News 2017-18

  • Residency at École Municipale des Beaux-Arts de Châteauroux (FR)
  • Traverse Vidéo, High school Ozenne, Toulouse (FR)
  • Festival du film invisible, Design Days, Pavillon Sicli, Genève (CH)
  • A Great Opening, Chaideny, Le Plessis-Robinson (FR)
  • SESIFF, International Extreme Short Image & Film Festival, Séoul (KR)
  • Chantier de la création, Fonds social, européen de Seine-Saint-Denis, Mains d’Œuvres, Saint-Ouen (FR)
  • Tout ce que vous avez toujours voulu savoir sur les résidents, sans jamais oser le demander – Mains d’Œuvres, Saint-Ouen (FR)


2016, Mains d'Œuvres

Olivier Jonvaux develops its work mainly in sculpture and more recently, from 3D modeling tools. This relationship to forms, from dried clay to advanced numerical modeling, allows him to highlight the objects maieutic, from their birth to their disappearance.

Considering their production contingency and the environment that surrounds them, these works are developing from everyday experiences and reflects, through the genesis of objects, to a circulation of signs and forms. These movements are reflected in the repetition of gestures or successive appearances phenomena : invisible matter, sensation of déjà vu, thoughts or stories are treated not as a subject but as a way of production in itself.

Insignificant subjects as a backpack, an umbrella stand or his cat neighbor undergo the opposite of their banality by a dynamic movement. Work becomes the catalyst for a chain reaction, as a living experience used like a diversion engine of representation systems. His approach fits between art and experimental design, in a language poetry, where semantic and identity are replayed at every opportunity.

Neufs manières de détruire les choses

2015, Sophie Lapalu

Quelle déformation est à l’œuvre dans le travail de transposition d’une image en sa réalisation sculpturale ? Que fait-il subir à la matière, à l’objet, au projet même ? Est-ce que l’œuvre pourrait se situer dans cette différence inframince, pour reprendre un terme duchampien, entre une œuvre et sa répétition ? Tout le travail d’Olivier Jonvaux s’articule autour de ces questionnements. Un sac à dos en pâte à modeler réalisé pour une exposition se trouve être très légèrement différent du même sac à dos, fait avec la même pâte à modeler, quelques mois plus tard, pour une nouvelle exposition (Prisme, 2015). En effet, les pigments de la pâte se sont entre-temps mêlés et la matière picturale est devenue le témoin des différentes occurrences de la sculpture.

Reprenant des formes quotidiennes et familières (sac à dos, cafetière, chat, cabine de douche…), l’artiste les fait circuler sous différentes matérialités. De la pâte à modeler donc, à l’image 3D, en passant par l’installation et la signification de l’absence, les mêmes formes naviguent d’un médium à l’autre. Mein Blue (2015) est une vidéo d’images 3D totalement bleue (la couleur par défaut dans les logiciels) où l’on observe une série d’objets – présents dans l’atelier de l’artiste – placés sur un train en circulation. Or l’artiste a recréé tous les éléments de la vidéo en sculptures de papier (Pepakura Pantin, 2015). Présentées ensemble, ces deux œuvres obligent le spectateur à naviguer d’une forme à l’autre, ne sachant plus ce qui fut le modèle – la fiction ou l’objet réel ? 9 manières de détruire les choses (en cours) ne déroge pas à la règle. À partir d’une vidéo de tutorat trouvée sur Internet expliquant 9 façons d’anéantir des objets dans un univers virtuel (3D), Jonvaux crée une série de sculptures portant sur ces fameuses manières de détruire la matière. Aussi ramène-t-il le virtuel (censé imiter le réel à la perfection) au réel – à la sculpture – mais pour mieux l’anéantir. Les matériaux comme le public se trouvent pris en étau dans une inquiétante répétition.

The five whys

2014, OÙ - lieu d'exposition pour l'art actuel

For his first solo show, Olivier Jonvaux decided to place under the sign of number five. Originally, five copies of a multiple co-produced by Astérides association are presented simultaneously. The opportunity for the artist to decline all works submitted from this method. The principle of the Five Whys method is to ask why five times to determine the progress made between a cause and its effect. From idea to implementation, or creation to production, many steps that create new artistic possibilities.

In the artist's work, these different times are used to question the genesis of surrounding forms. The presented multiple refer to “RV5JB+”, a random molecular representation formed by the air, and painted in four colors. This sculpture is a series of analog serie, “Tableau élémentaire en quatre couleurs”, which reuses the form of atomic table of elements while incorporating another combinatorial system, wich colors are represented by drawings. Olivier Jonvaux continues to work by coincidence and opportunities he meets without ever imposing signature style or effect, but rather by linking signs each others. By extension, his work plays on the relationship between creation method and everyday reality.


2015, CEAAC Strasbourg

The “Prism” exhibition make the report of a formal group with multiple ramifications. Composed with sculpture series and one video, it transposes by poetic way the decomposition of light, and the transition of an idea to its materialization.

During his residency at Kulturbunker, supported by CEAAC (Centre européen d’actions artistiques contemporaines), the Alsace region and the cultural department of Frankfurt city, the subject of his research was the implementation of different modeling techniques through softwares. By means of a daily practice, these new data follow on research he carries to the origin of forms as a production pattern. Back in his native city, he decided to gather under one set both new works and studies from his early work to adress his minds on his plastic identity, and what generates it. From a plasticine sculpture to manufacturing forms developed by computer, the confrontation of these processes leads the visitor to browse these analogies as lived experiences.

Accompanying and extending the exhibition to CEAAC, Olivier Jonvaux compiles in the edition entitled "Mitsu", a series of cats photo, with a similar representation to the sculpture. Curious cat with ghostly robe, it explores an area interpreted as a non-space, an almost empty studio. The book plays between abstract representation and real space. It continued the artist's work around the comings and goings of signs and images, their appearance and those consequences.

About dreams and moving objects

2016, Olivier Jonvaux in conversation with Elodie Gallina, responsible for international projects of the CEAAC (Centre européen d’actions artistiques contemporaines) and Christine Taxer, curator at AIR_Frankfurt

OJ — Usually, when preparing a residency, the first thing to wonder, is what kind of project could be proposed, what will justify my staying there. The specific question of a project birth, its links with a whole, or what links the work with what is experienced, is one of the issues that interests me since I left fine arts school. After all what founds a “project” and what drives my actions? I came to abandon this “ideology”, creating other production systems, especially related to my experiences or daily reactions. About a month before going to Frankfurt, I had a strange dream that I did’t really remember. That is why I wrote a text called train-train (“routine”) that describe the image I saw and interest me for several reasons. This free text, as a kind of thinking, became my project proposal.

EG — In the train-train text, you mention the repetition of everyday gestures, like an alternative to the project concept. You also compared the movement-creator idea of the routine which is associated to a relative immobility nevertheless reassuring and productive. How do you apprehend the mobility issue ? Can you tell us a bit about your daily life in Frankfurt ?

OJ — My daily life was exactly the same in Frankfurt as in Paris. I don’t work in the morning, but in the afternoon and in the evening. Usually, my ideas appear just before going to bed, and I work on them the next day. In this text explaining the dream I had, I saw the objects differently, I examined all the details, their position or material. As if dreams could not be simple, I was moving in a train, advancing rather quickly into the space. I thought this image was quite strong, as a statement, in other words, when we are elsewhere, the only thing that changes is the surroundings, but it can move us in a faster or slower way.

EG — The fragile work Prisme refers to the artist-adventurer figure face to some crystallization of your mobility/daily ?

OJ — It is mainly here a question of identity and circulation. Except the video on which I was working, Prisme sculpture is the first thing I created when I arrived at the residency space place. I first wanted to feel at home, recover my habits and feel good. The sculpture is born in this state of mind, reconnected to my roots. So I took again a sculptural project I made six years ago, which exactly matches with my first exhibition. At the Museum of Modern Art of Saint-Etienne, I exposed a backpack made with dry clay at scale 1. The reading I had of this work, has been set aside to keep only its process. At this time, I didn’t realize that its systematic reproduction, due to its fragility, was a specificity itself. Then this rather trivial thing has become significant. Modelling clay unlike argil or Fimo which bind by firing, is a material that can to be reused. Mixing colours together, as a stratification of successive gestures rightly expresses this anachronism.

EG — Karl Gottlob Schelle speaks about a boardwalk art, awakening the idea that “the walk agrees with it something of the spirit”. In the video Mein Blue, it’s your environment that is invited to move. You also designed the scenography of your exhibition to some analogy with the space and the furniture in your studio Frankfurt. Like path zones, you promote circulation with the public and Mitsou cat in this familiar environment. Is this exhibition space become the support for living memory the viewer can reactivate ?

OJ — Mein Blue is the most faithful reproduction of my studio in Frankfurt based on open-source models. The sensation of living in a place that is being reproduced virtually is difficult to describe. 3D modeling allowed myself to fly and cross the space as I wanted. Rather than speak about “memory”, I prefer the idea of an acitve “thought”, in progress, as a mental space, or studio’s idea. I could not find the exact models of furniture or equipment in Frankfurt, that is why there is a certain distance. This distance is even greater in the exhibition as the sculptures presented are not corresponding to any specific places. They are derived from a unique technical parameter that is to be printable in Pepakura (paper), under the same categories (washbasin, chair, light, etc.) which make of them a living space. Finally, the viewer can walk through a mental space, an interior concept embodied in the furniture or everyday use.

EG — The title of your video refers to its colour, but it also reveals the sense of melancholy, cockroach (to feel blue). Is the experience of the residence, the testing of itself in its ability to produce and the confrontation with another culture makes vulnerable?

OJ — The video title Mein Blue is a mix of German / English language that I heard and that resonated most often around me. I mentioned in an “automatic title”, in a sort of relation to being and the unknown. As it may, the feeling of melancholy and pathos in general does not interest me, because apart the fact that there is enough around like this, I feel it as an answer to an empathetic request even a mercantile one. At the opposite, I would be more interested for tragedy, which has more links with reality. But the blue color is a reference to the blueprint and wider to the revealing effect of cyanotypes. This color is, for some reason that escapes me, the most widespread in 3D demonstration models. It is interesting to consider that knowledge (technical or theoretical) gives ways for interpretation, dreams and legends, and to seize it.

EG — Your work specifically meets the abstract and real space. Are benchmarks important in your work, in your daily life?

OJ — I like the use of “benchmark” to speak about abstraction, like a guard-rail for stairs or a good old working table. As I observe a lot surprises and coincidences that may happen, I especially lean on very concrete things. If certain things may seem abstract, they are actually very materialistic. This abstraction is important for me, it also presupposes a mental reading of things.

EG — Your universe is sown with polymorphic works. There is also plenty of sociological, scientific or mythological references, you also mention Marcel Mauss. Can you tell me more about your influences ?

OJ — My influences are varied, even if my works come from conceptual art and Fluxus. Between experimental design and a sort of conceptual representation, my interest goes to artists like Josh Smith or Robert Filliou, who explored the very notion of identity through the systematization, although my influences range from Oldenburg to Joe Scanlan for their direct relation to the object and influence in society. Marcel Mauss was a reference to the use of the gift, from which I made a neologism called “objeste” which described the relationship between an object and its environment. Right now, I’m interested in the vampirism history into reggae music. It is a beautiful oxymoron and it gave the best songs of Peter Tosh, Augustus Pablo or Uppsetters. Lee Scratch Perry and Peter Tosh (who just burn his house this year) have really blown a lead at a moment, in contrast to their “cool” image. This kind of things interest me without this categorization can affect the forms produced.

CT — If I do remember it right, train-train refers to a French expression. Please, Can you explain its meaning to for those who don’t know the expression what! Is it right that your interpretation of your dream to which with that expression and you develop a concept of “routine” on its base ?

OJ — “Train-train” in French means routine. I don’t know exactly the origin of this expression, but it was probably popularized by the singer Joe Dassin, in his song Piano mécanique. It’s quite a negative expression, which means that the repetition of things is unproductive, like laziness or idleness. My first intention was to rehabilitate these values, in the continuity of the “art and life” concept. From my point of view, this repetition can be considered as a creative act in itself, as well as failure or surprise.

CT — Taking again Seizing Elodie’s question dealing with “mobility”: How does one obtain movement within routine? Ok, while following habits from morning to night, one acts in the course of time, like a train driving on its rails towards the same destination every day – but how is modification generated: how is it possible – instead of repeating the same gestures again and again, instead of following solid tracks – to develop a new movement? The arrangement of layers in Prisme may refer to the repetition of gestures, and so, document a process in time – “movement”; on the other hand, the layers are coloured what is a and feature of that the work and a deviation derived from the daily used rucksack – another type of “movement”. Furthermore, Mein Blue may be based on the studio’s furniture, but this furniture is transferred to the loading space of a driving running train. Significantly, the titles of both works refer to these deviations diversions. So, which types of movement do you know ? Enunciated basically: Tell us In what way is how your work is different distinct from mere “reproduction” ?

OJ — This “reproduction” is continuously replayed in different ways, especially with something “well done” or not. This is already a big gap like the evolution of writing from my childhood up to my age. For example, in “Prisme” exhibition at CEAAC, I made many sculptures out of paper, but they couldn’t remain erected because of the paper lightness. So I had to think about a parallel structure, like a skeleton. The outer skin made of paper (from 3D modeling) was already very well prepared, with lines and very precise spots. So I collected and used wood found in the street. It was more or less rotted wood, probably used before for other furniture. I screwed it quickly and barely, holding just enough to put the skin out of paper. This determinism in forms is due to ontological considerations observed in my own production. Taking into account some parameters which affect a construction in space, I used it as a metaphorical basis.

CT — Isn’t there a difference between “everyday life as the carrying out of everyday activities” and “everyday life as a reference mark of for artistic production” ? In which relationship stands these both notions in your working process ?

OJ — Avoiding traps of deconstruction, I am particularly interested in the temporality and modes of a creative process, and when I’m observing forms around me, I also included my own work. So, the limit between art and object is confused and plays again this identity at each occasion. These daily that surrounds me is a way to isolate my proposal to a single aesthetic category, which rightly serves me as an engine to my projects. For me, it seems important to acknowledge that a work is never disconnected from its context, and from which it was born. Sometimes I document my work with night views, during assembly, or under construction. Therefore, the resulting communication replays also this ongoing process.

CT — "Vampirism" – that is inspiring regarding to our exchange about "reproduction" and its forms! What does that term exactly mean? First of all, one thinks of blood-sucking vampires, and as a principle, I imagine that it refers to something like "using another's work for one's own work". A very common principle in music, and you find a variety of forms differing in the relationship in which the 'other's blood' and the 'own work' stand – for example: interpretation: performance of a fixed composition by a musician; improvisation: here, the performance includes a spontaneously performed portion; cover version: a new version of an original by another musician; remix: includes a processing of the original voices resp. sound tracks; mash-up: crossing of vocal and instrumental tracks of other musicians, comparable to a collage; mostly illegal. (Maybe I have to revise the selection of examples...) Would you say that one of these approaches reflects your way of working?

OJ — This make me think about Nicolas Bouriaud's book about “Postproduction”. I'm not a “digital native”, like people born with the internet, but I think that people of my age have quickly got into those types of idea. Those examples you quoted are clearly ways to work, but I don't really use those terms. We could compare this to vampirism; as you put it, this is an example that refers to that type of analogy, but it also helps to take things in a different direction, like a dream, invisible matters or unexplained phenomena. I am more and more interested in using these daily experiences within a territory without responses and arguments, as if the objects were taking on a somewhat dubious, almost precarious aura.

SketchUp /Down Code. An aesthetic of exhaustion

2016, Marion Zilio

When Brian O'Doherty published his collection of essays entitled “Inside The White Cube. The Ideology of the Gallery Space ”, his intentions were far from flattering. His goal was to scrutinize and dismantle the history of the white cube, and to bring its many contradictions up to date. By curating the White Screen site, founded by Emilie Brout and Maxime Marion, the two artists Caroline Delieutraz and Kevin Cadinot are revisiting the allegedly neutral and apolitical white cube and examining it through the lens of what is now known as the catch-all phrase post-internet art. From cube to screen, from screen to 3D object, artists are still questioning the eternal impact of container on content. Context has become the content, albeit one in perpetual dispersal.

Furthermore, why host an online exhibition in an era where anyone can be a creator, and curator, of content? How do artists tackle the obstacles of real and unreal, material and intangible, in a so-called immersive non-space, in which objects only appear to be real? Whereas 3D software and video games have a wide range of textures, layers and filters at their disposal, allowing them to rival reality and in some cases enhance it, and whereas the digital economy is pumping out increasingly smooth and overly aesthetic imagery, the curators have chosen to keep the site's interface simple and uncluttered. The horizon line in Google's 3D software Sketchup presents an instantly recognisable separation between blue sky and solid green, and becomes a backdrop for experimentation by offering an elementary tool set, able to imitate anything from rough sketches to bold technical drawings. From infinite refresh cycles to the remarkable plasticity of its objects, we are tempted to try and exhaust its possibilities and to explore the boundaries of its system in a struggle against predictability. Resembling icons on a desktop, the artworks act as shortcuts to their own self-contained worlds. Perhaps these archaic shapes illustrate our need to control something that is constantly slipping away and shutting us out from the artistic process, as a result of increasing automation and high-speed evolution.

By bringing John Cage's River, Rocks and Smoke up to date, Olivier Jonvaux has produced several models of digital stones under the “Free Art License”. The models float without context in the middle of blank paper. The synthetic version of the object points only to a series of algorithms, and any likeness to its physical counterpart is a projection of the viewer's beliefs. However, just like river rocks are shaped by the course of time and water, these copyleft files are destined to be circulated, used and transformed. The concept of randomness, that Yi-King devised and that Cage defended, is transferred to a computational generator that opens a path to the non-configurable, and thus surpassing its programmatic nature.


Solo shows

2015Prisme — CEAAC, Centre européen d'actions artistiques contemporaines, Strasbourg
2014Les cinq pourquoi — OÙ - lieu d'exposition pour l'art actuel, Marseille

Workshops / Residencies

2016-17Mains d’Œuvres — residency, Saint-Ouen
2015Kulturbunker — AIR residency, Frankfurt, avec le CEAAC Strasbourg
2014OÙ - lieu d’exposition pour l’art actuel — residency, Marseille
2012Astérides — residency, Friche de la Belle de Mai, Marseille
Flux in Flux — workshop with Michel Giroud, ENSBA Lyon
2009Paris, laboratoire des avants-gardes — workshop with Michel Giroud, ENSBA Lyon

Editions / Multiples

2016Le musée ouvert — Mains d’Œuvres, 100 exemplaires, 10 EP
2015Mitsu — CEAAC Strasbourg, 60 exemplaires
2014Phœnix — Julie Portier, Mains d'Œuvres, 500 exemplaires
Flybook — collectif Stalles, Mains d’Œuvres, 5 exemplaires
2013(Vingt ans après…) — catalogue Astérides, 900 exemplaires
2012R-V5JB+ — multiples d’Astérides, 5 exemplaires
2010Variations Infinies — « Édition spéciale » #15, 20 exemplaires
2009À froisser — « NPJSVP » #26, affiche pliée et postée, 80 exemplaires
300 ppp nb lum./cont. +15 +15 — « 165 235 », 50 exemplaires


2017« Blue Island » — Mo Gourmelon, l’espace croisé, Roubaix
« Neuf manières de détruire les choses » — Sophie Lapalu, AIC IDF — Jan Weiss, Channeling design & ideas (DE) — David Liebermann, Internet Database (DE)
« SketchUp / Down Code » — Marion Zillio, Point Contemporain
Moodeoftheweek — Romain Semeteys, Lechassis
« À propos des rêves et des objets en mouvements » — Interview with Elodie Galina and Christine Taxer, Druckerei Henrich Aoki&Matsumoto (DE)
2014« TTC, THC » — Julie Portier & Stalles, Phœnix, LENDROIT Editions, Rennes
2012« Zone d’Experimentation 5 » — Interview with Constance Barrère d’Angleterre et Mathild Guyon, Astérides
« Exposition de Noël » — Le MAGASIN, Grenoble
Mulhouse 012 — catalogue d'exposition, Mulhouse
« Du bricolage considéré comme un des beaux-arts » — Jean-Louis Roux, Les Affiches, Grenoble

Group shows

2017Tout ce que vous avez toujours voulu savoir sur les résidents, sans jamais oser le demander — Mains d’Œuvres, Saint-Ouen (FR)
Vente aux enchères — Mains d’Œuvres, Saint-Ouen (FR)
Saison vidéo — Centre d’art l’espace croisé, Roubaix (FR)
2016Jungle numérique — Mains d’Œuvres, Saint-Ouen (FR)
Papier 3.0 — Le Séchoir association, Mulhouse (FR)
USB Shuffle Show — Institut für Alles Mögliche, Berlin (DE)
ResidenZen — Basis, Frankfurt am Main (FRDE
USB Shuffle Show — Institut für Alles Mögliche, Berlin (DE)
International Short Film Festival — La Jetée, Clermont-Ferrand (FR)
Bibliothèque — 6B, lieu de création, Saint-Denis (FR)
Panique — L’amour, Bagnolet (FR)
White Screen — Jeune Création, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris Pantin (FR)
2015Yes to all — Treize, Paris (FR)
Art-O-Rama (multiples) — la Cartonnerie, Marseille (FR)
Recto/verso — Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (FR)
Bande passante — Bazar compatible program, Shanghai (CN)
2014Festival des Paysages — galerie Artopie, Meisenthal (FR)
De nombreuses réclamations sont parvenues à l'empereur — Palais de Tokyo, Paris (FR)
Les faunes — forêt de Bitche, Lorentzen (FR)
2013Christmas Art Fair — Galerie du 5ème, Marseille (FR)
La palissade — les Subsistances, ENSBA Lyon (FR)
Art-O-Rama (multiples) — la Cartonnerie, Marseille (FR)
2012Christmas Art Fair — Hors-Les-Murs, Marseille (FR)
Huis Clos — Hors-Les-Murs, Marseille (FR)
Exposition de Noël — Ancien Musée de Peinture, Grenoble (FR)
Mulhouse 012 — Parc des expositions, Mulhouse (FR)
2011Estampes, livres, affiches — Délégation Parisienne du Grand Lyon, Paris (FR)
2009Travaux en cours — Musée d’Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne (FR)

Awards / Grants

2016Chantier de la création — Fonds social européen, Seine-Saint-Denis
Individual grant for creation — DRAC, Île-de-France
2015Production grant — CEAAC, Strasbourg
2012Production grant — Astérides, Marseille


2011MFA — École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon
2014BFA — École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon


Mains d'ŒuvresCEAAC (Centre Européen d'Actions Artistiques Contemporaines)AstéridesOÙ - lieu d'exposition pour l'art actuelÉcole Municipale des Beaux-Arts de Châteauroux

Design / Code

Jean Haderer, Cédric Pierre, Aram Mkrtchyan, Olivier Jonvaux
© 2013 — 2018


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UPD— 26.02.2018