Caroline Mesquita at Centre Pompidou

Date : From Tuesday, September 18, 2018 to Monday, December 17, 2018. Musée national d’art moderne

Theme : Winner of the Prize Fondation d'entreprise Ricard 2017

Every year since 2000, the Centre Pompidou has hosted the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard Prize, which rewards a young emerging artist from the French scene. The Fondation d’entreprise Ricard donates the winners’ works to the Musée national d’art moderne, uniquely enriching its collections. The 19th Ricard Corporate Foundation Prize was awarded to the artist Caroline Mesquita, awarded on the occasion of the exhibition "Les bons sentiments" designed by Anne-Claire Schmitz, at the Fondation d'entreprise Ricard, in 2017. 

Born in 1989 in Brest, Caroline Mesquita is a sculptor and video artist, mainly working with metal (steel, copper and brass), subjecting it to oxidization experiments, with ammonia or hydrochloric acid and patina, sometimes adding paint or fabrics. Either around or using her metallic creations, she also creates sound environments and performance films in which she appears herself. 


Caroline Mesquita

After studying at the École régionale des beaux-arts in Rennes, she joined the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, graduating in 2013. That same year, the school awarded her the Prix Joseph Ebstein for sculpture. In 2014, she spent a year at the Mountain School of Arts in Los Angeles, and presented her first solo exhibition at Les Bains Douches in Alençon (2014), followed by others at Parc Saint Léger in Pougues-les-Eaux (2015), at Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh (2016), at the Kunstverein Langenhagen (2016; curated by Valérie Chartrain) and in Paris at the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard (2017), whose prize she won the same year. Certainly influenced in her practice by her occasional work as an assistant to Lili Reynaud Dewar, who won the 2013 Prix Ricard and is known for creating hybrid pieces that combine installation, scenery, performance and sculpture, Caroline Mesquite has been creating “tableaux vivants” since 2015. These assemblages—consisting of geometric objects and anthropomorphic figures made of oxidized and painted metallic rolls and plates—recall the staging of mysterious rites, making reference to the life of fringe communities, and bearing evocative titles like Bal (2015), 123 Soleil Victoria (2015), Some Blue in My Mouth (2016), Cream Sacrifice (2016), Pink Everywhere (2016), and The Ballad (2017)—the last tableau in this series, which was presented at the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard during a solo exhibition that took place from 23 January to 11 March 2017 (curated by Martha Kirszenbaum).

Often accompanied by sounds or videos that show the artist performing within her arrangements of sculptures, these tableaux, frozen by the material, appear to be “haunted” by mysterious noises: “In the video produced for the exhibition, entitled The Ballad (2017), the artist appears alongside her sculptures, and the interaction she provokes pushes boundaries and invents new kinds of links. [...]. As the works cuddle and caress her, then attack and hurt her, the soundtrack of the video presents an orchestra of metallic basses, muted buzzing, clinks and jingling emanating from the sculptures, giving everything the hue of a delectably perverse carnival”. (Martha  Kirszenbaum, press release for the exhibition “The Ballad” at Fondation d’entreprise Ricard).

The series Night Engines, 2018, is presented at the Centre Pompidou until 17 December 2018.

After the series of retro-futuristic motorcycles presented at the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard in the exhibition “Les Bons Sentiments” (curated by Anne-Claire Schmitz), her last set of works entitled “Night Engines” was created for her first exhibition at T293 in Rome, in 2017. The films Star Wars, Blade Runner and Mad Max, and Swiss artist H.R Giger’s drawings of biomechanical creatures were sources of inspiration for those three sculptures exhibited at the museum. Caroline Mesquita freed herself from that collective imagination to offer prototypes of original spacecrafts. She manipulated steel, a particularly resistant material, subjecting it to numerous cuts, folds and welds. Presented like vehicles at an auto show, they seem ready to be mounted and propelled into an imaginary universe.

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Exhibition from 19/09/2018 to 17/12/2018.

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