The Rule of cool

    • 📅05.10.2013

    The Rule of Cool marks a new phase in Nicolas Boulard’s artistic approach. Emancipating himself from his previous research, in which he linked the codes of artistic creation to those of winemaking, the artist presents a new set of works, adding another layer to his discourse.

    Nicolas Boulard extracts the title of his exhibition from a principle called “The Rule of Cool,” which drives the creators of cinematographic fictions and video games alike, and is in keeping with the 19th century English poet S.T. Coleridge’s “suspension of disbelief” concept. This concept highlights the ability of a reader, a player, or a viewer to tolerate any irrational fact in order to remain with the fiction in progress. The more the fiction is “cool” the more the spectator is able to embrace the implausible. The question then remains to define “cool”: does it have to do with novelty, distinction, a form, a way of life and thinking—is it shifting ?

    Adopting “The Rule of Cool” expression for his current exhibition at the Clamart Art Center, Nicolas Boulard investigates suspensions of disbelief in our everyday lives. Those phenomena calling upon the power of the imagination while intervening in reality summon utopia, candor, occult beliefs, extraterrestrial presences, and sometimes even inconsequence. 

    In this vein, Nicolas Boulard has investigated the utopias generated by the technical progress at the beginning of the 20th century, the modernization of wine growing, and the supernatural beliefs and legends of those times. These investigations have nourished the artist’s recent research. With similar ease and objectivity, the artist seizes History the same way he does an anecdote. His acts of reappropriation entail trials, physical and athletic performances, and approaches that mix scientific analysis with subversion, sometimes even putting the artist in danger. Each field of research leads to projects where video, drawing, and installation come together with experimental and performative forms.

    Nicolas Boulard invites us to discover a repertoire of potential imprints left around the world by flying saucers, to follow him during his free-fall experiments over the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, to reproduce to scale one of the first flying machines that fortunately never took off, and to enlarge the pendulum of the radiesthesist in order to reveal its sculptural aspects. In this exhibition, Nicolas Boulard wants us to explore the unknown and the unspeakable on a journey to the land of that which eludes reason, a place where the rational only operates to reveal the irrational. The exhibition will be extended by the third chapter of Nicolas Boulard’s Specific Cheeses brotherhood on Saturday, November 16th, and a conference on extraterrestrial art by Christophe Kihm on Sunday, December 15th.


    Madeleine Mathé

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    Nicolas Boulard



    Nicolas Boulard

    Extraterrestrial art

    Christophe Kihm
    Biography of Nicolas Boulard

    Nicolas Boulard was born in Reims in 1976. He lives and works in Clamart. A graduate of the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg in 2002, Nicolas Boulard pursues an artistic approach that combines historical references to modern and post-modern art with his personal background of growing up in a family of champagne producers.

    “From the soil, Nicolas Boulard finds the sources of his artistic work, which generally deals with the mutation of matter and the resurgence of forms. […] After producing a series of works exploring and diverting, through chemical transformations, the rules, processes and know-how that govern the wine industry, since 2010 he has been working on a veritable aesthetic revolution in the realm of cheese. The origin of this latest concern is the finding of a formal proximity between the forms of cheeses and the forms of minimal art, supported by the artist’s lecture which inaugurates the Specific Cheeses project. From these “cultural products”, the artist accomplishes the fusion by creating a set of cheeses, with forms borrowed from Sol Lewitt’s 12 Forms Derived from a Cube (1982), made according to the rules of art by the manufacturers of Brie de Meaux, Chavignol, etc. Taking a resolutely performative turn, this project is accompanied by the creation of the Brotherhood of Specific Cheeses, a community of chosen members in costume, brought to defend these cheese creations, within and beyond the artistic territory. 

    […] Nicolas Boulard’s artistic practice is thus made of crossroads where the formal preoccupation engenders endless digressions, sliding from one disciplinary field to another and acting as a revelation of the tenuous links that unite them.”

    Hanna Alkema