Mattie and I of AMATEURS have been living in 126 Gallery in Rennes for the past 10 days, preparing for our very first solo exhibition. We’ve been making giant flags and giant mikado. We still got many things to do, but the opening is tonight! Hence, this will be a quick post.
Here is the text (in French) written by our good friend Guillaume Pellay about us for the exhibition (translated by his good friend Donnie Ka).
Bordeaux, Troyes, Paris ; Seoul, Los Angeles, Treviso, Amsterdam, Paris ; we’re gonna have to clear things up a bit before we start talking about Rennes.
Mathieu Julien and Jin Angdoo, amateurs ; Jin Angdoo and Mathieu Julien, amateurs. It’s crazy : it works both ways. Let’s start from here then, from what brought them together in Paris, as a tandem, like this vehicle which carried them from bivouacs to duck soups these past few summers, on the roads of Southwestern France.
The rest of the year, they share an appartment : the theater in which their little enterprises take place. It asks for a rigorous organization – it’s always the case in exiguous parisian spaces. Mathieu and Jin paint and cut, sew and dye, borrowing technics and machines here and there. They engage in long and repetitive tasks with craftsman-like patience and a certain savoir-faire, based on a blend of handymen common sense, pure observation, and Youtube tutorials. They design various items, not mere sculptures or paintings. Our Amateurs are not petty amateurs, but people who got rid of this adjective and freed from this qualification, a qualification too often summoned as a gross opposition to the science of professionalism.
Each time, their project is directed toward a finished object. The Amateurs share a common appreciation for plain shapes, for colors clashing in big shades, for abstract compositions spawning a need for contemplation. They share a sharp sense of harmony, of trimmed details. For them, it seems like the « how » is as important as the « why » : the constant need for thinking, learning new technics, and shaping, is inherent to their dynamics. Mathieu will write texts with a photosensitive mixture or create compositions with felted wool onto jumpers. One day, Jin will write a choreographed piece for colored rocks, small enough to fit between her fingers. The next day, she will sew large cotton flags, almost bigger than herself : banners without ideology, only spreading the beauty of their own composition. Together, they create tote bags, each of them unique, made of hundreds of shapes, cut in cloth and pieced together.
Their art fits in a household environment,. They float between two worlds, originating both in art and craftsmanship. In that sense, their approach is a reminder of the 19th century Arts & Crafts movement in Great Britain : people who tried to bring art and daily life together by working on furnitures and everyday objects, creating the idea of design in the process.
The 126 is a group of friends with an incredible energy, all living in the 126, avenue Général Leclerc in Rennes, a huge house that gave them their name. 126 is also the name of the gallery they set up in their garage, where they’ve been curating amazing events and exhibitions for more than two years now. By inviting Amateurs, the Galerie 126 is definitely establishing a rule : every re-opening in September will be the time for a Moderne Jazz exhibition. This past summer, Mathieu and Jin also did a voice-over for a short documentary about this team of graffiti artists they’re part of. It was produced by Arte Creative TV. In this video, Jin speaks a perfect english, way too natural to be faked : it comes from her childhood, spent somewhere in the vastness of Los Angeles. As for Mathieu, he spent his youth in Bordeaux, and it’s a bit less obvious.
In Rennes, they will present a body of work that will clearly exceed the usual space of exhibition. Precise and ambitious works, way too precise and ambitious, even, not to overshadow the modesty of their authors : Amateurs.
If you are in Rennes, join us tonight for the opening and a game of giant mikado : )
126 Avenue Général Leclerc
“Amateurs” vernissage on Sept 18 at 18.30
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