Interview with Wilfrid Almendra

Wilfrid Almendra is inspired by the motifs of the history of art and architecture as well as his past and daily life. His sculptures and installations are often made with poor or industrial materials, recovered, exchanged, recycled, then transcended by technical experiments and poetic inventions, where the beauty of the landscape paradoxically refers to the working-class environment. The artist, coming from a family of Portuguese immigrant workers, sometimes himself an artist-farmer cultivating vineyards and fruit trees, deploys a kind of wastelands conceived as open works, leaving place for projection and interpretation. In his work, Le mouvement de la danseuse, gravel replaces fresh grass or fine sand and peacock feathers extend steel rods planted on the barren landscape. This strangely harmonious landscape, at the edge of the mineral, animal and industrial worlds, creates a balance between the precious deployment of the peacock and the poverty of the other materials. The bird turned flower, enthroned on this rocky field, dancing according to the winds, gives the whole piece a spiritual aura. These association games also carry a powerful narrative potential: which world do these ruins come from? What landscape to reinvent? In a permanent movement of (re)construction, starting from the very product of demolition, Wilfrid Almendra also rethinks our systems of economic and social relations, and the indelible traces left by human in nature, both symptoms and symbols.

Courtesy of the artist & galerie Ceysson & Bénétière, Paris

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