Guillaume Airiaud’s wide-ranging artistic craft – installations, sculpture, painting, marquetry, video and drawing – restates the importance of an intimate storytelling.

He approaches his work with a playful and sometimes mocking take on common symbolism and the belief in a rational order of things, setting forth new meanings by explicitly opposing the technique of perspective with the unmasking truth of its illusion.
Through his ability to create a fictional space where mathematical proportions apparently reign, he builds a direct contact with the viewer that feels compelled to fill with personal imagination that illusion of formal perfection. The grid of sharp lines provides enough space for research and questioning, and thus the freedom of interpretation.
Indeed, Airiaud explores the uncertainty of human perception not only in spatial terms but also in narrative ones, by building an aesthetic of fiction: in all his works, he emphasizes the arbitrary nature of the human mind that valorizes to an extreme degree a fictive beginning-and-end structure of time; thus, he encourages his viewer to use memory, imagination and feelings instead of a rational eye to view his stories, which are never precise, and therefore almost games.

In his images, which are rather theatrical stages, every element is meticulously chosen, among which the seemingly ornamental constituents are there to give a dream-like atmosphere.
In his work titled “ Epic ” (2007) Airiaud presents a giant rocking horse with a cow skull as the head and a canvas of a tropical island as the background with the intention to build a world in which contrasting symbols are used to established thoroughly new ones—on the one hand the child like object, on the other, an image of death, while as background the common imaginary of a constantly dreamed vacation, cast fundamental questions to human existence but also give a new light to their physical being, i.e. the object itself, as if the rocking dead cow was now mysterious relic of human imagination transformed in a collector’s item with an independent taxonomy.
For Airiaud, the cow-horse functions as both game and ambiguity, visually seducing the viewer into the work while providing a joyful setting that objectifies his symbols. This aspect of foregrounding the material presence of his work is a direct consequence of his love for objects, which also influences his choice of producing everything independently.
As Airiaud says, “ different techniques make different narratives ”, that’s why in the two marquetries he has created, the epic is replaced by an implied mystical motif to create almost religious icons, yet we can never grasp the references because they are personal: the use of cold geometry, everyday objects like a table and a candle stick are juxtaposed to a gloved arm with an undefined object in its hands and golden rays.

That implied mystical motif becomes explicit in “ Cycle ” (2010), a video installation with an archetypal figure of a fascinating torero set in a four-meter large ring-shaped cloth with pins.
Here Airiaud uses some stills from Rossellini’s Germania Anno Zero, in which Berlin was razed to
the ground, to focus on subject matters such as destruction, rebirth and subsequent feeling of giddiness and the need for creation.

Furthermore, the more metaphysical work “ Playground ” (2010) – a mixed-media that combines drawing, sculpture and collage – again highlights the fiction of perspective this time by showing the narrator of the work, represented by a self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer while painting, and its internal character, a small figure in the midst of the bigger structures.
This reproduces the relationship between the artist and his viewer, making the very act of perception uncanny because of its foregrounding.

Airiaud’s orientation toward practical and material interests is characteristic of many born storytellers. His artwork is a finished product that displays meanings and reifies new ones. His passion for handcraft is further demonstrated in his collaborations in fashion.
For Giuseppe Virgone’s 2009 fashion show, Airiaud realized the stage design and produced eight masks. The masks, evoking primordial creatures, were produced as jewels made of brass and organic elements, such as fish teeth, bones and feathers. The masks were also used as central accessories in several photo-shoots. The photos were also included in Vice Magazine and in portfolios of different photographers.

Guillaume Airiaud was born in Nantes, France and currently lives and works in Berlin. He has studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nantes and at Free University in Berlin. Selected recent shows include: solo show “ Epic ” at Arial Project, Berlin; group show “ N°13 ” at Tape Modern, Berlin; group show “ Studio 54 & Guests ” at The Forgotten Bar, Berlin. Collaborations with other artists include the 2009 group show “ Surrender Dorothy ” organized by Philippe Comtesse, in which he produced a wooden shrine with many references to the iconic movie The Wizard of OZ.

For his 2011 solo show at Rise Gallery, Airiaud is preparing a very large curtain, mixing silk-screen print patterns with embroideries, a custom-made limited edition compendium of essays and prints, and finally a video installation.