Claudia Groeflin Galerie is proud to present two solo shows with the promising
young artists Melodie Mousset (*1981 in Abu Dhabi, lives and works in Los Angeles,
where she is currently completing her Master’s Degree at CalArts) and Vanessa
Safavi (*1980 in Lausanne, lives and works in Basel and Berlin). Though the two
artists are diverse in their working manner, there are certain undeniable similarities,
not least the fact that they both graduated from the renowned Ecole cantonale d’art
in Lausanne. Both artists are influenced by the everyday, whether that means
disposables from the recycling center adjacent to the studio, or 8000 empty beer
bottles collected in person throughout the city. The result, however, is the diametrical
opposite. Though the works of both artists are strongly devoted to aesthetics and
pop-culture, Safavi relies on anthropological observations that are recognizable in
her references and the earthy tones of her assemblages, in contrast to Mousset’s
spontaneous, carnivalesque sculptures and installations.

Vanessa Safavi
“Wandering Works”

Combining an evident precision and sincerity with a subliminal effortlessness and
irony, Safavi chooses to use materials as diverse as rope, palm leaves, and spray
paint in her work. These materials possess an inherent symbolic worth, hence
alluding to experiences with varying cultures. In this regard, she will surely find
an abundance of subject matter for her future works during her upcoming artist
residency in South Africa supported by Pro Helvetia. The new works included in
Safavi’s solo show at Claudia Groeflin Galerie result from an ongoing series
consisting of collages and paintings, the title “Wandering Works” referring both to
the travels that have inspired Safavi, as well as her constant search for new forms of
artistic expression. Both the collages and the appropriately named ‘Cave Paintings’
exhibit similar motifs, though the former are distinguished by the incorporation of
leather and found images, while the latter are reminiscent of tribal expression. In
her current body of work, Safavi creates a cynical yet highly aesthetic interplay
between a repertory of prefabricated materials such as plastic and plexiglass, and
rough, poor, and organic materials. She adopts an aesthetic of the prehistoric and at
the same time a trendy, present-day throwaway mentality in her work, which emanates
a mystical, magical potency.

Melodie Mousset „Impulsive Control“

The painstakingly prepared, often shimmering, patterns that permeate Mousset’s
work are reminiscent of confetti or colorful amphibian skin. Frequently accompanied
by humorous yet animalistic masks and wigs in her theatrical performances, Mousset
plays with the concept of the skin as a medium between body and outside world,
suggestive of the collapse of surface and substance integral to pop culture. The
starting point for much of Mousset’s work is often her own body, from which individual
body parts swell, mutate and detach, occasionally even serving as tools during her
performances. The artist’s solo show at Claudia Groeflin Galerie, “Impulsive Control”,
presents new works developed in collaboration with a ceramist. Mousset underwent
the dizzying effects of the revolving potter’s wheel, whereby her body became the
object while she became one with the object. Ultimately, as a detached object, it
becomes the self-sufficient evidence of a shared experience. Just as the video
installation documenting the creation process, the sensuous clay sculptures bear
distinct signs of the encountered rotation and still seem to be pirouetting long after
they stand still on their pedestals.

Text: Sara Forsythe