Art or Design? We often ask ourselves this question when confronted with a work of art. With the spread of collectible design – which we have told you about here – it is increasingly easy to come across unique pieces that oscillate between sculpture and design objects. Functionality seems to be one of the easiest prerogatives to cling to in order to make a distinction. Can I use it? If the answer is yes, then it is almost always a design piece. The same question arises when admiring the pieces of Parisian artist Côme Clérino. But he gives us the answer. «I am a painter,» he says. «My work consists of painting from an anchor point in reality and from there offering a different look at what surrounds us every day.» With these words, Clérino offers us an initial key to understanding his work and his research. After graduating from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Clérino developed a multidisciplinary practice, challenging the academic definition of painting and combining photography, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and installations.
In Côme Clérino’s installations, the line between his works and the design sphere becomes thinner. Even in his neat sketches, one can glimpse his method, both design and technical. The scenarios that the artist creates are real sets, living spaces in soft colours – such as mint green and peach – within which the viewer can move around and search for a homely dimension. A further point of encounter with design lies in the choice of materials, which have all the characteristics to make the works potentially functional. MDF, plaster, acrylic resin, fibreglass, paraffin, fabric, thermoplastic glue, tile sealant, ceramic and polystyrene are some of the materials Côme Clérino chooses for his pieces.
From a structural point of view, fluidity is master. The lines are soft, the forms are imperfect. Looking more closely at his works and in particular his installations, it is evident how his research starts from an urban context. Clérino’s scenarios offer a new point of view to observe the city, bringing the transformations she undergoes – such as deterioration – into a living context. Exterior materials covering interior objects. Quoting Léo Marin, who wrote a critical text on Clérino, we leave you with a series of questions to ponder. «A sculpture of use? Final design by the artist-creator? A change in practice, as seems to be the current trend? Light shed on the importance of the material? So many questions are being asked by Côme Clérino: What if we threw the furniture out of the window? And start again from scratch?»
Courtesy Côme Clérino