At her solo show Melting Point, at Piero Atchugarry Gallery, Pauline D’Andigné paintings convey a dialogue between the delicate and the industrial. D’Andigné’s paintings are frenetic depictions of oversized, cartoon-like flowers. Their outlines are more semiotic than veristic, speaking to a consciously unlearned or faux-naïf style. Rather than keeping between lines, the artist uses colour as an emotive material, her canvases evoking “the fleeting and chaotic entanglement of youthful memories”.
Melting Point is an apt title for the block-bluster installation Dark Bues Flowers (2024) hung forest-like between the canvases. These works are displayed in a manner akin to a grotesque child’s mobile. The oversized flora of D’Andigné’s canvases have been extrapolated into the gallery space; they appear as fleshier, more menacing elements of a body of work aiming for an  “audacious subversion of innocence.” You can visit the show at Piero Atchugarry Gallery in Miami from now until 7th September.
Hi Pauline, thank you for speaking with METAL. You recently completed a residency in Uruguay; tell us about your experience there.
I loved this experience! The residency is in a sculpture park surrounded by nature. Working in an environment like that was new to me, and I felt deeply involved in the production. I live in Paris, and the contrast I experienced between an urban and a natural environment, not being in my usual production space, gave me a certain freedom in creating and innovating the pieces. It made me experiment and see some aspects of my work differently. It was also fascinating to see what can happen outside. Even though you tend to think of nature as a very quiet and calm place, there's so much activity! In the trees, around the flowers, the grass, and the constantly changing light, you feel a tingling in this seeming calm; it was very striking.
Please introduce us to the exhibition Melting Point at Piero Atchugarry Gallery, which contains a series of paintings hung amid an installation of melting, black vinyl flowers.
This exhibition consists of works that are both pictorial and sculptural. The exhibition space offers an immersive installation of inflated flowers suspended from metal chains and appearing to melt into a frozen fluid. On the wall, a series of paintings engage in a dialogue with this sculptural proposition. Both types of works offer an immersion into ambiguous pieces that are simultaneously industrial and organic, playful and unsettling, fragile and menacing.
Your paintings contain several layers - a chalky wash follows the luminescent and brilliant flowers. How did you achieve this effect?
In my fabric paintings, I explore several gestures using subtraction and addition. The first step of my work consists of bleaching the fabric in zones and randomly creating a fast, fluid drawing. Then, I draw a second pattern with pastel that responds to the first and gives certain areas a particular relief, texture or rough consistency to the canvas. In the third step, I compose a final drawing on the computer. This one consciously reveals areas that emphasise the previous drawing, giving it this particular effect. It's a dialogue between the different layers of composition, each influencing and transforming the previous one. They somehow support each other.
The press release for Melting Point repeatedly mentions childhood, “the fleeting and chaotic entanglement of youthful memories”. Are these memories always positive?
When the text talks about childhood, it refers more generally to the experience that everyone may have had during that particular period, not a specific personal experience. In the paintings, scribbles evoke a certain freedom of gesture that can be found in children's drawings. However, there is also this distinction that we are taught in childhood between well done and poorly done; these two notions are inherent in education, school, learning, and authority. When you look at children's colouring, the lines go beyond the predefined shapes, and their colours often do not match reality. Although the composition is very intentional in my work, I like the idea that colours and lines unfold in the works without being contained within the distinct boundaries of a particular form.
I’m interested in the contrast between delicacy and violence in the installation Dark Bues Flowers (2024). Flowers are strung on chains, their stems replaced by a material associated with restraint and imprisonment. Previously, you used vinyl in works such as Thigh Gap (2023). What draws you to this material?
I like this material; its plasticity immediately refers to a form of industrialism. Formally, the material's shine and the light emphasise its folds, reforming the mass it contains. Through its shine and smooth surface, there's also something that refers to the body. One cannot help but also think of a sexualised dimension in this material.
How do you relate your wall works to your sculptures? Are they a continuation of one another or separate?
It's a dialogue; visually, some forms in the paintings directly reference the installation. In Pink Doodles Cut, one can easily link the pink form to the drawing of the chains in space. The simple, cut-out form of the flowers in Big Flowers on Yellow Grid is very close to shadowing my installed sculptural works.
The sculptures take something small and delicate, a flower, and turn it into a large, overbearing object. How did you decide to scale this installation?
The change in scale allows for a new dimension of familiar elements. The enlargement makes this element both threatening and somewhat grotesque; it inflates itself, resembling a buoy or inflatable balloon light. Its suspension also plays into this idea, but the fluid dripping and the chains holding them suggest something else.
Following this exhibition in Miami, what’s next for your practice?
I am participating in a group exhibition in Beijing with HdM Gallery this summer. I am also developing a series of paintings I will show during a solo show in Paris with Ketabi Bourdet Gallery in the spring.