27 janvier – 7 juillet
Le musée de la dentelle de Chantilly (The Chantilly Lace Museum)
34 RUE D’AUMALE – CHANTILLY
Lace is a technique that can be used in volume, exaggeratedly enlarged, and experimented with in a wide range of materials. Today there are many ways to interpret it. I like to show that it is not a technique that has had its day: it is possible to make it your own and adapt it to your own style, even if only by focusing on one step of the production process […]. Finally, it also means learning to look at these old techniques differently, to actualize them and make them interesting to our contemporary eye.
Annie Bascoul dans La dentelle dans l’art contemporain,
Blandine Pouzin, édition Un dimanche après-midi, 2021.
The Chantilly Lace Museum
The art of reconciling history and modernity is the purpose of the Chantilly Lace Museum.
Based on a collection of black lace and objects related to the technique of this craft practiced in Chantilly during the 18th and 19th centuries, the museum plays a role in preservation, but also in safeguarding the gesture and raising awareness of bobbin lace technique, in collaboration with professional and amateur lace makers.
In 3 halls, the museum presents the history of Chantilly from technical, economic and fashion perspectives.
Beyond its history, the museum is resolutely forward-looking, weaving links between heritage and contemporary creation throughout its programming. It explores the notion of lace in contemporary art.
“My ambition is to reveal an idea of beauty that rhymes with dream and poetry, and to aim to provoke an emotion. The emotion one feels when confronted with a particular reality. The ‘beauty’ I seek is essentially found in nature, Decorative Arts and Fine Arts, which inspire me greatly. I want these creations to be rare and precious, beautiful and poetic.”
Born in Valenciennes in 1958, Annie Bascoul lives and works in Saint-Nectaire. She graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art Plastiques in Paris.
Annie Bascoul draws inspiration from the plant kingdom, decorative arts, fine arts, literature, and fashion. Initially influenced by the work of Annette Messager and Sophie Calle, she is also interested in the painters of the Support Surface movement (Viallat, Jaccard…), the work of Simon Hantaï, Rothko, Cy Twombly, De Kooning, Ann Hamilton, Shiharu Chiota, Pierrick Sorin… She is also fascinated by Memling, van der Weyden, Botticelli, Bronzino, Rembrandt…
… ” I have always been impressed by their style, the atmosphere that their canvases give off or the poetry or a certain spirituality… or the economy of means”.
Her works speak of love, nature and everyday life, her favorite themes, already present in the series Les choses de ma vie (1990-1992), L’Amour (1992-1996), Ancolie (1997-2001) and Folies et jardins (2002-…).
Very quickly, white, in all its shades, warm or cold, and gold imposed themselves on the artist as the only possible colors. Light, transparency, shadow and reflection form an integral dimension of his monumental and aerial compositions, into which the artist invites us to enter. Words, often traced in brass wire, are often associated with the artist’s work, reinforcing the poetic dimension of his works.
The other series are after Watteau (2003-2005) and then in Watteau (2006-2008).
Thread and textiles have always played a role in his work, first as a medium for painting in the form of paper stitched with a sewing machine, then thread mixed with acrylic binder. Sheets, pillowcases, dresses, white cotton and tarlatan then appeared as inspiration and series dictated… Lace, first encountered in 2010, is now an integral part of Annie Bascoul’s work, as she revisits the codes, dimensions, and uses of stitch and crosswork technique. Annie Bascoul also knows how to extend the dress to other worlds, to other materials such as brass wire for her “sculpture-dresses” or welded steel for her “garden-dresses.”
Fueled by classical motifs and traditional skills, she does not hesitate to detach herself from them to create works that combine the ancestral gesture of manipulation with new technologies and their infinite creative possibilities in a continuous process of experimentation. Drawing, sculpture, video, embroidery, lace: her universe is rich and her creations multiple.
Annie Bascoul has recently exhibited at the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la dentelle in Alençon (2010), the Musée de la dentelle in Caudry (2012), the Musée des Manufactures de dentelles in Retournac (2016), the Musée des Arts décoratifs, de la Faïence et de la Mode – Château Borély in Marseille (2020-2021), and the Musée du Cloître in Tulle (2021). She regularly participates in group exhibitions in France and Europe. His works are in public and private collections: Libraries of Dunkirk, Le Havre, Valenciennes, La Rochelle, Dijon, Poitiers, Nancy, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Bibliothèque Nationale du Luxembourg, Musée régional d’Auvergne, Galerie Espace Muraille (Geneva), Musée des Manufactures de Retournac, Musée des Broderies et de la Dentelle de Caudry, etc.
“This is how I try to offer the viewer a complete immersion in my world. To do so, I pace the space with carefully crafted works of different sizes, placed on the floor, hung on the wall or suspended, with shadows cast on the walls to recreate and sublimate them. At first, I try to find a form of overt “beauty.”
I use materials that suggest fragility (cotton or brass wire, transparent fabrics, white, lace techniques, video, 3D printing, welding, painting techniques, etc.) These different strategies work together to create an atmosphere to engage the viewer, to offer a parenthesis that reveals an experience of “beauty.” In recent years, I have worked primarily in museums, always adapting to the space and themes favored by these facilities. This is how the world of Watteau in 2004, then needle lace since 2010 and bobbin lace since 2012, became part of my collection.”
Living and dreaming the lace
An exhibition that invites contemplation and reverie.
From January 27 to July 7, the Musée de la dentelle de Chantilly invites visitors to immerse themselves in the world of Annie Bascoul.
A visual artist inspired by plants, decorative arts, fine arts and fashion, Annie Bascoul crossed paths with lace in 2010. Stitches, threads and crosses have surreptitiously invaded her sculptures and installations.
In works in which traditional skills meet new technologies, volumes and materials, the artist offers us an updated version of lace. Enlarged out of proportion, combined with 3D printing or welded steel in monumental, aerial compositions, Annie Bascoul’s lace floods the space. Plastic, metal and cotton lace coexist harmoniously, shiny and opaque, transparent and opaque. In a play of transitions, shadows and light, Annie Bascoul’s works envelop the visitor, offering a poetic journey into the heart of threads and dots, as if in a third dimension…
The exhibition route
In the first room, visitors are invited to enter Annie Bascoul’s world through a cotton moucharabieh. Created in response to an invitation from the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la dentelle d’Alençon in 2010, this moucharabieh is Annie Bascoul’s first large-scale lace work. The artist has found in lace 3 constants in her work: white, transparency and thread. For this monumental work, 2.75 m high and 6 m wide, which is both a “wall of thread” and a gateway to the exhibition, Annie Bascoul learned needle lace and in particular the Alençon stitch, a unique skill that dates back to the 17th century and was included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
From the preparatory drawing to the final work, going through the 10 steps required to make an Alençon lace, all of which take several months to complete, Annie Bascoul has created a true aesthetic and technical feat.
By changing the dimensions of the lace, the artist immerses us in this art of light and shadow.
Visitors thus discover the clothes of the French garden.
The art of gardens, the subtle encounter between nature and the decorative arts, the subject of technical treatises as well as literature and poetry, naturally became an object of inspiration for Annie Bascoul. The geometric shapes and embroideries designed by Jacques Boyceau de la Barauderie (c. 1560 – 1635) or Claude Desgots (1655 – 1732) for 17th-century royal or princely gardens become under her hands tangles of wire drawing sculptural garments. The skillfully oriented concrete bars evoke both the meandering threads of lace and the embroidery of French gardens. Annie Bascoul combines the roughness of metal with the elegance of a silhouette, sublimating the material that becomes the source of a delicate and magical shadow on the walls of the room.
For the exhibition at the Musée de la dentelle de Chantilly, Annie Bascoul created the Robe jardin à la Française Chantilly 4 specifically from the drawing of the labyrinth of the Kiosque grove in the gardens of the Château de Chantilly, made in 1770. The design of this labyrinth, all curves and symmetry, becomes a skirt at the intersection of lace and calligraphy.
The second room is dedicated to the installation “Aux marches du palais.” This immaculate white ensemble, an artistic interpretation of a traditional song from the 18th century, was also born from an encounter. In 2018-2019, Annie Bascoul participated in an artist residency in Tulle. Her undertaking was to renew the “Poinct de Tulle” technique, a lace that seemed outdated at the time, by integrating this ancestral know-how into contemporary creations. After learning Alençon lace, the artist went on to work with the lacemakers of the Renouveau et Diffusion du Poinct de Tulle association. Annie Bascoul then decided to tackle this technique by oversizing the net and creating volumetric works, this time using a 3D printer.
She studied the creative possibilities of the machine applied to lace and, using digital files and echoing the lyrics of the song, created two beds and a set of 11 shoes in Poinct de Tulle lace (also known as embroidered net) made with cotton thread, combined with Plexiglas and PLA (polylactic acid, the plastic filament most commonly used in 3D printing).
The beds, adorned with periwinkle-white flowers embroidered on the net, feature the stitches used in Tulle Poinct lace (the coarse, the respectful, the rosette, the stitch d’esprit, the picot, the penitent, and the cordonnet); the frame and legs are made of Plexiglas and PLA, as are the shoes of the “little cobbler,” displayed in a showcase.
The installation is completed by the words of the song inscribed in brass wire on the wall and by relief and watercolor drawings of the shoes.
The third room is devoted to suspended “dress-sculptures,” suggesting the idea of a body, as in a dream…. These delicate and refined structures are made of Valenciennes bobbin lace with an unusual material: golden brass wire. For Annie Bascoul, “these dresses are reminiscent of armor and chain mail; garments that are also akin to chastity belts, in other words, forbidden pleasures. The collars are wide or high, stiff: contact is not encouraged. But they are golden and sensual, enhancing and sublimating the woman. Ball gowns that invite pleasure….” In a play of light, the dresses are multiplied in the three dimensions of the room.
Annie Bascoul’s dress is inspired by the primordial goddesses and the polymath Artemisia of Ephesus, symbols of fertility. The voluminous skirt, composed of spheres of different sizes, was created with a 3D PLA printer. The bustier, made of calcified brass lace, is based on the typical skills of Annie Bascoul’s hometown: the petrifying fountains of Saint-Nectaire.
“A living heritage company,” Saint-Nectaire’s petrifying fountains use a technical know-how that transforms water into a work of art: limestone water flows continuously for several months on a substrate to create unique contemporary works.
The tour concludes with the video installation “Vivre en Watteau.”
Born in Valenciennes, Annie Bascoul could not remain insensitive to the work of Valencian painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684 – 1721). In 2004, as part of the European City of Culture Lille program, Marie-Pierre Dion, curator of the Valenciennes library, asked her to produce artist’s books on Watteau. The artist’s work on nature and love echoes Watteau’s fêtes galantes. Annie Bascoul produced five books inspired by several of the painter’s works, his work on women’s clothing, and the application of Watteau’s work to the decorative arts. This initial work was followed by several works, culminating in the installation “Vivre en Watteau”: nearly 800 decorative motifs inspired by engravings of Watteau’s work are projected onto two armchairs and a sofa in the Louis XV and Louis XVI styles, forming a succession of colorful fabrics. Annie Bascoul revisits the artist’s intimate and poetic world and the themes that run through his work: fragility, sensitivity and femininity. This work, reminiscent of Watteau’s paintings preserved at the Musée Condé in Château de Chantilly, closes the exhibition.