Individual is a happening that takes place in a public space and is accompanied by an installation.
Since 2015, Quentin Carnaille has displayed work that questions the place of the individual within society. Thus, in 2017, within the framework of European Heritage Days, he set up his installation Identity which consisted of covering the faces of landmark statues in Lille with 14 mirrored cubes.
By transforming these academic, figurative works into contemporary sculptures, the artists puts into question the individual and their relationship with the other while also proposing a cultural activity aimed to engage a vast audience.
Individual is a project open to whoever has the desire to take part in a communal artwork.
Intended to involve 25 persons, this happening aims to question the existence of the individual within a collective context.
Dressed in white from head to toe, the 25 participants leave their homes wearing two-way mirrored cubes on their heads, allowing them to see others while being themselves masked. They solemnly converge on a symbolic site where this procession ends. There, each participant stands before a column symbolising themselves, at the centre of which they find a personal object (given to Quentin Carnaille beforehand) that is both dear to them and bears a record of their history.
This object will have been chosen by the participant for its emotional charge.
The cube, symbolising the human mind, manifests the impact of this event over the course of its life, changing according to its trajectory and the prism of its conscience.
The performance then begins in a public space where each individual walks alone, trying to attract the attention of passers-by. Finally, the participants gather in an enclosed space where they are awaited by an audience. At this moment, all participants will appear to be linked by a common humanity capable of transcending our inevitable differences, opposing interests and conflicts.
This new reality drives us to seek out what unites and brings us closer as opposed to what distances and divides us.
It is through the “emotion” aroused by the expression of each personal experience that Quentin Carnaille intends to unite individuals, reminding them of the intrinsic and indestructible strength of their bond.
This idea takes form as the participant faces their object which is now set in black paint, as if immortalised. The object multiplies itself following the concept explored in Infinite, a recurring technique in the artist’s work, inspired by the minimalist aesthetic of Ivan Navarro. The columns come to life and pulse to the rhythm of a soundtrack, creating a link for visitors between the participant and the object.
Following his passion for science fiction, Quentin Carnaille leads us into a parallel universe in which humans are cloned and must fight to defend their individual identity and personality.
This happening provokes the audience into reflecting upon what makes a person unique in a world moving towards homogenisation. Every element is calculated as the participants must follow a strict protocol, reflecting the toxic phenomenon of the standardisation of man. The almost military march embodies a system that anaesthetises the critical mind and the freedom to judge.
Individual is a piece that is better defined by the part played by the audience than by the artist himself. Quentin Carnaille adopts the role of the orchestra conductor, allowing the viewer to experience the artwork by embodying the installation.
In this way, he recalls the idea of German artist Joseph Beuys for whom “Everyone is an artist.” Therefore, we can all use art to heal our wounds. However, contrary to Joseph Beuys for whom works of art were a way of strengthening his own legend through the symbolic, Carnaille gives this opportunity to the public, allowing everyone the right to claim their originality by granting them a moment of glory.