Tatiana Trouvé – Untitled (2011)


In 1997, Tatiana Trouvé (Cosenza, Italy, 1968, lives and works in Paris) began her series of architectural office-like installations with the name of Bureau d’Activités Implicites (B.A.I.). The implicit activities of artistic practice are what underlie this series, which she worked on for ten years: study, research, memories, wishes and failures – all are incorporated into a complex system of separate modules. Module Administratif (1997-2002) forms the basis of B.A.I. and was prompted by Trouvé’s own path to becoming an artist, which was at first a difficult one. During the period when her work had not yet been recognised, she applied on an almost daily basis to galleries, funding bodies and exhibition spaces. However, she was able to give a productive twist to this apparently wasted time, by effectively placing the bureaucratic process itself on a pedestal and creating her own space for her work. Module Administratif consists of a stylised office cubicle, in which Trouvé has filed and organised all of her application letters, CVs, applications for funding and studios, and also her many rejections. Ironically, it was this Kafkaesque series that was her big breakthrough as an artist.

The items in the B.A.I. and in her later work function as metaphorical objects in a space that lies between the autobiographical and the imaginary. At first, Trouvé’s systems appear hermetic: stylised and closed. But because she demonstrates that a system of organisation can also result in a degree of chaos, she opens up a space for the fictional. In doing so, Trouvé creates not only physical spaces, in which she considers her practice, but also mental spaces that show where those thoughts originate.


This is a theme that she has developed in her more recent architectural interventions, room constructions and drawings. Her series of black drawings, for example, shows the associations of this outer and inner world. One of these works depicts a landscape at night, within which, using different shades of black, shadows and transparent layers of paint, she places dark objects, such as the carcass of a recliner and a stack of junk and car tyres. The individual elements appear lost in this landscape and the black seems to absorb everything. It is in this very place, as Trouvé herself argues, that space is created for an unexpected story that can link the apparently isolated elements. The result is a dark and wondrous place where these familiar objects present themselves with a disorienting effect.


For Lustwarande ‘11, Trouvé has created such a construction within the actual landscape. She has used leather belts to attach a concrete mattress to a tree. In what seems almost like surrealism, this mattress evokes memories of the domestic realm. On a material and psychological level, Trouvé analyses the possible connections between the visible and the invisible. Fragments of another place and another time seem to combine to form the traces of a secret and strange event that once took place, or has yet to occur, here in the park.


Laurie Cluitmans / translation Laura Watkinson