Zoé Vayssières was born in Paris and graduated in ENSAD with a Masters of Art. Notable alumni from the same institution include Pierre Huyghe, Annette Messager and Xavier Veilhan. Zoé moved to China because she was fascinated by the rapid growth of the country and wanted to experience it along with her family. Currently in Shanghai, she splits her time between being an author and an artist. Author of several art books, she wrote Le titre dans tous ses états (The Titlein All Forms), which is a piece that investigates the process by which artists title their creations.
“Secret Dialog”, Zoe collects disappearing everyday objects and casts selected pieces in bronze
As an artist, Zoé does bronze sculptures. She collects disappearing everyday objects and casts selected pieces in bronze to make them timeless and capture the objects memory. As Shanghai is ridding itself of the old to embrace modernity, she pulls inspiration from this ever-changing city. As photographers do photography, ZoéVayssieres does objectography.
“Many artists from the 20th century play with objects by covering, deforming, over-scaling or accumulating them, in order to question the world. I use objects to question the mutation of cities and life: What will we remember from our past?”
“Manifesto Basket”, the Artist pulls inspiration from the ever-changing city of Shanghai
What will we remember from our past?
Transforming an object into sculpture implies its end as an object. When the memorable Marcel Duchamp placed a ready-made object in a museum, he ended its existence as an object and made it entirely a sculpture. Zoé thought of returning her bronzed objects to their original environment: a brick, a stool or a basket in a Lilong for example. This transcends the destruction and obtains timelessness for both, the object and the environment. As sculpture, it brings with it both the soul of the object and the place.
“When I encounter an everyday object on the street that moves me.I try to capture its essence. I am less concerned with the object than with its remembrance”
“Manifesto Basket”, Detail
Zoe uses objects to address memory and the forgotten, asking the public to question their feeling almost reflexively as if experiencing a scent memory. She recounts a story of what she calls her Manifesto Basket:
“The wicker basket, that was omnipresent in China is gradually being replaced by the plastic crates. I bronzed one of those round wicker basket commonly used to dry rice or herbs. Then I engraved a sentence upon it: There is no essential difference between the artist and the artisan, by Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus School. One of my clients sent her Shanghainese driver to pick up the sculpture at my studio. When he arrived with the package, he asked why she had bought a new basket as there were plenty of them in her kitchen. They unpacked the sculpture together. He froze, exclaiming that he doesn’t see these kinds of baskets anymore! It is just like the ones from his childhood! This very instant made my work worth it.”
Parisian born Zoé Vayssières splits her time between being an author and an artist