.
Does your ‘Fish Hook Eyelashes’ reject traditional beauty ideals and make gold diggers of those who don’t?
It is rather a way to make fun of all that we, women, impose on ourselves in the game of seduction to try to catch men. The high heels, the false eyelashes, the make-up. I made this work when I was 20 years old and at the time I played with a lot of these artifices. It was a form of self-mockery.
Can a woman be a ‘Princess’ and also be empowered?
Yes, of course, each person has her own way to feel empowered. My princesses are strong and fragile, also a bit scary. They are complex. We never see their faces, they are not very well groomed, their hair is badly combed. These figures are between animals and princesses.
Did you research anatomical studies in preparation for your uterus and maternity pants? Are they to scale? And are the pants recycled?
Yes I did some research to make this work but at that time (more than 20 years ago) it was not easy to find anatomical representations of the female sex. I think it is more or less to scale. Yes they are recycled panties. I had partnered with a second hand clothing company and I had worked on imaginary stories revolving around the lives of the former owners of the clothes.
In your ‘Nightie Dress with Ties’ what do the ties represent? Are you embracing the fragility of women, exploring ownership through pregnancy, expressing sexual freedom in the variety of used ties, or none of the above?
When I made this piece I wanted to talk about male and female gender clichés in clothing. I did it in a very intuitive way but after thinking about it now I can assume that the last proposal is the right one, sexual freedom for women.
Your zip thorax is fabulous! How did you achieve stability within the structure?
Thank you. I just went through a trial and error process. I worked with metal zippers I had (they were a bit stiff), pinned and sewed them in different ways until I got the result I liked.
Did you use your own breast as a mold in the polyester breast? Explain the process. Why red?
No, this is a friend’s breast. I cast it when she was eight months pregnant and I wanted to make a sculpture that was custom made for her baby. I molded her breast with plaster and then I made a plaster cast and reconstructed the sphere. The final object is in epoxy resin. I sanded it until it was perfect and then had it lacquered. The red is because children’s toys are often in primary colors. I wanted it to look like a toy. There is a weight inside the sculpture which ensures the nipple always returns when pushed in. It is a “culbuto” as one says in French, a tumbling toy.
Is your ‘Sliced White Felt’ an abstract womb or are you simply exploring layered pattern and colour?
My felt sculptures are abstract but they evoke many things. They look like organs, food, fruit, but never copied from nature.
Is your ‘Carnivorous Flower’ a huge vagina? What do the zips represent?
You won’t believe me but when I made this sculpture I was not aware that it looked like a gigantic sex. I liked the shape. I thought it looked like a huge footstool that you would be afraid to sit on. But I didn’t realize how sexual it was. The first time I showed it to someone they asked me “Is it a huge vulva?” and that’s when I realized. I try not to think too much when ideas and forms emerge. I make it first and then observe. If I had been aware of what I was doing I might not have done it so quietly!
What inspired your ‘Fungus Furniture’?
I like the idea of a living sculpture that can contaminate a space. I like to apply the logic of evolution copied from nature to inanimate objects. We can imagine that if we leave this armchair for a few years the mushrooms will proliferate. And I find mushrooms, mosses and lichens absolutely fascinating. It’s also the visual similarities between velvet and mould that are behind this work.
Which artists do you admire?
Yves Klein for his freedom, inspiring me to become a visual artist. And Louise Bourgeois obviously…
You can view Elodie’s fabulous creations here objects (elodieantoine.be) You can view my own Womanhood Collection here Abstract Textile Artist | Ccunningham-textileartist-woman (wixsite.com)