She did not take up painting because she was weary of ordinary life— she felt an overriding need to use line and oils on canvas to express the idea of individuals being drowned in crowds. Clothilde does not have an artistic background, has never studied at an art school, and her technique is solely based on her instincts, her urgent need to express herself, and her rigour. Her work is mathematical—mathematics is in her blood—, in that it is ‘fractal and chaotic’. However, underneath all this, one can see that she enjoys expressing her concerns and deals with them in large colourful compositions.
The crowd is the master that encourages us to abandon ourselves. When we are in a crowd we forget ourselves; we become crazy, lose our inhibitions, entrust it with our sense of responsibility, our free will, and offer it our personal conscience. It does not matter what we do because everyone else is behaving in the same way. Group thinking becomes personal thinking. We copy what others do, and welcome the fact that the crowd obliterates certain things. We are links and are all alike; we are tiny links in an ensemble that we nurture. The crowd opens its arms to us and embraces us; it takes us to places that we would not go to on our own. It is a benevolent mass, a coloured and harmonious colossus that—in a painting—translates a clear link: it is part of us, and we are part of it. We should in no way fear the crowd because it sublimates us and makes us—and others like us—better… them, us … together in constant movement, a powerful and creative force.
So, does the individual come to life and find meaning in disorder? Confusion liberates us because it makes us question our direction, and prompts us to search, think, choose, and create. It obliges us to look at the road on which we are travelling rather than the speedometer. It invites us to live life again and allows us to experience life. The individual is opposed to standardisation, not the crowd. The philosopher Georges Canguilhem stated that ‘reason is as regular as an accountant, life is as anarchic as an artist’. On her high wire, performing a delicate balancing act, Clothilde produces canvases in which this idea resonates.
Translation: Jonathan & David Michaelson
Artistic Direction: Stéphane Gautier
Special thanks to Stéphane, Virginie, Valérie, Bruno, Stéphanie, Catherine, Patrick // Frédéric, Laurène, Romain and Simon, Gramy, Mamète, Isabelle, Bene, Ft, Guillaume, Héléna for their unwavering support // Juliette, Serge, Carole, Thierry, Martine, Jean-Pierre, Vanina, Olivier, Sylvie, Benjamin, Philippe, and all those who care for me day by day …