Deborah Farnault (b. 1983, in Paris, France) earned a BFA from the ESAD Academy of Fine Arts, France, and a MFA from both the ESAD and KUVA National Academy of Fine Arts, Finland.
Farnault has exhibited in France, Sweden, the USA, Italy, and most recently the United Kingdom, including solo and group exhibitions at the following venues: Christie's, New York; International Print Center, New York; Spazio Morris, Milan; Chashama Gallery, New York; Littlefield Gallery, New York; Syndicat Potentiel, Strasbourg; Chelsea Museum of Art, New York; La Chaufferie Gallery, Strasbourg; Dumbo Arts Center, New York; Charles Bank Gallery, New York; St-Art, Strasbourg; and Supermarket, Stockholm.
Farnault’s work was purchased by the City of Strasbourg, a public collection in France, and was shown in the Montrouge Salon for Contemporary Art, a French creation prize. She was awarded four residencies: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space, New York; The Can Factory, New York; and the NIS/Treignac Projet, France for two consecutive years. Recently, her work was selected for the Drawing Center’s Viewing Program in New York. In 2011 and 2012, she was invited as a visiting artist to present her work at Parsons The New School for Design. Farnault is now represented by Fortress To Solitude, New York ().
Farnault currently lives and works in New York.
The convergence of urbanism and landscape is the foundation of my work. Through the use of photography-based research, I observe social structures. I address the ideas of absence, romanticism, representation, and authenticity of experience.
I use the myth of primal nature – powerful and self-sufficient – and confront it to settlement and gatherings, observing how our relation to landscape has turned into a spectacle. To better understand our current social phenomena, I follow parades, tourist itineraries, and I stay in gated communities and national parks.
My images represent a landscape that is both majestic and oppressive, while their processing – pixelization, halftones, black and white treatment, rust of metal – degrades the image and produces a dichotomy of the wild and the tamed. This process annihilates the spectacle and stresses the construction of the image, which pressures the viewer to question what he is looking at. This viewing experience that could be one of contemplation ends up being one of frustration. “As such, we fill in meaning based on our own experiences, perception and desires.” (1)
Working with a diversity of media creates a panoramic story about the perception of reality, and about the significance of the visual image as the sign and the recording of collective experience. I illustrate the search for an ideal landscape or for some peace of mind, balancing back and forth between chaotic and peaceful visions. It is a collection of encounters and sensory experiences, while making our way through life and getting lost in unconstrained thoughts.
(1) This Must Be the Place, a text about Deborah Farnault’s work by Barbara Adams and David Peppas, 2012
b. 1983, Paris, France
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY