On Thursday 7 February I attended the opening of Caroline Derveaux’s latest exhibition - ‘Arco Iris’. The location choice was fabulous: Caravansérail, a French and English bookshop, gallery and event space located in Shoreditch, was a new discovery and a must-to-go place if you are in the area.
In Caroline’s newest series of paintings Arco Iris, she presents us with a Rorschach test onto which we might transpose images of the familiar and the foreign.
Through the prism of the artist’s interpretations, these images are refracted back, into a host of colours and forms all reflective of space and sensation. Street food is garnished with lime, a staircase wends up and away. It is in this way that Arco Iris taps into the collective cultural memory which Caroline fell in love with whilst producing this series in Mexico.
The body of work reflects the full sensory experience of her months spent in and around Mexico City. These paintings are some of the more figurative of the artist’s oeuvre, and they serve the viewer to coalesce the physical with Caroline’s own inner landscape.
Large subjects translated to small canvasses, desire paths which converge and divert, a street in the late afternoon, perhaps. The bend, where you might meet, rounded out with the flavours of the day, all joined in a warm palette.
In her own words
“the representation of a collective memory that is present in the architecture and the food of the city”.
The landscape is cantilevered from figuration in a play of structural balance, articulations from the artist’s own imagination.
Caroline Derveaux is a French artist who graduated with an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the arts in 2014.
She lived in Paris, Barcelona, Nanjing, London and is currently based in Mexico City.
Her work is a reflection of her imaginary world and childhood influences. It deals with memory and unconsciousness through abstract translation. She exorcises her inner landscape and uses art as a therapeutic tool to confront childhood experiences. Her practice is multi-disciplinary and spread over different forms: painting, drawing, design, art direction, signage and scenography.
Website: www.carolinederveaux.com Instagram: @carolinederveaux
Caravansérail is a French and English bookshop, gallery and event space in Shoreditch, London. Founded by Laura and Anne, it is a home for hybrid cultures.
They stock a large range of titles in French from classics to contemporary fiction to graphic novels and children's books.
In their English section, you will find a carefully-curated selection of French, European and international literature translated into English, graphic novels and children's books. They also display a selection of their favourite new releases.
Their gallery space hosts one exhibition per month, with a preview of the new exhibition on the first Thursday of each month organised in partnership with the Whitechapel Gallery. They are devoted to providing a platform for emerging artists, with a focus on drawing and photography.
They host cultural events on a regular basis, from book launches to intimate concerts to 'meet the artist' evenings. They also have a regular programme of events that always take place on the same day of each month: spoken word evenings on the first Tuesday, art exhibition openings on the first Thursday and 'The Art of Translation' discussions on the second Wednesday.
What is a caravansérail?
A caravansérail ('caravanserai' in English) is a roadside inn where merchants and nomads used to stop and spend the night; it's a place of hospitality that enabled exchanges in culture, information and trade.
This is the definition of what they wanted to create with Caravansérail: a place to rest, discover and interact for the neighbourhood and those traveling through it.