Despite the title of the latest exhibition of work by prolific artist Nathalie Du Pasquier, “It is Hard to Get Excited About Growth Less Than 3% With No Sign of Imminent Improvement” (on view now at New York’s CHAMBER gallery), Du Pasquier focuses less on growth and more on “the presence of things,” which means pieces that are part construction project, part trompe-l’œil, and wholly exciting. “Objects have been the theme of my work for the last 25 years,” she says, adding that this new exhibition is very much an exploration of the conflict between the real and not real, “between the tangible and intangible.”
By creating sculpture that tricks the eye, Du Pasquier attempts to warp the experience of the viewer in order to question the reality of the work and our perception of it. In fact, Du Pasquier said merely creating the work created a sensation of stranianmento, or estrangement, that “you have for a moment when you don’t know what you are looking at. It seems to be existing, but you have never seen anything like it, and it doesn’t relate to what you expect.” If that’s true for the artist, who had months to get to know the work better, we can only imagine the stranianmento is doubly powerful for a viewer seeing these pieces for the very first time.
For a different side of Du Pasquier, pick up a copy of her new book, Don’t Take These Drawings Seriously. 1981-1987 (powerHouse), a compilation of unpublished drawings from her days with the Memphis design collective, which she helped establish. During her time with Memphis Du Pasquier drew constantly, and her bold, postmodern style played a key role in defining the group’s polarizing sensibilities and, subsequently, in creating their controversial reputation in the design world.
Don’t Take These Drawings Seriously reveals some of Du Pasquier’s more personal work alongside her better known “decorated surfaces” and patterns, now famously featured in her line for American Apparel. Designed end edited by Du Pasquier and Apartmento co-founder Omar Sosa, the objects in the book are whimsically organized from smallest to largest, with narrative and context written by Du Pasquier.