Confessional

1997
Copper, Glass, Steel, Limestone, Cotton
500 x 450 x 450 cm
Edition of 1

In Confessional, Cathy de Monchaux wishes to make a place which was openly sculptural but which was complete only when people entered and conversed within its walls. De Monchaux’s reflective method of working has resulted in a construction that is simple, assured and which looks from the outside to be a place without pretension, but with strength of line and solidity of form. On the inside, the décor is true De Monchaux, with intricate wrought ironwork and lush, tufted cushions, the contrast between outside and inside continues De Monchaux’s preoccupation with playing with extremes, particularly those of opulence and austerity.

Like most of De Monchaux’s work, Confessional is secretive: it hints at comfort—here is a place to rest, to recline and to converse. Upon closer inspection, this initial sense of relaxation becomes tinged with unease—the work has a dark underbelly. The metal fretwork screen divides the space, creating a physical barrier between the occupants. Composed of sharp spikes, the screen juxtaposes soft, voluptuous upholstery, creating a tension of opposites, which could translate into sexual tension, or fetishism, De Monchaux herself stating she allows her practice to create a relationship with the viewer of “flirtation and desire”.

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About The Artist

In her sculptures, Cathy de Monchaux combines opposites. Hard and rough contrast with smooth and soft, as she places brass and steel against leather and velvet. These forms work in opposition to one another and deal with themes of repulsion and attraction. Spikes and jagged edges provide contrast to sumptuous curves and padded surfaces. Her imagery is sexual with an undercurrent of sexual restraint, hinting at the bordello muted eroticism. In the 1990's De Monchaux's work became larger, more assertive, pictorial and often wall-mounted. De Monchaux began to make works with a decorative sensibility. In recent installations, De Monchaux has added ephemeral elements such as patterns of powder or dust, which appear as shadowy traces of her sculptural forms. These traces add a sense of history and of decay. De Monchaux has also produced a series of sculptural works based on battle scenes between imaginary creatures, the magical aspect allowing the works to sit in any time of history anachronistically.

Cathy de Monchaux

Born: 1960