Andre Chabot

Solo exhibitions

Group exhibitions

Group collections

Salons

Multimedia

Critiques

Creation of the association
THE NECROPOLITAIN MEMOIRE

The artist
of the death

 

Textes critiques

     “Chabot creates installations or assemblies of more or less everyday objects, diverted from their common use and whose juxtaposition imbues them with an explosive character, violently provocative, aggressive, voluntarily blasphemous, a bearer of accusations and denunciations with different objectives: lampooning, sociological or political. Doubtlessly this attitude includes a desire to liberate personal fantasies, which Chabot stages in three dimensions with unfailing imagination. His preferred goals include an obvious antimilitarism inherited from a grandfather destroyed by the war of 1914-1918, and what one could call a funereal or funerary eroticism -- if its pure eroticism wasn’t somewhat defused by the earnest long quest and sociological research through many cemeteries in France and abroad, tracking signs of a female-object eroticism in the rites, accessories and monuments of death – an investigation that Chabot leads beyond obsession with ravishing black humor.”

—Bénézit, Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, Edition GRÜND, 1999
 

André Chabot
     “Chabot haunts the cemeteries of the world, camera in fist, hunting for scabrous inscriptions or devious funerary art. He tracks souls like the Seer of Powell and Pressburger, or like the character in a Mamleiev novel who killed to capture their escape from the physical container. For more than 30 years, together with his double, Chabotopoulos, he has made machines to reach the beyond in false grand pomp, like Jarry biking behind Mallarmé’s funeral procession. Creator of coffins that are on wheels, floating, flying, with or without stove-pipes, machines that grind up eternity, I suspect him of espionage. He finds blind spots in cemetery walls, the breaches that offer escape at a given moment. When he breathes his last, he will have at last run away. ‘My little one, you can see there is nothing else, nothing afterwards. You remember... I have already told you.’ Anna de Noailles to Jean Cocteau.”

—Yak Rivais, L’humour noir dans les arts plastiques, Eden productions, 2004

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    “I discovered André Chabot’s work in the early 1970s. More precisely, I had come across a few of his pieces mainly during the the Young Sculptors’ exhibitions. Even if fleeting, these encounters could not leave one indifferent. Seeing a hearse in a sculpture exhibition leaves a strong impression.
      So it was with great pleasure that, 30 years later, I was able to meet the artist for the Encyclopedia and satisfy my strong curiosity.
     It is no banal achievement to make death one’s reason for existence. André Chabot bears sober witness to this choice and his personal reasons for choosing this path.
     As a result, the artist reveals a remarkable coherence and knows how to incorporate humor into the unbearable.
     André Chabot lives in his Parisian apartment-workshop surrounded by coffins and mortuary objects while he prepares for the future – in other words, his post-mortem work. There’s no doubt that he won’t miss a single opening for those exhibits.
     While waiting for his work to reach this second life, André Chabot faces this unknown sea by sending death a daily message in a bottle, through his ‘phantasmobjects.’”

—Claude Guibert, Encyclopédie audiovisuelle de l’art contemporain
Chroniques de l’Encyclopédie, le 23 décembre 2004

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 “André Chabot is a man that battles against death and its emptiness with all the means of our post-modernity.
     Installations.
     Recovery and diversion of objects.
     Ingenuous and very meticulous constructions
     Writing and compilations of poetic works
     Planetary documentation on funerary art (currently 130,000 images kept religiously).
     Dozens of exhibits to his name
     Publications
     Interventions
     This elegant pugnacity serves one sole doctrine: to remain eternal in spite of the emptiness of life and its vicissitudes.
Here can be found material with high potential to attract collectors and museums.
     One should visit his studio-home-necropolis where, above the bed covered with an old shroud, Death itself watches over in a violet light, ready to mow him down in his sleep.”

—Richard Quémerais, january 9, 1995

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Death…
     “With an insistence that matches that of the Grim Reaper, André Chabot never ceases pursuing, tracking and setting on stage the multiple forms and figures behind which hides the ‘presence’ made up of that final and ultimate absence. From this essential nothingness — origin of what remains as much as finality — he derives forms and objects, working with sleight of hand; a hostile takeover and hijacking of helpless steles representing memory and fear, duplicating and developing them in a vast, irreverent paraphrase.
     In doing this he induces a stasis, opening perspectives to silence and meditation and allowing meaning to arise. He creates a stable space that finally enables reflection on the vertiginous movement which escapes individuals and ends by engulfing them. He makes death itself an esthetic object – an appreciable vengeance.
     Here we are far from all exorcism or desire of redemption. Nor is there a particular fascination, unless it is the (com)passion of an entomologist. No Calvary, entombment, resurrection. The sudden departure of myth, the return to a naked reality, highlights the inventive delirium as well as the illusory character (if not derision) of cult objects. Here is a phantasmagorical creation that is real, to be read and discovered on the gravel pathways of cemeteries.
     Chabot’s process is analytical and inventive. Having opened up the enormous ‘mythogram,’ he methodically explores it. He gathers, classifies, aligns, constructs. His method is — scientifically — pleonastic, an inverted rhetoric that opens the figures to their double meanings. Redundancy, tautology, and hyperbole allow for resonating effects, amplification and emphasis. The objects of funeral rites — multiplied, imitated, photographed, duplicated, separated from their ceremonial context — thus deliver all their inherent uncertainty, their fundamental disarray, to show that they are pure products of the living, of anguish or pain, yet they irreparably escape Death (like the dead themselves). Some, the most metonymical, are pure extracts that combine humor and calculated provocation. Others are more ambiguous. The ambiguity doubtlessly comes from the object’s personalisation, inviting one to reconstruct an imagined story beyond the anonymity of the particular case. It is also the discourse of the tombs. Here the process is typically functional: it allows a sub-layer of significance to open first inside, and to amplify the object’s resonance.”

—François Derivery, Esthétique Cahiers, n°23/24, 1993

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Chabot André, Erotique du cimetière
     “Here is a bewitching, marvelous work that can’t be summarised because it is so rich and diverse. Nourished with wisdom, it knows how to teach but even more, it takes us along the paths of eroticism, making us dream of sumptuous love affairs with death, because its power of suggestion is irresistible. In fact, André Chabot invites us to a double pleasure: That of the gorgeous images themselves, subtly unveiled through his box of magic and malice. And that of a refined text, subtle and elegant (after all, is not the author a professor of letters?) that is defined less as a commentary of image-as-language than as a meditation on the meeting of Eros and Thanatos in funerary statuary, uniting history, mythology, literature and humour in an exquisite dose.
     Chabot instructs us; he astounds us with the splendor of his images; he ravishes us with the elegance of his expert pen; he takes us into the wild detours of his imagination and our own...”

—Louis-Vincent Thomas,
Bulletin de la Société de Thanatologie
, n°89/90, 1992

 

     “In the latest fashion that makes death the flavor of the day, one could not insolently forget that, for a long time already, this artist has explored the flower-beds of cemeteries with the precision of an archeologist, the critical spirit of a philosopher, but especially a humor and healthiness that have until now allowed him to escape easy morbidity.”

—Gilles Plazy, Le quotidien du médecin, 1978

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     “André Chabot disfigures idols, unmasks institutions, overturns taboos... It is salutary that some objects of public interest and moral order be put into question.”

—Jean-Louis Pradel
Paris, december 1975

 

Courage d’André CHABOT
     “The makers of objets d’art bore me, like the objects themselves.
     At best, these makers are simple brutes or useless, stupid artisans.
     But then comes André Chabot, no longer a maker of objects but creator of courageous situations. Because he knew how to communicate courage to his objects, that ever since then stand as if in a modern saga.
     These objects were actors in search of an author and on the stage of the Theatre of the Spirit, we start performing reality: life, death, hope and its counterpoint. The risks that André Chabot takes to accomplish his unique work are enormous, because the elements that compose it must be real, necessary. And since all must be paid for on this Earth, the author must pay with his very self.”

—Maurice Rapin, Paris, september 23, 1974

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