Tatiana Trouvé presents ‘The Great Atlas of Disorientation’ at Centre Pompidou

Paris-based artist Tatiana Trouvé discusses her childhood in Senegal, her drawing processes, and the ongoing exhibition of sketches and sculptures at the Centre Pompidou.

by Shraddha NairPublished on : Aug 15, 2022

The Centre Pompidou is a bustle of activity this season, with multiple showcases, performances and education programmes running simultaneously. In Gallery Three, Franco-Italian artist Tatiana Trouvé has taken over the entirety of 800 square metres, transforming the space with her drawings and sculptural installations. The artist spoke to us recently about her ongoing exhibition, The Great Atlas of Disorientation.  

A series of sketches made on newspaper sheets | The Great Atlas of Disorientation | Tatiana Trouve | STIRworld
A series of sketches made on newspaper sheets Image: Thomas Lannes; Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

The monograph uses the space to create a sense of disorientation, placing artworks in conjunction with one another, and not with the viewer. Paintings are hung from the ceiling, as if floating, and the floor is covered with an unhelpful map that furthers the confusion, with a small army of installations stationed on one side of the glass facade. Trouvé intentionally curates the space to avoid any clear direction, a comment on life during and post pandemic.

Trouvé’s sculptural works on view at Pompidou | The Great Atlas of Disorientation | Tatiana Trouve | STIRworld
Trouvé’s sculptural works on view at Pompidou Image: Bertrand Provost; Courtesy of the artist and Centre Pompidou

The gallery opens to the viewer with more than 50 framed drawings, made by Trouvé on top of newspaper sheets. The series was inspired by the dystopian reality we lived through in 2020 and after. The sheets have been selected from newspapers published everywhere from India to France. For Trouvé, this daily drawing practice allowed her to reconcile with the surreal day-to-day.

Trouvé’s sculptural works on view at Pompidou | The Great Atlas of Disorientation | Tatiana Trouve | STIRworld
Installation view of The Great Atlas of Disorientation Image: Thomas Lannes; Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

Although Trouvé's practice has foundations in drawing, her practice evolved to also speak in sculptural formats. Over the years, her drawings and installations became increasingly entwined, evidenced by the works on display at Centre Pompidou. Trouvé says, "For me there is no real distinction between my drawings and installations. These are two ways I work with space. I always start my installations with a specific space, where they are going to be exhibited. My drawings are a continuation of a story told (throughout my practice), there is a history to the mark-making. I get a lot of inspiration from nature and the different species living on this earth. I don’t consider the human to be the central focus, but rather one element. This is something you can feel in both my drawings and installations”.

Trouvé’s sculptural works on view at Pompidou | The Great Atlas of Disorientation | Tatiana Trouve | STIRworld
Trouvé’s sculptural works on view at Pompidou Image: Bertrand Provost; Courtesy of the artist and Centre Pompidou

Beyond the opening display, you enter a spacious enclosure enveloped in floor-to-ceiling white curtains, filtering the harsh daylight into a soft glow. The curtains diffuse the outdoor light, and as it changes through the day it affects the drawings differently as well. Trouvé’s process is unique. The artist uses coloured sheets of paper on which she throws bleach. The bleach distorts the inks of the paper and creates shapes of its own, from which she derives the charcoal drawings that layer over the bleach. The play on perception creates a dynamic effect with the bleach as it evolves through the day, presenting differently to viewers each time.

At The Great Atlas of Disorientation, large canvases hang at varying heights, dancing with the gentle luminescence that lingers in the room. Each frame looks almost like a portal you could climb into. Trouvé has worked spatially in a way that makes one feel as if they are walking into a singular installation. Trouve’s The Great Atlas of Disorientation presents almost like a puzzle - one that comes together the moment you stop trying to understand it. It does not come with an easily learnt lesson or a how-to guide. Instead, it invites and encourages the viewer’s patience and surrender in the kindest manner possible.

A closer look at Trouvé’s use of bleach | The Great Atlas of Disorientation | Tatiana Trouve | STIRworld
A closer look at Trouvé’s use of bleach Image: Bertrand Provost; Courtesy of the artist and Centre Pompidou

Trouvé was born in Southern Italy, but lived in Senegal from the age of seven until she was 15. She tells us, “It was important for me because it was an important age, the passage between childhood and adolescence. I learnt French and Wolof, a local language there, at the same time. This was an important heritage for me. It was also the culture of the storytellers, and the stories with which I grew up was really determinant in my sensibilities even years later”.

At the age of 17, she moved to Nice to study art, where she was inspired by the works of Alighiero Boetti, Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, and others. Eventually, she moved to the Netherlands, participating in Ateliers ‘63, and became close to conceptual artists such as Stanley Brouwn, Jan Dibbets and Toon Verhoef. After moving to Paris in 1995, she had to balance her work as an artist with casual jobs, such as monitoring rooms in museums, experiences which have found their way into her artistic expression.

A walk through the showcase with notes by the artist Video: Courtesy of the artist and Centre Pompidou

Trouvé recently worked with Centre Pompidou on publishing a catalogue raisonné of her drawings which was released in June 2022. The artist will be presenting a solo exhibition in Venice in 2025, and is currently also working on a public space commissioned by the Grand Paris. She is on track to publish a collection of her writings and interviews as well.

Trouvé currently lives and works in Paris. Her work has been exhibited at Migros Museum, Palais de Tokyo, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, among many other distinguished locations. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Paul Ricard Prize (2001), Marcel Duchamp Prize (2007), ACACIA Prize (2014), and Rosa Schapire Kunstpreis (2019).

The Great Atlas of Disorientation is currently on view, until August 22, 2022.

Tatiana Trouve | The Great Atlas of Disorientation | Tatiana Trouve | STIRworld
Tatiana Trouve Image: Baptiste Lignel; Courtesy of the artist and Centre Pompidou

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