Le Razoir d’Okham

Julien Nédélec

30 May — 13 July 2013

Julien Nedelec’s practice can take many forms, from sculpture to drawing, through book or photography, with a predilection for paper, that he uses not only as a support, but also as a material that he bends, cuts, colors, stacks or crumples. His works are the result of linguistic and formal games that reveal the artist’s fascination with the potentialities of language, with some malice that places him as an heir of the Oulipo, while his taste for geometric and serial shapes includes him in the tradition of minimalism.

The exhibition Ockham’s Razor, whose title sounds like a Tintin adventure, will present new works: first, a series of gouaches on paper whose mysterious abstract forms come from diagrams showing the different stages of knot tying (nautical, climbing, fishing knots…). Sources are unrecognizable since the artist has materialized with color only the gaps visible as long as the loops nodes are not tightened. These potential nodes seem to fit in line with a series of 2010, Sculptures pending, composed of wooden plaques engraved after origami models, the famous Japanese art of paper folding. Patterns, as materials to learn a technique, reflect the position of Julien Nedelec for whom art is a way to satisfy his insatiable curiosity, the notion of pedagogy is indeed regularly present in his work.

In addition, the exhibition will present a new sculpture directly linked to the title Ockham’s Razor: a large volume made out of wood, which is also the realization of an empty shape, the characteristic void found in the middle of traditional razor blades. Julien Nedelec has not only expanded the form, but he also transformed emptiness into a three-dimensional object, which one can hesitate to see as an abstract sculpture or a piece of furniture. Contrary to what the term suggests, Ockham’s razor is not a hand tool but a conceptual tool, since it refers to the scientific principle of “parsimony”, which means that one shall not multiply hypotheses more than necessary, the simplest solution usually being the fairest – a principle that echoes the minimalist aesthetic of Julien Nedelec.

With this series of gouaches and this sculpture, Julien Nedelec composes new shapes from everyday objects that yet stay quite imperceptible in the final works; they have in common to be related to activities that require manual dexterity and precision (building a node, shaving a beard). The artist brings together with finesse and amusement areas of art and the everyday, of concept and gesture, making of each piece an opportunity for experiments and discoveries, “a new chapter of his Bildungsroman1 as Stéphane Malfettes judiciously wrote in a recent article.

Julien Nedelec was born in 1982, he lives and works in Nantes.

He is represented by the gallery ACDC, Bordeaux.

1. Stéphane Malfettes, “Introducing : Julien Nédélec”, Artpress n°397, february 2013.

Partner of the exhibition:

Artistes en résidence, Clermont-Ferrand