statement & bio
Théo Bignon's artist statement
Who decides what is excessive? This question drives my work, and I explore the ways in which ornamentation and desires go beyond mere usefulness or the supposed natural way things are and provide an insight on identity formation. My references include French Rococo, fetishistic attachments to certain garments (such as underwear, the jockstrap, or the tank top), gendered traditions of needlework and embroidery, and forms of adornment and comportment seen as excessive, deviant, artificial, or queer. I draw on these traditions in making sculptures, embroideries, and build environment that speak to practices of desire, of cruising, and of needless decoration. My concern is with the ways in which homosexuality and queer desires trouble the idea of the natural and are insulted as being unnatural, excessive, and inappropriate. Rather I embrace the erotic possibilities of the everyday object, the outmoded decorative element, and the garments we wear. For me, this is a way to ask how queer identities dynamically constitute their own narratives by adapting elements from the dominant culture and using them to their own ends. The materials I use are rooted in long histories of power structures, gender identities and sexual implications; they also have abilities to record individual existences, as well as being connected to my personal affinities and identity. Men’s undergarments, mesh fabric, bits of sportswear garments, pearls and costume jewelry, elements of architecture and interior decor are pieced together and recreated in my work in the same manner as my own constitution: haphazard with an attention to detail.
Théo Bignon is a French artist whose work investigates notions of desire and identity through different works, such as hand-embroidered worn undergarments, pseudo-furniture sculptures and collages. After getting a BA in Political Science and Cultural History from Sciences Po Paris, he moved to the US first in Pittsburgh, PA through the University of Pittsburgh Studio Art Department, then in Richmond, VA. Théo currently lives in Chicago, IL, where he is pursuing an MFA in the Fiber & Material Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited nationally at the Hive Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, The Visual Art Center in Richmond, VA, The Studio Door in San Diego, CA, as well as other galleries across the US. This summer he will attend the Bunker Project Residency in Pittsburgh, PA which will culminate in a solo exhibition, Indecent Exposure, to be open in August 2019.