Victor Hugo Was Here

by Jean-Baptiste Maitre & Dina Danish

photo by Natalia Trejbalova

ON VIEW AT RITA URSO ARTOPIA GALLERY 

OCTOBER 1 - NOVEMBER 12, 2020

The title recalls a 19th century graffito found in Luxor, Egypt, in which French writer Victor Hugo engraved his name on the wall of an ancient temple, in order to presumably eternalize that he was once upon a time here in this place.

THE TITLE

ARTWORKS 

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Belzoni and Salt, 2018, 150 x 200 cm, embroidery on tulle

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Newton and Disney, 2018, 150 x 100 cm, embroidery on tulle

The old inscriptions and engravings in stone that inspired you could be described as primitive
forms of subjective communication addressed to a potential public: they are the product of
individual expressive needs, conveying spontaneous, simple messages, yet they contain a yearning for eternity.

(Giulia Pezzoli, "Whatever They Say May It All Sound Great. Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre in conversation with Giulia Pezzoli", ed. MAMbo)

 

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Nour and Le Caros, 2018, 80 x 100 cm, embroidery on tulle

photo by Demetra Invernizzi

photo by Demetra Invernizzi

photo by Natalia Trejbalova

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Fab (Series Victor Hugo Was Here), 50 x 85 cm, 2019, embroidery on tulle

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Donkey (Series Victor Hugo Was Here), 50 x 85 cm, 2019, embroidery on tulle


We thought of embroidery as a way to extract graffiti from their original historical and architectural context and introduce them into our present, real time. Using embroidery gives a visual feeling of having peeled off a layer of architecture and time, and placed it again inside the exhibition space.


(Jean-Baptiste Maitre, "Whatever They Say May It All Sound Great. Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre in conversation with Giulia Pezzoli", ed. MAMbo)

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Rich (Series Victor Hugo Was Here), 50 x 85 cm, 2019, embroidery on tulle

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Moon (Series Victor Hugo Was Here), 50 x 85 cm, 2019, embroidery on tulle

It is probably not our fascination with the aesthetic of graffiti, but the act of vandalism and the human need to inscribe something on walls since ancient times that fascinated us. We even looked at children’s wall drawings from the Roman period and not much has changed since then. The need to also inscribe your name on the wall, to not be forgotten; that is what we found fascinating. 

 

(Dina Danish, "Whatever They Say May It All Sound Great. Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre in conversation with Giulia Pezzoli", ed. MAMbo)

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Rich (Series Victor Hugo Was Here), 50 x 85 cm, 2019, embroidery on tulle

photo by Demetra Invernizzi

Danish and Maitre create a matrix of colliding imagery that is appropriately redoubled, from the taut surface of carved linoleum to the malleable pile of crushed velvet.

(Elisabeth Rodini and Ilaria Gianni, from Convergence at American Academy in Rome)

photo by Natalia Trejbalova

photo by Natalia Trejbalova

photo by Natalia Trejbalova

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, Winged Sandals, Moses and a Cocktail (carving), 2019, 150 x 210 cm, carved linoleum mounted on wood

Dina Danish & Jean-Baptiste Maitre, A Cocktail, Moses and Winged Sandals (embossing), 2019, 200 x 300 cm, embossed velvet

photo by Demetra Invernizzi

photo by Demetra Invernizzi

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ARTISTS

Dina Danish and Jean-Baptiste Maitre – who both have a well-developed and clearly defined individual practice – began to work as an artist duo in 2015. The French-Egyptian duo reappropriate linguistic and figurative expressive forms acquired from the most diverse cultural traditions and turns them into images that contain and condense centuries of history. Their collaborative works have been exhibited at Tyson Raum in Cologne; PuntWG in Amsterdam; Institut Für Kunstgeschichte in Munich: Martin van Zomeren gallery, Amsterdam; Stigter van Doesburg gallery, Amsterdam; Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna and the American Academy in Rome.
In 2009, Danish and Maitre met at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam where they were both artists in residence.

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