“I want to tell a story.” This is what Pauline Thomas aims for through her various works. She seeks to enhance the real—not to embellish it, but to question and provoke reflection in a sensory way; to open souls and eyes to parallel realities; to interrogate nature and transcend genders.
For this artist, composition is created by the play of lighting angles and colors, rather than the subject itself. Her desire is to conjure another reality through ambiguity. This is eroticism as understood by Georges Bataille: the tension of continuity in the relation between two opposites. The works shown in New York as part of The Other Art Fair—and taken from the series Gorgeous and Les Nuits—are the illustration of this.
The series Les Nuits consists of photographs of painted objects found in nature. The essence of these discarded elements changes in the dark, emanating a contradictory sensation, of beauty and death.
“Unlike traditional paintings and photographs of still lives, the scene is not more realistic. It depicts an advanced stage of passing, inspiring a meditation on the ephemeral nature of things.”
In Gorgeous—the title plays upon the French word for “throat” (gorge)— the natural power of this part of the female body is displayed in 123 images that capture the neck thrust upward in a ecstatic position.
“As each woman voluptuously exposed their neck to me, she revealed a curious phallic identity, and I thought that including men’s necks too might also disclose a different understanding of the female gender. Who is man? Who is woman?”
Whatever the medium, Pauline Thomas’s oeuvre proffers a fascinating quest that serves the sublimation of a frozen reality.
“I like transition, change of state, the vitiation between two [visual] fields. Because it also symbolizes emotional vistas, that moment when the worlds of day and night meet. Where everything fades, to create another reality.”
This is the moment for which the artist lies in wait, to extract and bring to light the points of fracture where perfect reality and nighttime reality finally converse. Those infinite moments where the mysterious meanings of things and of beings come to the surface. And which offer to our gaze the sublimation of gender and nature through painting and light.
2006: Research program, École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (Ensad), Paris, France
2002-2004: Interactive design master, Gobelins, Ecole de l’Image, Paris, France
2000-2002: DEUG, Paris 8, Photography and Fine Arts University, Paris, France
I like to unframe and reframe classical themes using mainly photography to represent still life, portrait, cartography. I'm very passionate about old masters and introduce frequently oil painting into the scenes to extract even more the essence of light.
The serie 'Gorgeous' has been awarded 6 times and exhibited in Paris, Venice, London, Sydney, New York, Kiev, Vence, Edinburgh and Berlin.
I've been also weaving a long-run body of work called 'Mapping Vacuum Density’ since 2011, composed of installations, mental maps, photographs and paper collages. I mostly work on its development while travelling and during art residencies. But photography is still my medium of preference since I can work on the move abroad, and I develop in parallel different series around those themes:
- perception of reality, subjective reality, representation impossibility
- traces of humanity, vanitas, ephemeral humanity
I’m preparing a new collaborative project about revolving around nature violence which is called « naturation » combining waste aggregates from around the world specially made up of remains generated and revealed by natural disasters.
Since I'm 21 years old I show my projects regularly but I'm not a fulltime artist, I always wanted to have an impact in people lives by art but also by design. The creative methodologies of Design thinking help me to create my art projects with a collaborative problem solving approach and my sensitivity deepens my outlook to improve my social impact. Thanks to this perpetual roundtrip between art and design, I’m starting now a new body of work embracing the best of both worlds.
This said, I'm UX designer for fifteen years, creating user experiences for start-ups, leading digital communication agencies, large telco companies and major cultural institutions. I work for Adobe, with Google, and other international companies.
In 2012, I set-up a coworking space Le Laptop – with a mission to drive happiness at work through an inspiring workplace, nice and talented people, problem solving and creativity training through the UX design approach. We’ve just opened our 4th space in central Paris behind The Museum of Modern Art Centre Pompidou. This is now the biggest community of creative talents and designers in France.