Tom Castinel, Bruno Silva

28 January — 25 March 2021

For the exhibition Half-Park, Tom Castinel and Bruno Silva collaborate to create a hybrid environment where organic and synthetic elements are combined in a collage of shapes and encrustations of materials. Moss columns and forms made of polystyrene and shell powder suggesting plants and rocks interact with concrete furniture, whose rough surface resembles the bark of a tree. Here everything is false or pretending to be real. The artists are also producing a film in the exhibition space, which is temporarily transformed into a film set. Inspired by the final scene of the film Cosmopolis (2012), by Canadian director David Cronenberg, the script written by Tom Castinel and Bruno Silva is a fictional projection of their exchanges in the studio, a story of the appropriation of each other’s work and of role-playing.

The artists invited Wilfried Assume to present work in In extenso’s showcase.

Pietro Della Giustina: The visual you have chosen for the exhibition represents a coral and a forest, two very different worlds, could you tell me a little more about it?

Bruno Silva: The visual for the exhibition is composed of two gifts, which each one of us gave to the other. In the foreground there is a fake coral, an aquarium sculpture that Tom gave me. The image behind, the landscape, is the cover of an album I gave Tom a year or two ago, by a popular Portuguese singer, Antonio Variações. The title of the album translates to “giving and receiving”. The visual seemed to introduce the exhibition perfectly, an open exchange between two practices, a play of forms. In this visual… everything is fake!

Tom Castinel: It’s a kind of dreamlike landscape. The exhibition is an amalgam of green space, botanical garden, zoo, playground and relaxation area.

BS: It’s a synthesis of a park, hence the title of the exhibition, Half-Park.

PDG: Exactly … the title … why did you choose Half-Park?

TC: Usually the park is a place with opening hours that people can’t always get to. It’s a bit like a showroom. On Sundays, some people go to the park, others go to chill at the museum. So what’s an exhibition space? Why not a park, half a park? We make two parallel proposals, one in the space of In extenso, the other in the room opposite, with the same basis: furniture, plants and animals, a very urban vision of the park! The concept of the rooms is the same, but the atmospheres are distinct.

BS: The exhibition is presented as an enclosure for walks and meetings, a domesticated, landscaped, furnished natural space, halfway between nature and the city, between the organic and the synthetic. It occupies topologically distant spaces: In extenso, inhabited and luminous, into which one can easily enter, and the space opposite, unoccupied, dark and humid. It is accessible only if one is accompanied by the “guardians”, you and Marie.

PDG: The exhibition also functions as a film set for a movie in which each of you plays a character. The film that inspired you is Cosmopolis by Canadian director David Cronenberg, and notably the final dialogue, the settling of scores between the protagonist, Eric Packer, a young bankrupt hero of the New York financial world, and Benno Levin, his former analyst, disenchanted by his professional past. What interests you in this scene? How did it allow you to think about your screenplay?

TC: Indeed, the exhibition becomes a set for the duration of the filming. In the film Cosmopolis, we’re mainly interested in the technical cut: the way the images are edited, and the dialogues appear. We chose the final scene for the discussion between the two characters and their hierarchical relationship: one is an employer, the other is employed. The dialogue revolves around the resentments they have towards each other: who used whom? Who stole from whom? We can draw a parallel between this and the discussions we have in the workshop: who absorbs whom? Who contains whom? Who makes foams the size of vases, and who makes vases because there are foams? Our collaboration is based on constant conversation, joint decisions and compromises, even if it’s a word I hate. This is the dialogue of our film, the dialogue between our practices, our exchanges surrounding the exhibition. The question is 1+1, or 1 and 1? (laughs)

BS: The scene in Cronenberg’s film shows a moment of negotiation… a deal. For us, it is about matter and appropriation. We appropriate the film, we absorb each other’s work. It is not a story of possession, but of appropriation. Does 1+1 = 2 or 1+1 = 11? (laughs)

PDG: What status do you give to the works presented? Is it a collaboration with a joint production?

TC: We have asked ourselves a lot about the status of the works proposed. Are they pieces that live together during the duration of the exhibition, or are they joint productions? Concretely, without producing pieces together, we have moved forward in parallel in our respective studios. As with the visual, it is the assembly of the pieces that interests us.

BS: Our parts are autonomous. We are not two artists making an object together, but two different entities that intersect. At the end of the exhibition, Tom will take back his chairs and pots, I will take back my foams and all the elements will become independent again. It’s a way to not freeze the works, to give them a new reading. I often think about Brancusi’s studio, the role of the pedestal, and the way he puts works by other artists on his own pieces.

PDG: The exhibition at In extenso follows your first collaboration Plastic Beach that took place at ZZ Studio (Lyon) in 2017. What led you to collaborate together again and what does the practice of one bring to the practice of the other?

BS: For the first collaboration, Tom was in residence in Clermont-Ferrand. At that time, we didn’t know each other well, but we talked a lot about work. When he went back to Lyon, we said to each other that we had to work together… It was mostly a buddy thing, we had to assume it. Collaborating with other artists allows me to get out of my comfort zone and confront myself with new aesthetics, new ways of doing things. We don’t have the same relationship to the practice, they are almost antagonistic (laughs). Tom makes objects, I transform objects. It’s also a way of thinking about an exhibition that I wouldn’t have arrived at on my own. It’s a game.

TC: For my part, I have several specific projects in collaboration with other artists. As far as my collaboration with Bruno is concerned, it’s really the notions of sculpture, installation and exhibition that motivate me. In my practice, I’m all about energy. In the studio, I have an almost urgent relationship to production. Bruno, for his part, is much more applied. The important thing is how this collaboration reveals new things in our respective pieces, how the assemblies we propose make them switch.

BS: For me it’s a story of incrustation. We superimpose one another without erasing each other, we create an environment for the two of us, each with its own singularity, a “featuring”…


PDG: Nevertheless, I have one last question to ask you that has been on my mind since the beginning of the interview… who is this person between the two of you?

BS: It’s Wilfried Assume…

TC: We invited him to do the window display.

PDG: Everything’s clear to me. Thank you boys!

Tom Castinel (Lyon, 1984), lives and works.

His works have been exhibited in many exhibitions.

He is also a member of the artistic duos Pâle Mâle, with Antonin Horquin, and Forme Soluble with Marie L’Hours.

Bruno Silva (Vila Nova de Gaia, 1986) lives and works in Clermont-Ferrand.

Recent international exhibitions include Cura, Galeria do Sol (Porto, 2020); SNIFF OUT , Flux Factory (New York, 2018); Two round to be One, Felt Gallery (Bergen, 2016); and Noite, TARS gallery (Bangkok, 2016).

Wilfried Assume is Rémy Drouard’s alter ego. He assumes what Rémy doesn’t dare to present in his artistic practice because it’s too simplistic, not rigorous enough, too amusing. Wilfried Assume doesn’t beat around the bush, and if he beats around the bush, it’s to make fun of it. He likes graffiti, skateboarding, rap, fun and wearing caps. Wilfried is the eternal teenager of the 2000s. Contemporary art, for him, is a bridle to creation, a dogma of gravel thrown under the wheels of a skateboard thrown at high speed in a slope of waxed concrete “CRIIII”, the guaranteed fall. Wilfried I-don’t-give-a-damn, Wilfried the let-go, in short Wilfried assumes the guilty pleasures that you don’t know how to assume.

The project was realised within the context of the Clermont Auvergne Métropole creation grant.