Claire Deniau's practice is driven by a re-appropriation of desire - not the desire constantly imposed, exploited and manipulated, which exists in our consumerism society - the 'original desire', hidden and forgotten. Desire as an incessant quest for the ungraspable, and the absolute, where imaginary is freed and revived. Desire as a life drive.
Her incessant process of experimentation, that is the act of painting, shares the same quest. From one painting emerges another painting in an endless and obsessive gesture towards the ultimate piece.
She paints formless images where she isolates and redefines the paint mark as a body. Looseness and control, strong and subtle colours, texture and evanescence, her body of work combines or isolates these elements, which individually are the evidence of a moment of desire. The isolation and the organic quality of the mark give the painting its unpredictable living and evolving existence. They act as the painter's genetic code. The dialogue between the painter and the painting becomes a conversation between two living specimens, a dialogue driven by the senses, until they reach the moment of mutual consent when imaginary and desire converge.
To keep this dialogue alive in her, Claire Deniau is inspired and nourished by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, the eighteen-century French painter. His palette, some fragments of his paintings, and the sensuality and vivacity of his paint mark, illustrate for her the ultimate representation of desire. Born from an emotional response to his work, her paintings aim at creating a space between visible and invisible, where the imperceptible could become perceptible. Hence for the painter and the viewer, imaginary is solicited, perception is disrupted, and interpretation becomes an individual experience.
After obtaining a BA and an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in London, Claire Deniau now lives and works in Paris. From November 2009 to February 2010 she exhibited at the Musée Fragonard in Paris. The work was a response to the Ecorchés, anatomic models of real human bodies - made by Honoré Fragonard the painter's cousin. Not only were the two Fragonard almost homonyms, they were also born the same year and shared their early childhood in the South of France. She is fascinated by the two cousins' approach to life: one being totally absorbed in manipulating dead flesh, while the other is playfully enjoying the paint's sensuality. In the Ecorchés portraits that Claire Deniau decided to paint, she looked for a space where the two cousins could meet: a space between appearance and disappearance, between life and death.
Claire Deniau's conversations and interactions Self-Critical Badges
Painting and Moving Image
Discussion at Mary's
What does an artist wear?
Messy Hair 101
Discourse at Mary's
Drawing Round Trip
C&M Plate Exchange
Remarkable Bookshelf 2
Remarkable Shed Party