MAstars 2011: Jocelyn Villemont, MFA

MAstars 2011: Jocelyn Villemont, MFA Jocelyn Villemont, Stone Happy, 2011. Granite. 70cm x 70cm x 25cm. Credit: Jocelyn Villemont

Kitty Anderson selects Jocelyn Villemont from Glasgow School of Art for MAstars

The collection explored the physical, literal and cultural associations of the rock, and comprised a series of wall-based works, two sculptures and a sound piece.

The wall-based works included a series of fluorescent 'posters' with variations on the work's title, altering the absurd statement 'GRANITE IS A HARD CORE ROCK' to the truisms 'GRANITE IS A HARD ROCK' and 'GRANITE IS HARD'. Pasted on grey MDF boards (with the corners cut off to imitate broken paving stones) and mounted against the breeze-block walls, the posters looked like something between a poster promoting a club night in the student union and a slogan on a political fly poster.

Alongside the posters, and also mounted on grey MDF, was a photograph of two small boys (a childhood picture of the artist and his brother) pushing a huge rock several times their own size, and clearly making no progress in their pursuit. Coincidentally the two boys are dressed in fluorescent outfits, providing an indication of the age of the photograph, and a formal link to the posters.

On the floor was large granite disc, marked with a smiling 'acid' face like an oversized ecstasy pill. Balanced upright so that it appeared almost weightless, the smiley face was drained of its normal yellow hue and took on the sombre tones of the grey concrete floor.

On the other side of the room stood a pair of speakers covered in a homemade camouflage net, splattered with grey paint like a cheap terrazzo floor rather than a standard moss green. Underneath the speakers pumped out a monotonous, though slightly unusual, techno beat, seemingly made from the sound of stones hitting against one another like executive office toy.

The works presented at the MFA show are amongst a number of works by Villemont that use rocks and stones in various states and guises. From cast concrete paving stones moulded into fake boulders to large plinths covered in marble effect vinyl, the physical qualities and magical associations of this traditional material (and its numerous imitations) present an ongoing fascination for the artist. By combining the ritualistic use of ancient stones with the altered states induced by music and chemicals, Villemont unites two diverse subcultures though a play on words and objects.

Contextualising these works, and Villemont’s practice in general, is his collaborative project 'It's Our Playground', an online artist-run space. IOP projects are virtual exhibitions that overcome the physical constraints of the real world by using the unlimited space and endless images available on the internet. A recent project entitled ‘The World is Stone’ presents his own work alongside other rock-related creations including well-known artworks, found images and home videos. This surprisingly seductive online environment provides an ideal context for his work while prompting us to question whether a good picture is as important as a good work, echoing Villemont’s interest in the qualities of re-creation and imitation.

Later this year Villemont will participate in the New Work Scotland Programme at Collective Gallery Edinburgh.

Selected by Kitty Anderson
Published August, 2011

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