The work of Laurent Craste lies at the crossroads of two mediums, participating in the world of visual arts, but never stepping beyond its borders. Ceramics, linked by tradition to crafts, requires a technical knowledge and know-how so restrictive that artists are prompted to remain within canonical forms, never pushing their limits. Video art, the recent avatar of the moving image, does not always acknowledge its main ancestor, cinema. The innovative aspect of this work is the combination of the two mediums with the addition of humorous or dramatic short stories, encompassing an autobiographical element that never descends to self-righteousness. The digital animation embues the stills with life and enables the self-portraits to take shape and meaning over time, at the very centre of the video, as opposed to the immediacy of reception provided by the ceramic form. The video becomes the critical analyst of ceramics as a medium, revitalizing it and making it a theoretical object. Craste’s plan is to be neither heavy nor impenetrable: the humor that runs through his work saves it from this fate.
In terms of narrative content, the criticism of decorative art is filtered through the stills underlying Craste’s recent works. The outmoded ideas disseminated by bucolic scenes, floral bouquets and exotic trash, are presented and staged to highlight their racist or sexist elements and the conservatism of the object’s owners. Therefore the critique of the representation also becomes a critique of the medium.
Pascale Beaudet - Translation / adaptation: Peggy Niloff