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


Adelaïde, curated by Muriel Enjalran, Frac Paca - plateau perspectives, 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 and 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 exhibitions (selection)



2017


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

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



2016


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


L'Esprit du Bauhaus
, curated by Olivier Gabet and 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, Lithuania

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 and Allison Somers, Auvers-Saint-Georges, France

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


Festival des Arts éphémères
, Parc de Maison Blanche, Marseille, France

Parapanorama
, curated by Gaël Charbau, 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
, curated by Richard Leydier, La Friche de la Belle de Mai, Marseille, France


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

Châteaux Secrets, l'île des Embiez, France

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 and 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 and Kate Sutton, Baibakov Art Projects, Moscou, Russia


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 and Valérie Setoz, Maison du livre, de l'image et du son, Villeurbanne, France




2007


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


Série Noire
, Villa Bernasconi, Genève, 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 and Hans Ulrich Obrist Biennale of 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 and Mathilde Villeneuve, La Friche La Belle de Mai, Marseille, France


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

Art Brussels
April 28, 2022