One Artist, One Studio | Samuel Yal, seeking the gold of time
Born in 1982, Samuel Yal lives and works in Saint-Cloud — occupying a little studio, suitable for the delicate and fragile work he creates.
Image from Nœvus, animation short fil, Double Mètre Animation, 2016. Courtesy Samuel Yal
Loyally represented by Galerie Ariane C-Y since 2014, Samuel Yal has become renowned for his porcelain and ceramics sculptures, as well as for his films and installations. His latest stop-motion, Nœvus (2016), has seen his work debut at a number of animation festivals (Annecy, Hiroshima, Bruz ...) and focuses on the artist’s key themes: the human body, transfiguration and the specificity of the material he creates with. “Nœvus is a portmanteau word. Nævus: mole. Venus: goddess of beauty,” explains Yal. Yal’s work embodies the idea of transformation — be it in the random evolution of a mole or that of beauty standards.
Inside his narrow studio, shelves are filled with porcelain masks, hands, busts and arms, all grouped and sectioned into neatly labeled boxes — reminiscent of a puppeteer’s workshop, it is as though they sit there, just waiting to be brought to life. Alongside the pallor of porcelain whites, there are a number of tied plastic bags containing dead birds, also labelled. These are not a form of morbid fascination for Yal, but rather they refer to his interest in the transformation, or transfiguration of a carcass, rid of any religious connotations. Carcasses, bird feathers, skulls of little monkeys or lynx, sit alongside anatomical drawings. From his stay in Madrid, where he spent a year in residence at the Casa de Velázquez, Yal brought back a bull's head whose putrefaction will take a while before it can be used by the artist.
Samuel Yal finished 2016 with a Christmas nativity scene at the Madeleine church in Paris. Yal’s piece Voices (in collaboration with Gonzague Mézin and l'Atelier Cabiria) is currently on show at the the Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, in their exhibition: "Or virtuose à la cour de France. Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813)", through until June 25; 21 grammes at the Château de Kerjean ("A corps & soul, Medicine in the Renaissance", through November 5th). Samuel Yal’s work is also permanently on display at Galerie Ariane C-Y.
Mémoire II, porcelain, Galerie Ariane C-Y at YIA Brussels. Crédit photo : Olivier Truyman, 2016
Studio's photos : Clotilde Scordia
This article is part of H A P P E N I NG's series "One Artist, One Studio - Part 2"