Lili, the Rozell and the Marimba
In its exploration of the relations between artistic productions, local knowledge and present-day creativity, the thematic series Lili, the Rozell and the Marimba, devoted to the contemporary and the vernacular, is accompanied by a journal. The aim being a more in-depth and broader look at the issues raised by guest artists in the course of the exhibitions and residencies punctuating the series.
With a view to drawing up the journal’s content, an editorial board made up of Lotte Arndt, Jean‑Roch Bouiller, Baptiste Brun, John Cornu, Katia Kameli, Sophie Kaplan and Émilie Renard will meet regularly throughout the series. Whether artists, researchers or curators, board members share an attentiveness both to others and other frames of reference, at the same time as they differ in their fields of activity and (sometimes widely) in their points of view.
John Cornu is an artist and an art teacher. He is also the director of the Galerie Art & Essai – Université Rennes 2 (since 2014).
John Cornu works with an aesthetic inherited from minimalism and modernism (monochromy, seriality, modularity), while maintaining a strong relation to context (historical, architectural, societal) and a form of contemporary romanticism (a penchant for degradation, blindness, violence, and destruction). With an interest for modern ruins, coercive systems, logics of power, and the passage of time, the artist imbues his productions with an atmosphere at once poetic and without compromise. Whether sculptural, pictorial, or installation-based, they blend paradoxical forces, setting up a multiplicity of meanings and readings.
Since 2006, he has conducted many interviews with different contemporary artists such as Daniel Buren, Cécile Bart, Claude Lévêque, Mathieu Mercier, Michel Verjux, Claude Rutault, Felice Varini, Etienne Bossut, Jean-Luc Moulène, Valentin Carron, Francis Raynaud, Ivan Liovik Ebel, Laurent Tixador, Mohamed Bourouissa, Eva Nielsen, Clément Laigle, Anne-Charlotte Yver, Yann Sérandour, Karina Bisch, Nicolas Chardon, Liam Everett, etc.
His essays and interviews have been published in various reviews (Artpress, Journal des Arts, Redux, Tête-à-tête, Plastik) and publications : About a square / ten years of site-specific exhibitions at zqm (edition Vexer Verlag Büro Berlin, 2019) ; La peinture sans titre (edition EESAB, Rennes, 2019) ; Valentin Carron, Gioia e Polvere (coedition art & essai, Université Rennes 2 & musée des Beaux-arts de Rennes & cultureclub-studio – Rennes, 2018) ; Felice Varini, Quatre cercles à cinq mètres (coedition art & essai, Université Rennes 2 & Frac Bretagne & cultureclub-studio – Rennes, 2018) ; Francis Raynaud (coedition art & essai, Université Rennes 2 & cultureclub-studio – Rennes, 2017) ; Michel Verjux, Un espace d’états de choses possibles (coedition art & essai, Université Rennes 2 & cultureclub-studio – Rennes, 2017) ; Rendre disponible l’expérience (with Alain Coulange, co-ed. ENd / 2Angles – Metz, 2012) ; “Entretien avec John Cornu”, in Daniel Buren, Les Écrits, Volume 2 : 1996-2012 (directed by Marc Sanchez, coedition Flammarion & CNAP – Paris) ; “L’Entretien comparatif”, in Les entretiens d’artistes, de l’énonciation à la publication (directed by Jérôme Dupeyrat and Mathieu Harel Vivier, edition des Presses universitaires de Rennes, Collection Arts contemporains – Rennes, 2013).
As part of his curatorial activities within the Galerie Art & Essai and the label hypothèse, he has collaborated with Liam Everett, Estèla Alliaud, Claire Chesnier, Quentin Lefranc, Jean-Luc Moulène, Valentin Carron, Felice Varini, Laurent Tixador, Francis Raynaud, Michel Verjux, Avelina Fuentes, Clément Laigle, Eva Nielsen, Gina Pane, Jérémy Demester, Karina Bisch, Nicolas Chardon, Aurélie Godard, Eva Taulois, Etienne Bossut, Louise Bossut, Ann Veronica Janssens, Mathieu Mercier, Claude Rutault, Armand Morin, Claude Lévêque, François Morellet, etc.