Happy Birthday Reno 105, 2018, acrylic, spray paint, pins, found images, and textile bows on board.
My first encounter with Angelique Heidler’s work was seeing it mounted aboard an A380 aircraft as it made its way across the Atlantic from Mexico City to Paris, as part of a group exhibition by Chez Mohamed. So much of Heidler’s work feels as though it’s at its own altitude. Attention-seeking palettes are a conduit for recounting bewildering tales. Advertisements from a magazine’s back-page erotic advertisements, dried flowers, and stickers are the sorts of repurposed materials that find their way into her compositions. Engaging the pop cultural zeitgeist, farcical narratives, and divergent forms of femininity, Heidler’s work serves us a painterly mille-feuille brimming with dense, figurative layers. See Angelique Heidler’s current exhibition On ne Sait Plus Quoi Penser du Serpent Qui a Peur at Gallerie L’Inlassable, Paris.
Your work seems to have its own logic to how shapes confront each other. How do you think about the geometry in your work?
It is true that I use a palette of shapes, but it’s always developing. They are more of an automatic writing than a logic. I am in constant search for new painting identities, more or less complex/elaborate. What I am trying to say is that it is all very intuitive.
These evil women, EVE’s about to drop a new track, 2016, acrylic, spray paint, fabric and found computer mouse pad on canvas.
You sometimes insert found images and other small paper fragments into your pieces—how did this begin?
Oh, it began out of laziness! Generally, when I have a vision of what is going to stand on the painting, I print an element that [will] take too much time to paint or draw (for more immediacy), and stick it on my canvas. Either I enjoy it as is, or I’m scared I’ll ruin the background if I try to reproduce it, so I glue it. It’s become a habit now. I have many printed pictures hanging around in my studio, as well as postcards, stickers, children drawings, book illustrations, flyers, etc. Whenever I feel empty I dig through until finding something that suits what I am working on.
How does living in Paris influence your practice?
I’m not sure if it’s the city of Paris or my people here; my best friends, my boyfriend, my family. I don’t know if that influences my practice, but it makes me feel supported. Paris is a city where people are genuine, not always in a good way. Parisians often say what they think with no shame, and this has always had an impact on me, therefore, on my paintings. Being direct, almost aggressive, has always been in our veins!
Your work has been presented in several contexts outside of the traditional gallery spaces, including a flying aircraft travelling from Mexico to Paris and a vacant room inside of a commercial garage. What are your thoughts on off-site or DIY exhibitions in general, and in what exhibition context do you feel your work is the happiest?
I think at first DIY shows were statements, innovative concepts to face the white cube standard. Nowadays it’s became more of a necessity for young artists and curators; regular gallery spaces are overpriced and what’s left affordable or free are hairdressers, garages, parks, private apartments, etc. I love these kind of shows, when the originality of the exhibition space is not the main piece of the show and when the people involved don’t brag about how they are breaking new ground by doing their show there. I reckon my work is the happiest in a classic gallery space. To me, paintings are like their makers, they seek attention and light!
Allégorie de la Retraite, 2017, acrylic, spray paint, kid blanket fabric, found object, pins, enamel ceramics on wood, white board and cork panel.
Paris XVI Boulbi, 2018, acrylic, oil and found image on canvas, artist frame.
Who is the nice fellow in your painting Paris XV III?
Haha! I love him, so much! He is a Poulbot. The name is taken from it’s creator Francisque Poulbot who invented this character that represents a street kid, a little naughty, a little cute, called a “Titi Parisien.” He takes a piss in the river Seine but gives flowers bouquets to his girlfriend on the hill of Montmartre. I like how paradoxical this boy is, drawn as a child but acting as a grown up.
Are you often painting with different characters, like the Poulbot, in mind?
There are many characters you can find in my paintings, but I don’t start working with one of them in mind. Their addition to my compositions happens randomly; mostly it comes from a line I drew that shapes it or a picture I glue on. If a figure appears on one of my paintings, I will systematically come up with a story about it, give it life. They are like novel characters, or extras in a movie. Here is a list of some characters in my paintings: a duck watching porn, a sad fellow carrying Jesus in Pontormo’s _The Deposition of the Cross_, a horse shot by arrows, a small horrible dog barking and about to bite Marine Le Pen, some guy lying under a palm tree during his first week of retirement, Zelda, a scary duck showing his butt, Ronald McDonald getting a blowjob, my boyfriend, two silly birds, my cat Gina Lollobrigida, a caricatured and stereotyped Parisian, the wife or daughter of a stranger.
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