At first glance, Cédric Esturillo’s installations impress through their deliberately seductive visual generosity: lush environments in a riot of colour, they buoy and even needle the gaze. Plays of resemblance arise: can we not detect certain motifs through the opulence of the forms, the proliferation of materials, and the layering of techniques? Through a practice of sampling and recording, he inscribes citations within his sculptures that spontaneously interpellate and mobilise different imaginaries. Whether it is limp Californian architectural touches (Googie architecture) or science-fiction themes, he draws as much from art history, architecture, and craft as from marginal and localised cultural subjects. However, it is not a matter here of mimicking through formal iteration or out of sheer aesthetic fascination: the questioning of the original through its copy is applied to the task of working on visual cultures and their historical conditions of formation. Through trans-temporal and trans-cultural junctions, Cédric Esturillo highlights the intersections in the trajectories of these systems of production and circulation of images. Their presence in his work stems from a practice of drag1 – cross-dressing that affirms its falseness – informing the way in which our gaze is constructed by and for the reception of images.
For his first solo exhibition, he took ornament as a starting point, as a technique for superimposing motifs. More specifically, it is Sicilian Baroque that has infused his recent productions, taking shape in basins made of sculpted wood, adorned with drapery and shimmering plants. The precision and mastery of engraving and sculptural techniques he demonstrates does not efface the pop layering and derisive mix of materials: sometimes made of raw wood, sometimes from basic chipboard. In a thumbing-the-nose at the supposed nobility of the material and the historic grandiloquence of the baroque, he adopts a contemporary digital technique – the glitch – in order to take the heavy awkwardness of reproduction to task. In his huge paintings combining fake-marble, streaks in fluorescent pink and ceramic imitations, he collapses textures and motifs to create effects of retinal persistence and flattening of perspective. This faulting of optical technologies brings decoration and visual noise into tension and seeks their points of collision, superimposition, and coalescence. The gaze, disoriented by the multiplication of layers of appreciation and interpretation of these objects, thus operates of its own choosing and reveals its reflexes: what do we see when there is too much to see? It is this revelation that the artist seeks, willingly citing bubble porn, the online practice that positions colourful circles on images of bodies in an attempt to cover over obscene nudity or the sexual nature of interactions between the subjects photographed. Since the photographs used do not actually have any erotic characteristics, the superimposing of an abstraction reveals the perversity of the viewer’s mind. This to-and-fro between systems of abstraction, optical effects, and manufacturing of the gaze is also present in the Danmaku sculptures that the artist created. Inspired by a tradition of ‘80s Japanese arcade games simulating hailstorms of digital shelling on the player, they return to the motif of visual noise. Here, it is lacquered wooden planks that are “showered” with real bullets.
With Délice sur Encelade, title evocative of both Gigantomachy and recent spatial discoveries, Cédric Esturillo presents a temporal journey following Arnauld Pierre’s principle of “retrocipation”, who described in Futur Antérieur2 the way in which the anticipation process in science fiction also informs us about the era they are written in and questions the present.
Born in 1988 in Saint-Chamond, Cédric Esturillo lives and works in Lyon. After working as an assistant to the artist Michael McMillen in Los Angeles in 2015, he obtained his DNSEP at the Ensba Lyon in 2016. He was then invited to participate in various collective exhibitions, notably the Biennale de la Jeune Création in Mulhouse in 2017 and the Salon de Montrouge in 2018. He is currently part of the collective exhibition Sedona presented at the Villa du Parc, Annemasse. His work will also be presented at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Mulhouse from June to September 2019. Cédric Esturillo is currently in residence at the Ateliers du Grand Large (Décines-Charpieu), an artists’ residency directed by the Adéra. He is selected to participate in 2019 in the 15th Biennale of Contemporary Art in Lyon, in the Young International Creation section.