Julien Gardair, a French artist based in Brooklyn, transforms existing objects into something new, creating the marvelous from the mundane by transforming it from its original purpose. Magazines and books come alive in his hands, turing into delicate creatures — yoga mats become a curious kind of coral that floats on the Caribbean sea.
By cutting into a rigid form in a single, continuous line, Gardair frees the life inside it, giving it a new dimension. Watching him work, you can’t help but imagine the master of cutouts, Henri Matisse, who like Gardair made no waste, and had no room for hesitation: just a steady, cutting hand guided by inspiration and without the possibility of erasing his steps.
Gardair has no idea what will be the outcome when he cuts into a material. Instead, he discovers the new shape as he works, “From the technical gesture to the mode of thinking.” It’s a spirit the artist says he learned when he was working as an assistant tat the Biennale of Alexandria observing the local craftsmen.
Though it is his sculptures that have principally won him acclaim, he has recently also branched out to the medium of video. In one “video sculpture” called Dear…, 2014, Gardair uses shots filmed at the The Abu Dhabi Art Hub Art Residency Program to try and deliver a portrait of the Emirates in all its complexity.