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Web on the wall

INTERVIEW: French artist Juliette Bonneviot. The 28-year-old's internet-inspired exhibition is currently on display at Circus Gallery. It ends Dec 17, so don't miss it.

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In her new exhibition at Circus Gallery this month, French artist Juliette Bonneviot’s diverse influences are evident in everything from the display (modernist Struc-Tube methods) to the show’s title, »Pink Pink Stink Nice Drink«, taken from a painting by none other than Koko the cult polymath gorilla.

The 28-year-old is engaged with a cycle of reappropriating and misappropriating imagery and language: a video work on one wall shows a digitally rendered 3D figure banging a staff to the ground next to an oil painting titled “Medal of Honor De Kooning”, as dialogues between high and low culture flitter across mediums.

What brought you to Berlin?

At first I just wanted to spend two months here to check it out. But I immediately met very interesting artists. They would take initiative and put up shows, share and communicate what they were doing.

I realized I couldn’t find the same dynamism in the emerging art scene in Paris. It would always feel like we had to wait for some sort of institutional approval before daring to do anything.

What’s your favourite space here?

The place in Berlin that excites me the most right now is Times, a bar owned by my friends, artist-duo Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff and video artist Lindsay Lawson. The decoration is very simple, and above the bar is hung an artwork that they change every month. It’s almost like if the white cube had morphed into a bar with the casual vibes that actually allow you to discuss the work and/or get drunk and silly.

What inspires your work?

My thought process adapts to wandering the internet. Even if there is a feeling of randomness on the web, you don’t click randomly on a link. A hyperlink shows up because a lot of people took the same path to access the information. I like to observe where the system leads me – it shows me what is relevant to people. I had the death of Gaddafi in mind when I was doing the 3D video.

How do you use technology?

My attitude as an artist is to stick to the logic of the technology I use. If I use software, I don’t try to use it in novel ways or test its limits. I’m very interested in experiencing how I will be conditioned by a piece of software, what the software intuitively has people do with it.

How do you see your work as relating to painting and sculpture?

When I appropriate paintings and pieces of art, I take more of a sociological than an art history approach. But I always end up producing a very classical form of art.

Circus Gallery, Obentrautstr. 21, Haus 17, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Hallesches Tor, Wed–Sat 11-18. Through December 17