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, France


1999    École des Beaux-arts de Lisbonne, Lisbon, Portugal


1998    Academy of Fine Arts, Manchester, United-Kingdom

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

Solo Shows 


2022

Adelaïde, curated by: Muriel Enjalran, FRAC PACA, Marseille, France

Adelaïde, curated by: Sofia Lemos, Panorama - Friche de la Belle de Mai, Marseille, France


2020

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

2017


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


2016


Light Boiled Like Liquid Soap, curated by: Nicolaus Schafhausen et Alexetra McIntosh

,Fogo Islet Arts, Canada


2014


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

, France


2013


L'Intranquillité, Centre d'Art Passerelle, Brest
, France

Reconstruction of a Monument II, Village Royal, Paris
, France

Matériologique, Curated by : Zoë Gray
, Fondation d'Entreprise Ricard, Paris, France

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

Second skin III, Maison du Barreau, Paris

, France


2012


Yellow River, Bugada & Cargnel, Paris

, France


2010

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


2009


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


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


Wilfrid Almendra - & Return, Zoo Galerie, Nantes

, France


2008


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

Jungle Composite, La Chapelle des Calvairiennes, Mayenne
, France

Cuts Across the Let, Bugada & Cargnel, Paris

, France


2007


Goodbye Sunny Dreams, Buy-Sellf Art Club, Marseille, France


Watercolors, Le Gret Atelier, École Supérieure d'Art, Clermont Ferrand, France


2006


Rock Garden, FRAC-Collection Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France


2005


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


, France



Group Shows


2022


Sors de ta réserve #1, FRAC Ile de France, Komunuma, Romainville, France


2017


Résonnance, Musée de la Reine-Bérengère, Le Mans, France


Maison Modèle, Radar, Caen

, France


2016


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

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

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


2015


La Chapelle Fifteen, La Chapelle des Calvairiennes, Mayenne, France


Yes to all, Treize, Paris, France


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


2014


The Other Sight, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, France


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

48°28'39"N 2°12'47"E, Les pierres se battent entre elles, curated by: Emmanuelle Day et Allison Somers
, Auvers-Saint-Georges, France

The Brancusi Effect - The Archival Impulse, curated by: Vanessa Joan Müller et Nicolaus Schafhausen, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria 


Festival des Arts éphémères, curated by: Gaël Charbau
, Parc de Maison Blanche, Marseille 
Parapanorama, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

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

, France


2013


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


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

Archeologia, curated by: 40mcube, FRAC Bretagne, Rennes, France


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

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

This is (not) music, commissaire d'exposition: Richard Leydier, La Friche de la Belle de Mai, Marseille, France


Steel et Freedom, Otto Zoo, Milan, curated by: Lara Pan
, Châteaux Secrets, l'île des Embiez 
Fieldwork, Marfa, Texas, United States


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


2012


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

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

#11 The Flesh, Lage, Berlin, Germany


Rob Pruitt's Flea Market, La Monnaie, Paris
, France

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

, Switzerland


2011


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

Making is Thinking, Witte de With, Rotterdam
, The Netherlands

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


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


Écoutez voir!, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Pontmain, France


2010


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


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


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

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


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


Ever Prosperity, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris, France


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


2009


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

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel, Paris

, France


2008


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

Antidote 4, La Galerie des Galeries, Paris, France


Zones Arides, curated by: Patrice Joly
 Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Tucson, Arizona,  United States

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


2007

XS, curated by: Elisabeth Wetterwald, Fondation Ricard, Paris, France


Série Noire, curated by: Frédéric Latherrade, Villa Bernasconi, Geneva, Switzerland


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


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

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


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


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

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


945 + 11, FRAC Aquitaine, Bordeaux
, France

Slow Life, curated by: Yuu Takeisha, APT Gallery, Deptford, United Kingdom


2006


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

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

Aakey, CCC - Centre de création contemporaine, Tours, France


Slow Life, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, United Kingdom


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


Buy-Sellf Art club, Marseille
, France

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

, France


2004


35 h, Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, France


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


Buy Sellf, atelier d'artiste, Marseille, France


A ciel ouvert, Centre de création, Bazouges, france


2003


Black Block, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

ARCOmadrid 2023
February 22, 2023
Art Brussels
April 28, 2022