Mdvaniiisms and Wicca
For their eighth exhibition in Switzerland, the artists BillyBoy* and Lala have chosen the Espace Artsenal in Delémont, which is the capital of the Republic of the Canton of Jura, Switzerland, where they have been living since August 2011.
This new exhibit named "Maison Mdvanii (pronounce Mid-vah-nee, the flyer states, for those who don't know yet) after the name of their egerie and muse, which was the first fashion doll designed, after two years of development, for adults in 1989 in Paris by BillyBoy*. Mdvanii became through the years a multi-dimensional and directional art expression, acknowledged in the world of discerning doll collectors as well as in the contemporary art world.
The poster of the exhibition pays homage to the famous fashion illustrator, Rene Gruau, who captured in his masterly style, the silhouette of Mdvanii as soon as 1989, which he offered as a gift to BillyBoy*. The allure and glamour of a poupée mannequin de luxe, in her landmark colours: black, white, turquoise and red for the lips.
The scenery of the exhibition, using several sets of furniture entirely white, is at the same time surrealistic and futurist, and is a statement about accumulation of objects and furniture that have survived so many moves from house to house, an allegory of the traveling of the artists duet life, which have also been partners in life for exactly 30 years the month of June, 2011. Each one of them, Art Deco dining table and matching chairs, 19th-century settee and bed table, bed sheets, screen, carpets, armchairs, lamps, books and magazines and even a few energy drinks cans of Red Bull, Coca Cola bottles, and crushed paper in the waste basket, each one of these "lived with" objects were part of the artists' life and are painted in white matt paint:
"Each one of these objects has been a part of our life, recent or in the past. Very often, objects and furniture have had a story before us and sometimes will have one after us, especially when you find them at the flea market and that you give them away, because almost everything ends up in a flea market one day or another…These pieces gathered here can no longer serve as furniture, they are useless, they became artworks in themselves." "Objects simply wait for their time, they have many lives just like us, but unlike us, they have all the time in the world. They are your mirror." says Lala who adds: " there is even my generic felt hat and the work apron I used for almost 30 years, stiff as cardboard, it's wonderful!"
And here is a "mdvaniiism" - careful, there are three "i's"!- " A mdvaniiism is the 21st-century version of a Marcel Duchamp ready-made, but better" says BillyBoy*. Why? "A mdvaniism is not an impersonal object randomly chosen by the artist, such as Duchamp's famous urinal which was made intellectually stimulating by the artist's paradoxal and provocative discourse,. On the contrary, it is any object or concept directly or indirectly linked to Mdvanii herself, that we have glamorized in the true sense of the word, which means invested with Wiccan magic. Put under a spell, if you will."
As a matter of fact, each object, present in this scenery is no longer what it used to be, like white bones dried up in the sun, and seem to be part of a no-man's land or a set from a dream, which gives it a metaphysical dimension: it becomes an object of desire, embedded with power, which becomes the dream display and setting for Mdvanii and other related artworks.
Amongst many different artworks and sculptures, a selection of BillyBoy* & Lala big size photography featuring the dolls, which left their status of sculptures to become true characters of fiction, randomly leaning against the wall. Opposite, on the wall, a series of fashion photos of BillyBoy*'s haute couture Schiaparelli collection, worn by women of today: socialites, artists, such as Graf Celia von Bismark, the late former ambassadrice of the Swiss Red Cross, or Elena Montessinos, contemporary artist from Geneva. These historic fashions worn on contemporary women transcend their own modernity.
George Braque said: "All isms are constructions". And it is a fact that each object within that scenography, turned into a "mdvaniiism" has gained, for the artists a symbolic and artistic status which is as relevant as the artworks themselves: sculptures, photography, jewelry, serigraphy….
The visitors that did not know the world of BillyBoy* and Lala were amazed by the dynamism and the creativity of this production which covered over 40 years of work, since the earliest work shown is a collage from Mr Modern, the neo futurist character invented and incarnated by BillyBoy* while he lived in Manhattan in the mid to late-70s and who, irony of it all, lived in a world of 50s and 60s furniture and artifacts, projected in the future. How vivid!
L.F Réversi 2012.