SYLVIE RONFLETTE

Cultivating a very personal mythology where omnipresent eroticism translates through a fragmentation of the body and its hybridization with the object, Sylvie Ronflette - whose sculptural practice is based on its psychical reality - progressively elaborates her dream world.
Fresh-launched fairies announce their arrival...

That which Sylvie Ronflette (b. 1968) has to present shown of her sculptural production, already demonstrates that she sees eroticism much in the same way as did Marcel Duchamp: namely, that this is the only 'ism' that is truly acceptable.

It is indeed to this immense empire dedicated to the sexual, cultivated in a province of Hainaut where the fairy world of Fernand Dumont mixed with the surrealism of Haute Nuit has not wholly disappeared, that her last works link up with in the stream of a quite personal mythology.
And it is only by hybridizing body and object, in a fairy-like "garden" where the body/suitcases, eye/egg and foot/wheel replace the satyrs, fauns and fairies of bygone times, that the artist in her own way revisits the realm of universal imagination.
One remembers the 1996 exhibition FĂ©minin/masculin at Centre Georges Pompidou, that raised the question of "sex in art". It traced two artistic genealogies, that of Picasso, developing the dialectical opposition of the sexes, and that of Marcel Duchamp who, contrarily, destabilized this polarity. The oeuvre of Sylvie Ronflette confirms the topicality of an androgynous mutation in art. And eroticism, in general more refined than sex (that is often hidden or replaced) now passes by way of sculptures that both sensualize the body and render it confused: present/absent because it is molded and fragmented, just as fascinating/repugnant when she flanks it with an anti-libidinal object.

The body fragmented and hybridized
Ear, hand, forehead, hair, foot, torso or leg are as many members detached from their anatomy, and Sylvie Ronflette has us view them as separate, molded parts in order perhaps to evoke the Freudian idea of an eroticism where "ultimately, any part of the body may come to be counted within the erogenous zone and [act as] substitute for the sexual organs." As much a nod to our non-fulfilment as Aristophanes opines in Plato's Symposium as the reason for amorous desire, but which Deleuze and Guattari, in our modern era where every object is mere component, rather put forward as an irreparable disjunction: "... everything acts at the same time," they write in L'anti-Oedipe, "but in the gaps and the ruptures, the breakdowns and the misfires, the intermittances and the short-circuits, the distances and the dividing up, in a sum that never reunites into a comprehensive whole (...). We are in the age of partial objects, bricks and remains. We no longer believe in a totality of origin, nor in a totality of destination."
Nonetheless, we cannot deny the fact that today there is still a good number of artists around to maintain the myths...
To recount to us, following the example of a Matthew Barney, the story of a man escaping from his "anatomical destiny" through transvesticism and hybridization.
To once again find this cosmic unity before the separation of the sexes, and to care for - in other words - this fractured body, Sylvie Ronflette, attentive to the sense of the materials she uses in her sculptures, takes recourse mainly in synthetic plasters to underline the orthopedic quality, just as she all those limbs that she molds to take care of. A specific type of care that harks back, by way of the softness of the smooth material and the intention of the gesture, to caresses administered to induce pleasure or to ease pain.
Thus, the representation of Eros is always in this oeuvre, like in the myth allied to Thanatos and the presence of the body intimately tied in this case to an absence evidenced in its molded impression.

Passing to the series of soaps where relationships of intimacy between body and object are put to the fore, to this hybridized series where cosmetic sensuality melds with ergonomic tensions, in this exhibition Sylvie Ronflette accentuates eroticism's ambiguity. If skin and soap resemble each other and gather together prosaically, as of old, it is something totally different from the naughty plaster works penetrated by metal tools.
It is in this fusion of contraries that she seems to find her very air. First, a fusion of classical sculpture and the modern ready-made, allying plaster and enamel, the handcrafted and the manufactured. Next, a fusion of body intimate and object foreign, of flesh and metal retractor, of egg and hook...
An aesthetic of the hybrid, producer of monsters out of an interior cinema where, layered upon the most fascinating of surreality, there is the psychologic reality and fairy-suffused images of a woman-sculptor.