76 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris, Tel +33 1 42 16 79 79
January 7, March 11, 2023

Mathilde Denize took possession of painting when she decided that certain of her canvases would enjoy a more interesting perspective if she separated them from their stretchers. As soon as they were freed from the wooden frame that acted as both support and tension, her paintings fluttered like laundry from a window, overhanging the void. By her own admission, these forms and figures that were unfinished—or precisely too finished because they were too captive—turned into yards of painting divested of the chassis to which they had been confined.

At the same time, she enjoyed collecting, gathering scrap and objects from the street that others had scorned and abandoned. Battered, smashed, shattered, and incomplete, their exile rendered them sensitive and touching. Banished from everyday domestic existence, in her studio they regained a semblance of life. A salvaged hat block, curled-up leaves, neglected bits of paper: protective of their tattered memories, Mathilde Denize assembled them with a tie, an elastic band, or a makeshift piece of string, bandaging them with kindness.

The artist alternated between this recreational collecting and cutting up her paintings—not to destroy them, but to observe the residual shapes that could emerge. Soon, these pieces and fragments became an obvious match for the trifling objects. The aggregation of painted forms pieced together and scantily assembled into clothing sensations, like garments forgotten on a coat rack, underscored the sense of absence that united the abandoned objects. In this approximation, Mathilde Denize found herself wholly. The hanging of her work would no longer only entail the customary, expected, white partitions. The body would be the plinth. Her practice would be multiple.

Painting, sculpture, performance, and installation would not suffice to define the personal artistic geography she had adopted, where the course is charted by the makeshift means employed. Dressmaker’s toile or painter’s canvas? The question seems posed by two works from 2020, Relief for Her and Body Keep. Both paintings are oil on cotton canvas. The typology of a barely modeled jacket is clearly recognizable in both, yet this does not make it an instrument in a wardrobe.

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