In Introspection, Carnaille returns to the fundamental concepts of his work, yet while taking a more conceptual turn. Here, the artist has constructed an installation that functions as a system based on the dialogue between its different elements.
Cubes levitate over four identical columns, using magnetic forces to make these great masses float just a few centimetres above the columns – a technique that Carnaille has used in the past. Through their juxtaposition and their strict resemblance, the result is to emphasise the idea of uniformity. Each cube, however, develops its own dialogue with a unique, three-dimensional piece hung on the wall. For the artist, the wall pieces are the mental representations of the columns with which they are associated, symbolising both their individuality and singularity. The effect of mass and repetition which are initially suggested to the viewer slowly evolves into a refined understanding of the presence of these wall compositions.
Through this installation, Carnaille seeks to explore the paradox of human nature: a universal made up of singularities. Introspection evokes consciousness, the expression of profound thought and the existence of the soul. A separate entity from the body, the mind is projected into a unique, bottomless universe. Designed to human scale, the columns invite curious visitors to move within the installation and interact with it. By being physically involved with the viewer, the piece provokes mental engagement.
Since his debut, Carnaille has always been known for working in this vein, provoking examination and thought on the part of his viewers. Introspection thus encourages returning to oneself while simultaneously inspiring a more global meditation on humans and their origins.
Already known for his creations and sculptures made from timepiece components, Carnaille developed diverse sculptural projects from 2010 to 2015, working in both abstract and figurative forms. Timepiece mechanisms were assembled according to a logic of accumulation reminiscent of Nouveau Réalisme.
From a distance, the pieces appear to be solid, unified objects, yet as one gets closer it becomes clear that each of them is composed of a multitude of cogs from old watches. Quentin Carnaille’s work is thus a demonstration of how fragments form a whole, like the rotation of wheels in a watch. He uses this principle as a metaphor for the organisation of nature and the universe.
While the notion of time is central to Carnaille’s work, he has also become fascinated with space. Although he has performed magnetic experimentations to make sculptures levitate, in pieces like Attraction (2015) he develops a relationship to spatiality and the viewers’ perception of it.
If Attraction marked a continuation of the artist’s practice, Introspection was certainly a departure. This was the first piece made by Quentin Carnaille that was completely devoid of timepiece elements, an installation combining a refined aesthetic with the metaphysical thoughts of the artist. As often seen in science fiction novels, Introspection reflects the ephemeral nature of human existence and its replaceable nature. Presenting his columns as unitary surfaces lacquered in black, Quentin Carnaille comes closer to conceptual minimalism where the ever-present void tends to create a fourth dimension.