Claire Tabouret - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I’ve always cared much about characters of situations that are out of the box: the difficulty about telling where we’re from or who we are." Claire Tabouret

    Claire Tabouret
    Les Veilleurs, 2014
    Collection of François Pinault, France
    Born in 1981 in Pertuis, France, contemporary visual artist Claire Tabouret’s upbringing was all-encompassing, as she was immersed into a world of art, literature, and music. Illustrating a passion for painting at the tender age of four that only continued to blossom throughout her teenage years, Tabouret went on to enroll in the Fine Arts programme at Paris’ École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where she received her bachelor’s degree in 2006. Six years later, she moved to China to participate in the Prix Yishu 8 artist residency and whilst there, started documenting her changing appearance through daily self-portraits rendered in Chinese ink on rice paper. This morning ritual not only offered an avenue for the artist to intimately explore the notion of identity and its evolving representations, it also signified the importance of the figure in her work from the early stages of her artistic career.

    Édouard Manet
    The Fife Player, 1866
    Collection of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris
    Tabouret’s breakthrough came in 2014 when the esteemed businessman and art collector François Pinault, after acquiring paintings of Tabouret’s for his collection, displayed her work Les Veilleurs at the L’illusione della luce exhibition hosted by Venice’s Palazzo Grassi. Les Veilleurs (2014), shares a number of remarkably similar compositional characteristics with the present work, Les déguisements, executed the same year. A further resemblance can be made to a fresco Tabouret completed for Pierre Yovanovitch’s Provence chapel in 2017, which depicts costumed children on the stone walls. Indeed, the artist is known to work in a style of cross-pollination, painting the same image several times before she feels it was been worn out. At once gestural and graphic, Les déguisements is a captivating example of Tabouret’s reinvigoration of the traditions of figure painting, encompassing the artist’s varied influences that have traversed the development of her practice, as well as the portrayal of features that have become instantly recognisable as the artist’s own.

    Claire Tabouret pictured in front of her 2017 fresco in the chapel of Pierre Yovanovitch’s castle, France
    Image Courtesy of Yohanne Lamoulère for M LE MAGAZINE DU MONDE
    Executed with a sophisticated, feathery hand, Les déguisements depicts two rows of four costumed children looking straight at the viewer ‘in a peculiar mood: they’re not sad, but solemn and serious’ with a ‘latent, contained violence and anger in [their] gazes’ (Claire Tabouret, quoted in Léa Bismuth, ‘An Interview of Claire Tabouret’, 7 February 2014, online). As the viewer feels compelled to stare back, they too, are overcome with the uncanny sensation of being watched themselves. Although the artist is known to find inspiration from images found on the internet, the media, and in movies, it was from looking ‘obsessively’ at a personal archive of ‘family pictures [she] found when [her] grandmother died in 2012’ which held an ‘overflow of meaning [Tabouret] had to represent’ (Claire Tabouret, quoted in Léa Bismuth, ‘An Interview of Claire Tabouret’, 7 February 2014, online), that Tabouret first turned to the subject of children. Rendered in layers of ‘very vivid colours’ that are then ‘progressively covered and get darker’ (Claire Tabouret, quoted in an interview with Galerie Isabelle Gounod, YouTube, 2012, online), the anonymous group in the present work eludes us, as they have been taken from their contexts and reactivated into the midst of her mystical pictorial space hypnotically. Masqueraded in costumes with an aesthetic that nods directly to the self-portraits of Isabelle Eberhardt, an artist Tabouret has sourced as a direct reference, as well as the attire of Édouard Manet’s protagonist in his famous painting, The Fifer (1866), the classroom of children appear masked with new appearances, dynamically reflecting the artist’s focus on identity and the vulnerability of human relationships. Connected via their stares which are simultaneously alert and lucid, the children confront the viewer, trapped within a green-bathed scene they may not want to be part of; stuck in a limbo between the innocence of childhood and the impending burdens of the adulthood they face. In her indefinable time-space, as embodied in the present work, Tabouret brings to question the complex balance between the group versus the individual, the mental versus the physical, and the relationship between identity and memory.

    Having been the recipient of the Femmes D’Or prize in 2014, and honoured with a raft of solo exhibitions in key venues throughout the world, including at the Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Perrotin Gallery, Hong Kong (2019); Almine Rech Gallery, Paris (2018), and the YUZ Museum, Shanghai (2017), Tabouret’s visionary position within the art historical canon has undoubtedly been solidified.


Les déguisements (Disguises)

signed, titled and dated 'C. TABOURET 2015 "LES DÉGUISEMENTS"’ on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
161.7 x 129.8 cm. (63 5/8 x 51 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2015.

HK$550,000 - 750,000 

Sold for HK$3,500,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020