Wilfrid Almendra

Born in 1972, in Cholet, France.

Lives and works in Marseille, France and Casario, Portugal.  

In the work of the artist Wifried Almendra, ideas and materials are inseparable. Its formal vocabulary comes from the architecture, shapes and surfaces we surround ourselves with. The materials he uses most often come from the alternative economy, barter and exchange. They put in tension questions linked to social class, to the desire for comfort and to the individual capacity for invention and poetry which is at the heart of the most normative things.

His work has benefited from personal exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo (2017); at Fogo Island Arts, Canada (2016); at the Fondation d'Entreprise Ricard (2013).

Education

2000  

École des Beaux-arts de Rennes, Rennes

1999  

École des Beaux-arts de Lisbonne, Lisbonne

1998  

Academy of Fine Arts, Manchester

Since Concrete Garden was proposed in 2011 but only realised in summer 2014, we will, either trace our steps back or go forward in time and see how this work on convergence lines and on the environment was developed. Until 2013, Almendra worked primarily on series of sculptures which functioned autonomously; however, his two last solo exhibitions – one at the art centre Passerelle (L’Intranquillité, 2013) and the other at the art centre Les Églises de Chelles (Between the Tree and Seeing It, 2014)—focused on more or less immersive installations transforming and reflecting the spaces hosting them. We will first bring our attention to these two propositions’ common element, which allows us to elaborate on the ideas developed through the piece Concrete Garden: similarly, in these two projects, it’s all about geometry, convergence lines, light and filters troubling spaces.

In L’Intranquillité and Between the Tree and Seeing It, lumps of land carrying robust plants slip out of time-worn glass panels. Even if they are arranged differently, they both bring to mind the aspect of a community garden. In L’Intranquillité, two adjacent rectangular constructions are installed within another rectangular space—that of the art centre, but in an angle placing them out of alignment.

The slight deviation—only some degrees—creates a tension in the two architectures. One can discern here both the monumentality of an old bunker1 transformed into an exhibition space and the strange instability of the artist’s construction, titled with the eponymous L’Intranquillité (2013). It is composed of worn glass panels on the one side and of metal bars supported by concrete pylons, defining a space without walls, on the other. A trench is opened up in the middle of these two rectangles, full of philodendrons, exotic plants that develop in an anarchic manner, growing towards the walls and the exterior. While in L’Intranquillité one is found in the presence of closed modules being worn out, in Between the Tree and Seeing It the almost perfect geometry of the rectangles gives way to various surfaces whose convergence lines slip away. The soil and its plants are thus sometimes contained, sometimes outside. On the other hand, the meticulous dissection of the space breaks up the unity of the old church. However this fragmentation is not subtractive; on the contrary, it is, just like in Concrete Garden, full of textures and perspectives. Instead of diving into it in one go, we wander in the Romanesque church, aimlessly following the lines drawn out by the artist.

The material of the panels installed in the twoexhibitions also adds an interesting play of perspective: the worn-out aspect of the glass gives them a porous transparency, creating a view of the space through a series of filters modifying its light and drawing new crossing lines. Our visual field is thus modified: clarity and depth are variable, revealing only by hints the nature proper to the elements at stake. The gaze is further disrupted by also grasping the winding forms of the garden’s plants, growing, as for them, without geometrical rules. They are not only attractive by virtue of their irregularity, but also their almost cotton-like matter, whose blurry lines spread beyond their own bodies, merging with their horizon which becomes—in turn—uncertain. This work on transparency is found once more in the basement of the art centre Passerelle, where the piece Désiré (2013) unfolds on a five-meter surface of a wall. Here as well, it is a question of surfaces troubling volumes: a ceramic black form, whose geometrical lines stretch out along the wall, is placed on top of two Plexiglas panels found in a community garden. In places, a surface breaks away from the plane and soars towards the interior of the room. An impression of volume thus appears, intensified by the projected shadows of the black edges and the Plexiglas, whose glass, turned yellow from the sun, draws a parallelepiped of light.

Almendra has been working with colour filters and their projected shadows since 2012: Model Home (Sonata) (2012) is a series of mural sculptures composed of materials collected in an abandoned display home. The metal structures (security railings found in the same house) contain within them coloured or frosted glass which brings a rhythmic and pictorial dimension to the work, whose shadows are cast on the walls, here and there, following the passing lights’ whims. As in Désiré, the object is made of density and volume through the play of lights.


Excerpts from THE PEACEFUL, THE IDIOTS AND THE FURIOUS
by Flora Katz

Personal exhibitions (selection)


2022

Upcoming:

Adelaïde, from 25 juin to 30 octobre, Frac Paca - plateau perspectives, curated by Muriel Enjalran


2020

So Much Depends Upon a Red Wheel Barrow, Atlantis Lumière, Marseille


2017

Light Boiled Like Liquid Soap, Palais de Tokyo Paris, curated by Setra Adam-Couralet


2016

Light Boiled Like Liquid Soap
, Fogo Islet Arts, Canada, curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen and Alexetra McIntosh



2014

Between, the Tree et Seeing It
, Les Églises, Centre d'Art Contemporain de Chelles, Chelles



2013

L'Intranquillité
, Centre d'Art Passerelle, Brest

Reconstruction of a Monument II
, Village Royal, Paris

Matériologique
, Fondation d'Entreprise Ricard, Paris, curated by Zoë Gray

Le Splendid
, Parc Saint Léger, Centre d'art contemporain, Pogues-les-Eaux

Second skin III
, Maison du Barreau, Paris



2012

Yellow River
, Bugada & Cargnel, Paris



2010

Second Skin
, L'Antenne du Plateau, FRAC Île-de-France, Paris



2009

Killed in Action
(Case Study Houses), Bugada & Cargnel, Paris

Wilfrid Almendra, - Go
, FRAC des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou

Wilfrid Almendra - & Return
, Zoo Galerie, Nantes



2008

Or Something Like That
, Maison du livre, de l'image et du son François Mitterret, Villeurbanne

Jungle Composite
, La Chapelle des Calvairiennes, Mayenne

Cuts Across the Let
, Bugada & Cargnel, Paris



2007

Goodbye Sunny Dreams
, Buy-Sellf Art Club, Marseille

Watercolors
, Le Gret Atelier, École Supérieure d'Art, Clermont Ferret



2006

Rock Garden, FRAC-Collection Aquitaine, Bordeaux



2005

De natura
, Centre d'Art Contemporain de Meymac, Meymac





Group exhibitions (selection)



2017

Résonnance
, Frac Pays de la Loire hors les murs, Le musée de la Reine-Bérengère, Le Mans

Maison Modèle
, Frac Basse Normetie Hors-les-Murs, Radar, Caen



2016

Flatlet / abstractions narratives #1
, MRAC, Sérignan, France, curated by Marianne Derrien and Sarah Ihler Meyer

L'Esprit du Bauhaus
, Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris, France, curated by Olivier Gabet and Mathieu Mercier

Festival Vis à Vis
, Paris, curated by Bright Lights. Big Cities



2015

La Chapelle Fifteen
, La Chapelle des Calvairiennes, Mayenne

Yes to all
, Treize, Paris

Weterer Above the Sea of Fog
, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris



2014

The Other Sight
, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius

Let's Play, part of Playtime
, Les Ateliers de Rennes, Biennale d'art contemporain, Galerie du cloître, Rennes

48°28'39"N 2°12'47"E, Les pierres se battent entre elles
, Auvers-Saint-Georges, commissaires d’expositions: Emmanuelle Day and Allison Somers

The Brancusi Effect - The Archival Impulse
, Kunsthalle Wien, Wien, curated by Vanessa Joan Müller and Nicolaus Schafhausen

Festival des Arts éphémères
, Parc de Maison Blanche, Marseille

Parapanorama
, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, curated by Gaël Charbau

L'écho / Ce qui sépare
, Hab Galerie, Nantes



2013

Des corps compétents (la modification)
, Villa Arson, Nice

Résidence secondaire
, MAMO Audi talents awards, Marseille, curated by Gaël Charbeau

Archeologia
, FRAC Bretagne, Rennes, curated by 40mcube

Vue d'en haut
, Centre Pompidou, Metz, curated by Angela Lampe

De belles sculptures contemporaines
, Œuvres de la collection du FRAC Pays de la Loire, Hab Galerie, Nantes

This is (not) music
, La Friche de la Belle de Mai, Marseille, curated by Richard Leydier

Steel et Freedom
, Otto Zoo, Milan, curated by Lara Pan

Châteaux Secrets
, l'île des Embiez

Fieldwork
, Marfa, Texas

La dernière vague
, La Friche de la Belle de Mai, Marseille, curated by Richard Leydier



2012

Skyscraper: Art et Architecture Against Gravity
, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Prestige : Fantasmagories de notre temps
, Palais d'exposition du Centre culturel de communication de Klaipeda, Lituania, curated by Julia Cistiakova

#11 The Flesh
, Lage, Berlin

Rob Pruitt's Flea Market
, La Monnaie, Paris

10'000 Hours., On Craftsmanship, Mastery et Failure in Art
, Kunstmuseum Thurgau



2011

C'est, l'amour à la plage
, Musée d'art contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon, Sérignan

Making is Thinking
, Witte de With, Rotterdam

Wilfrid Almendra, Philippe Cognée, Casser la baraque
, Galerie Mélanie Rio, Nantes

Exquises Esquisses
, FRAC des Pays de la Loire, centre Athanor, Guérete

Écoutez voir!
, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Pontmain



2010

America, Deserta
, Parc Saint Léger - Centre d'art contemporain, Pougues-les-Eaux, curated by Étienne Bernard and Setra Patron

First Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art
, National Center of Contemporary Art, Ekaterinburg

Circuit céramique à Sèvres. La scène française contemporaine
, Sèvres - Cité de la céramique, Sèvres

One Man's Mess Is Another Man Masterpiece
, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris

Perpetual Battles
, Baibakov Art Projects, Moscou, curated by Maria Baibakova, Jean-Max Colard and Kate Sutton

Ever Prosperity
, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris

Retour vers le futur
, CAPC, Musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux



2009

3ème Biennale d'art contemporain d'Anglet
, Anglet

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris



2008

Notorious
, Le Plateau, FRAC Ile-de-France, Paris

Antidote 4
, La Galerie des Galeries, Paris

Zones Arides
, Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Tucson, curated by Patrice Joly

Échelle humaine
, Maison du livre, de l'image et du son, Villeurbanne, curated by Galerie de multiples and Valérie Setoz



2007

XS
, Fondation Ricard, Paris, curated by Elisabeth Wetterwald

Série Noire
, Villa Bernasconi, Genève, curated by Frédéric Latherrade

Dérive
- Prix fondation Ricard, Espace Paul Ricard, Paris, curated by Mathieu Mercier

L'Histoire d'une décennie qui n'est pas encore nommée
, Biennale de Lyon , curated by Stéphanie Moisdon and Hans Ulrich Obrist

Basse déf
, Centre d'art OUI, Grenoble, curated by Nichoals Thély et Stéphane Sauzedde

Enlarge Your Practice
, La Friche La Belle de Mai, Marseille, curated by Jean-Max Colard, Claire Moulène and Mathilde Villeneuve

XS
, Galerie Espace Mica, Rennes, curated by Elisabeth Wetterwald

Space Oddity
, Bugada & Cargnel (Cosmic Galerie), Paris

945 + 11
, FRAC Aquitaine, Bordeaux

Slow Life
, APT Gallery, Deptford, curated by Yuu Takeisha



2006

Zones Arides
, Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, curated by Patrice Joly

Zones Arides
, Espace Paul Ricard, Paris, curated by Patrice Joly

Aakey
, CCC - Centre de création contemporaine, Tours

Slow Life
, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton

Hradacany
, la Générale, Paris, curated by Alice Barbara, Yann Chateigné, David Cousinard Thu van Tran

Buy-Sellf Art club, Marseille

Est-ce bien de l'art ?
, Abbaye du Ronceray, Angers



2004

35 h
, Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers

It's Hip To Be Square
, Zoo Galerie, Nantes

Buy Sellf, atelier d'artiste, Marseille

A ciel ouvert
, Centre de création, Bazouges



2003

Black Block
, Palais de Tokyo, Paris

Art Brussels
April 28, 2022