Lockdowns can lock one down physically, but the mind which is an ocean of waves and higher energies keeps creating.

Conversations@Studio ID Art Gallery’s magazine arm reached out to Helene Le Chatelier, a Singapore based contemporary artist, who is working from her confined home space that she created  after the lockdown.

We will be sharing her episodes of her engagements in her new space as she continues her works. Her monochrome body of works speaks volumes of the hard justified parameters of confinements, and how she manages them in these unpredictable times is something we explore.

We thank Helene for creating this involving videos exclusively for Conversations@Studio-ID and sharing her space with our viewers.

By Helene Le Chatelier:

Hi, my name is Hélène Le Chatelier. I am a French artist based in Singapore where I am confined with my husband and our four kids. In this very weird time, I am very grateful to Studio ID for inviting me to share with you how I have managed to continue my artistic journey under this lockdown period.

As a mother of 4, I am used to splitting my spaces depending on my activities in order to be more efficient. Since I have my own studio, our home is normally fully dedicated to our family life. Having those 2 separate spheres always helped me to devote myself to my artistic practice in my studio and reciprocally to my family when at home. So at first, it was quite disturbing for me to merge those 2 spheres into one!

As a multi-disciplinary artist, my practice can be very versatile moving from sculpture to painting, to photography… which supposes (ideally) an access to a large range of medium and equipment.  That’s why when the lockdown had been announced, I ran to the art supply shop to purchase whatever I could need during the confinement. I also brought back home some essential tools and materials from my studio.

Through my practice, I love to explore how individual or collective memory and social context influence our intimate space. In that sense, we can say that this confinement, as an individual and a collective experience, is very close to my usual field of research! However, I have to say humbly that the first challenge I encountered during this lockdown was to deal with frustration! First, when everything stopped, I was working on a couple of very exciting projects I had to postpone.

After dealing with the disappointment of leaving what I was working on for a while, I reorganized my working space at home: a way for me to appropriate the place and to recreate a room of one’s own in the form of a mini sphere in my bedroom. Like animals delimiting their own territory, it was extremely important for me to make sure that this desk, mini home studio of mine, would stay my very own perimeter and couldn’t be interchangeable with anyone’s working space in the house.

Then the second aspect of my frustration resided in the fact that, even if I am extremely thankful for having a very helpful partner, home schooling and managing the house organization left me very little time to work efficiently. This challenged my ability to reduce my self-expectations, teaching me to be more gentle to myself when I couldn’t achieve my goals within the day… gymnastics I had to practice a few times before I could really adapt to this new reality!

Finally, with the view to facing this difficult and destabilizing time, I found a lot of comfort in installing a new routine by starting my working day reading a chapter of an artbook.

Books of any sorts have always played a huge role in my inspiration: poetry, science, psychology, philosophy, literature and art history trigger my imagination and expand my horizon line. At the moment, I find a lot of satisfaction in studying more deeply incredible artists such as Christian Boltanski and Hans Hartung, whose exhibitions I had the chance to visit in Paris last January. As the memory of these brilliant shows resemble more and more as a mirage of a lost world where one could freely travel and go, I endlessly flip the exhibitions catalogs’ pages…

Wall of confinement

Christian Boltanski’s approach of life and death, of human existence as something so ridiculously simple, anonymous and humble has always moved me. I think this is resonating particularly well in this Covid 19 situation, a global problem concerning any of us without distinction.

I am also very impressed and inspired by Hans Hartung which practice is extremely built up and extremely instantaneous at the same time. Two very accurate qualities surely required in this confinement time during which we have to constraint ourselves to stay focused and centred while giving space to unpremeditated actions to constantly adapt and reinvent ourselves without projecting anything during this uncertain period…

Next time, I will introduce you to my artworks in progress and I will share with you how I adapted my artistic process to the time and the space I have. So stay tuned and meet me next week for the second episode of this series and before that, do not forget to be gentle to yourself and take care of yourself and of your loved ones!

We wholeheartedly thank Helene for sharing her experience, and hope this can help more artists  in these particular circumstances. Sharing is caring, and it has been a beautiful engagement with your thoughts and practices Helene!


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