Isabelle Cornaro

Isabelle Cornaro

Installation view of Isabelle Cornaro: Paysage avec poussin at the South London Gallery, 2015. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Andy Keate.

Isabelle Cornaro

Isabelle Cornaro

Film still from Figures, 2011, 16mm film. Courtesy of the artist, and galleries Balice Hertling, Francesca Pia and Hannah Hoffman

Isabelle Cornaro

Isabelle Cornaro

Film still from Premier rêve d'Oskar Fischinger, 2008, 16mm film. Courtesy of the artist, and galleries Balice Hertling, Francesca Pia and Hannah Hoffman

Isabelle Cornaro

Paysage avec Poussin



The South London Gallery and Spike Island, Bristol, present a two-part solo exhibition by French artist Isabelle Cornaro. The SLG hosts an existing large-scale installation while the presentation at Spike Island focuses on new and recent work.

At the South London Gallery, Cornaro presents the sixth in the series of installations entitled Paysage avec poussin et témoins oculaires started in 2008. Each of these installations is loosely based on a classical landscape painting by the 17th-century artist Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) created as three-dimensional interpretations using sets of pedestals and standing walls in varying dimensions to display objects in meticulous arrangements. The objects are selected by Cornaro for their specific form or decoration. Grouping them by size, lines of perspective and for their light and shadow effects, she puts into question their aesthetic and cultural value. The clearly structured composition reinforces the illusion of perspective, allowing visitors to experience the work from different viewpoints whilst also being able to walk between the pedestals, encountering fragments of Cornaro’s constructed ‘landscape’.

To accompany this work in the SLG’s main space, Cornaro’s short films Figures (2011) and Premier rêve d'Oskar Fischinger (2008) will be shown in the first floor galleries. 

Isabelle Cornaro works with painting, sculpture, film and installation, to explore the influence of history and culture on our perception of reality. As a trained art historian specialising in 16th-century European Mannerism, her visual language draws on a wide array of references from the Baroque to modernist abstraction. In her work Cornaro uses found objects imbued with symbolic potential or emotional value, which she presents in different types of display and media to reveal the subtle shifts of meaning provoked by processes of reproduction and translation. 

Borrowed from domestic, decor­ative or functional contexts, these ­artefacts ­are often linked to Western culture ­as a means of power, their combination ­and a­rra­ngement in the a­rtist’s work inviting spect­ators to question the rela­tionships between systems of representa­tion ­and our understanding of the world.

Cornaro’s exhibition Témoins oculaires (meaning eye witnesses) runs concurrently at Spike Island, Bristol from 24 Jan – 29 Mar 2015. 

Join our free exhibition tour at 1pm Tue - Sun.  

Book tickets for Isabelle Cornaro in conversation with Briony Fer, Wed 28 Jan 2015.

The exhibition at the SLG is supported by the Institut Français. With thanks to Spike Island and the galleries Balice Hertling, Hannah Hoffman and Francesca Pia. 

Isabelle Cornaro (b.1974, France) lives and works in Paris and Zurich. She has exhibited extensively across France as well as internationally including solo exhibitions at M – Museum (cur. Valerie Verhack), Leuven, LAXART (cur. Lauri Firstenberg), Los Angeles, TWAAS (cur. Clément Dirié), New York, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, Balice Hertling, Paris, Kunsthalle Bern (cur. Fabrice Stroun), Bern, Le Magasin (cur. Yves Aupetitallot), Grenoble, Frac Aquitaine (cur. Claire Jacquet), Bordeaux, Collège des Bernardins (cur. Jean de Loisy and Alain Berland), Paris, and 1m3 (cur. Jeanne Graff), Lausanne. Group exhibitions include at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, Palazzo Cavour, Turin, Public Fiction, Los Angeles,Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Mercer Union, Toronto, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, and SculptureCenter, New York. Her work can be found in a number of public collections including those of Centre Pompidou, Paris, Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Île-de-France, Paris, and Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Aquitaine, Bordeaux.


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