UNDERCUTS (detail)
the outside herd



Labor, Mexico City
Sies+HÖke, DÜsseldorf


Etienne Chambaud Tamed Knots 2014


A series of mathematical knots are tied to their frames. The frame of the Tamed Knots is a double-edged tool. If it allows the image of a knot to take shape, it also friezes any further motions, forbidding any topological deformations. Only in a mental space could we try to detangle it, but we might soon get lost in the space of the knot. We could break the frame, but then the image would be lost. What we need is a new space that would account for a series of mutual inclusions and exclusions of the space of the frame, the one of the knot and the one of the mind.






Etienne Chambaud Nameless 2014

NAMELESS, bobcat, cougar, donkey, grey fox, red deer, racoon, and skunk urines on copper powder and acrylic medium on polyester canvas on wood panel, 200 x 150 x 3 cm, 2014.

, boar, Canadian lynx, coyote, grey fox, horse, squirrel, wolf and woodchuck urines on copper powder and acrylic medium on polyester canvas on wood panel, 200 x 150 x 3 cm, 2014.

A series of canvases prepared with copper dust are oxydized using various animal urines. If for human eyes this only produces anamorphous images, these oxidations preserve, at least during the time the series is fabricated, the animal expression (scent, pheromones, proteins) contained in each of the urines. Crystallized by the oxidation process, the sum of animal expressions that do not address the spectator, become a thing without name or shape, an improbable chimera that can only be mentally reconstituted through the list of species that participated in each canvas.

Etienne Chambaud Fractal Zoo and Additive Expression in the Naked Parrot 2013

Decapitated human bronze heads are crossed over by industrial steel beams. this self supporting structure has no fixed shape and can be reconfigured endlessely at each of its installation. built as an arrested fall, between the plinth and the cage, the farm and the theater stage, the Fractal Zoo was home to birds, who lived on it prior to the opening of the exhibition to humans. the only traces of their passage are the two other works of the exhibition: Additive Expression and the Naked Parrot.

Exhibition view, the naked parrot, labor, mexico city, 2013.

Etienne Chambaud Additive Expression 2013

A group of pigeons—feed with grains dyed in different colors—lived on the Fractal Zoo before the opening of the exhibition to humans, leaving colored feces all over the gallery floor.

Exhibition view, the naked parrot, labor, mexico city, 2013.

Etienne Chambaud Naked Parrots 2013

naked parrots, Watercolor, food coloring and pigment print on paper, 33 x 24 x 4 cm, 2013.

Each work from the Naked Parrot series consist of a framed black&white pigment print of the image of a book opened at a page showing the image of a white dove. One of the first animal humanly "constructed" by breeding technics, the dove is here taken as a flat white canvas used by Etienne Chambaud to give back some singular expressions to each bird's appearance using color paint and food coloring.

Etienne Chambaud Undercuts and Inscribed Sun Soleil Inscrit 2012

The Undercuts series consists of a collection of animal skins stretched over portrait format frames, so that the visible side of the picture is the inside of the animal's hide. The title refers as much to the range of craftsmanship and technical know-how required when exhibiting a hide (the art of hunting, taxidermy, tanning) as it does to the vocabulary of classical sculpture, in which an element in the round is called "undercut" when it requires the assembly of multiple casts, thus concealing a series of cuts in the image of its whole. The series includes a snakeskin inside out on a piece of museum furniture, a rope to keep the public back.




Etienne Chambaud Undercuts 2012

Etienne Chambaud Blade Portraits 2012

A series of framed photographic prints of a flower are cut through, leaving the top of the photographs to fall into the lower space of the frames, in the manner of a blade sliding in the window of a guillotine. Each Blade Portrait is actually a "Portrait of cuts". the stratification of exclusions and cuts that generated the work are portraited: a flower is cut, it is then cut again by the photographic framing, repeated once more by the wooden frame containing the image, the whole thing (photo and frame) is cut one last time with a circular saw producing the final image.







Etienne Chambaud the Encored Separation 2011

The Encored Separation consists of a large-scale mobile suspended from the hall's ceiling and a room-sized box fabricated with the standard drywall elements. If these two separated units are juxtaposed in the exhibition hall, their relationship is foremost one of time, as the process which altered one was necessary for the other to exist: the mobile has been balanced with chunks of plasterboard extracted by the artist from the box's walls. In this way the artwork exists as a temporal state of equilibrium between its form and its context. Its exhibition is a matter of balanced quantities.

Exhibition view, art unlimited, art basel, switzerland, 2011.





Etienne Chambaud The Outside Herd 2004

A facsimile of the black monolith of the 2001: A Space Odyssey production (stanley kubrick, 1968) was installed in the monkey pit of a zoo constructed the same year the movie was released. The macaques and the monolith were filmed and broadcasted live to the exhibition space over a period of several months.The live transmission of The Outside Herd was never recorded.








The film Counter-History of Separation, co-written with art historian Vincent Normand, is a documentary which begins under The Reign of Terror during the French Revolution which would simultaneously witness the invention of the guillotine as a mass-execution device, and the creation of the prototype of the modern museum with the reopening of the Louvre as a public collection, and ends up in 1977, when the last decapitation by guillotine occurred in France and the Centre Pompidou, a new museum paradigm, was inaugurated.











The film navigates silently the interior and exterior of an ice cave on the Etna volcano in Sicily. The cave, named after polyphemus, the cyclops from the Odyssey is depicted as a geological stratification made of minerals and frozen echos of the encounter of Odysseus and the cyclops and as an instrument of vision: both a primitive camera and a blinded cyclopean eye.






Etienne Chambaud was born in 1980 and lives
and works in Paris.

The main focus of his work is an ongoing morphology of Separation. He has worked on exhibitions, objects and situations: from a geolocalized raft called Idealism that was set adrift in the Atlantic Ocean 7 years ago to reconfigured world atlases, the staging of the encounter of geometrical figures and monkeys in a zoo to feverish objects, from mobiles constrained by architectures to reversed animal hides. Chambaud has written on walls with inscribed stones and directed the film Counter-History of Separation (with Vincent Normand) which follows the common history of the guillotine and the modern art museum from the French Revolution to the late 1970's.

He has presented solo exhibitions such as The Naked Parrot, LABOR, Mexico City (2013), Undercuts at Bugada&Cargnel, Paris and Forde, Geneva (2012), The Encored Separation at Art Unlimited, Basel (2011), and in 2010, Contre-Histoire de la Séparation at CIAP, Vassivière; Objets Rédimés at Bugada & Cargnel, Paris; The Decapitated Museum, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf; On Hospitality, LABOR, Mexico City; and the three-part exhibition The Sirens' Stage (David Roberts Art Foundation, London), Le Stade des Sirènes (Kadist Art Foundation, Paris), and Lo stato delle sirene (Nomas Foundation, Rome). He had a solo exhibition at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, in 2009 entitled Color Suite.

He has also participated in various group exhibitions including Some Artists' Artists, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York City (2014); New Ways of Doing Nothing, Kunsthalle Vienna (2014); Une Histoire, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014); Sin motivo aparente, CA2M Centro de Artes Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2013); When Attitudes Became Forms Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco and Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2012-2013); Rotary Connection, Casey Kaplan, New York (2012); Danser sa vie, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011); Bild für Bild, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund; Being There, The Meet Factory, Prague; Tautology is the Obstacle, Tulips & Roses, Vilnius (2010) or the Lyon Biennale (2007).

He is represented by the galleries LABOR in Mexico City and Sies+Höke in Düsseldorf.