Olivia Descampe

b 1989 Paris. Lives and works in Berlin.

ARTIST STATEMENT

“I just do it.” This is what I’ve been answering to questions about my inspiration and creation process for collages and decollages.

The trigger to my creative process is a basic urge, a need, that I instinctively fulfil. I go hunting through piles of magazines from the 1950s to the 1980s and I gather, carve out, and tear pictures that literally grab my eye. The feel of old paper on my fingers, the smell of mildew and cardboard rising as I turn the pages and deep-dive into lost aesthetics…those hours spent cutting and arranging striking images are like a sensory meditation. It is very much like breathing for me. This is why I need to feel, touch, smell as I create. I do everything by hand using original vintage publications. All my tools and techniques are old-school analog, never digital. There is no such thing as virtual air.

Compulsively, yet organically, I assemble, deface old pictures, piecing together an entirely new one. Just as I go through life, constructing and deconstructing myself. It’s as if, following my senses, I get to my otherwise elusive essence. The result can be weirdly beautiful, unsettling or anything in between, as my hands put together snapshots from my inner conversations, a fleeting mood, or of a meaningful change. It all just comes to me in the moment and I think this is what each piece captures, an instant of my inner state and conversation. When I look at my different series of the past years, I see a reflection of my evolution, self-destruction and reinvention as my inner contradictions and opposite sides come together as one in my art.

My works are entitled after song titles from my ever-expanding playlists. I write down those that talk to me, and somehow always find a match. Those lucky combinations, not so random pairing- ups, and unlikely coincidences are how I not only best express my essence and but also get to discover my own self. That’s why, putting my art out there, as scary and awkward as it can be for me, has been a source of self-validation, as people tell me they see “themselves in a piece” or “a visual expression of serendipity”. We’re all pieces of broken mirrors reflecting each other’s light and demons.

Developing my personal style, I’ve stayed true to my trust in happy accidents and ironic silver linings. I discovered and developed my own decollage technique as I was tearing up papers in rage, coming back from a frustrating and unsuccessful workshop. Amongst the paper shreds, I saw an incredible composition, both ghost-like and vivid, one that started a story that I wanted to continue telling.

Vita

  • Education
  • 2010 - 2014  Interior Architecture and product design, CAD, Brussels
Solo Exhibitions
  • 2019 Morsh, Berlin
  • 2018 Dar Al-Anda Art Gallery, Amman
  • 2018 Gallery Rivoli, Brussels
  • 2017 Aether, Sofia
  • 2017 Lottum Gallery, Berlin
  • 2016 1963 Gallery, London
  • Group Exhibitions
  • 2018 The Ballery, Hamburg
  • 2018 Affordable Art Fair, Brussels
  • 2018 Ludwig Gallery, Berlin
  • 2018 Ludwig Gallery, Berlin
  • 2017 Enter Art Foundation, Berlin
  • 2017 GX Gallery, London
  • 2017 Aura Gallery, Mexico
  • 2017 1963 Gallery, London
  • 2017 The Ballery, Berlin
  • 2017 Clara Ny, New Jersey
  • 2017 The Ballery, Berlin
  • 2017 The Ballery, Berlin
  • 2016 CoGalleries, Berlin

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Works by Olivia Descampe

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