Corentin Canesson: Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil

January 28 – March 12, 2022

Corentin Canesson confronts the constructs and legacies of painting by reconsidering conventional modes of display, questioning the notion of singular authorship, and continually pressing upon the distinction between figuration and abstraction. Canesson’s paintings are often witty and ironic, evident in his choices of playful and wry subject matter such as anthropomorphized animals and passages of text culled from canonical works of art and popular culture. Music is also central to his practice and present throughout his collective work.

Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil is named for a poem written between 1919 and 1929 by the influential French surrealist poet Robert Desnos. Written with the kind of free associations that are characteristic of surrealist automatic writing, Desnos’ "Les espaces du sommeil" combines the sounds and sights of the night, of dreaming, with the constant refrain, “there you are... there you are.” In Sleep Spaces, the surrealist strategy of combining disparate and seemingly incongruous references, objects, and symbols becomes a curatorial conceit to construct new associations, achieved by combining historical and contemporary works of art.  Sleep Spaces positions the works of artists such as Willem de Kooning and Renée Levi, Ed Ruscha and Corentin Canesson, Joseph Beuys and Shirley Jaffe in productive dialogue within the context of the gallery. These groupings challenge us to consider how we interpret works of art and how curatorial choices aid in this process. Canesson’s site-responsive installation attempts to do just this, by fostering new modes of interpretation through surprising moments of connection. The exhibition also features an ambient soundtrack with music from Canesson’s experimental band, TNHCH.

With contributions by: Cande Aguilar, John James Audubon, Joseph Beuys, Corentin Canesson, Robert Desnos, Damien Le Dévédec, Jean-Pierre Dolveck, Joey Fauerso, Constance Forsyth, Hilary Galbreaith, Camille Girard and Paul Brunet, Lola Gonzàlez, Josquin Gouilly Frossard, Josselin Guillois, Jim Hamilton, Shirley Jaffe, Ana Jotta, Willem de Kooning, Pierre Leguillon, Renée Levi, Jean-François Maurige, The Missing Season, Joan Mitchell, Samir Mougas, Ester Partegàs, Emily Peacock, Mario Perez, Phillip Pyle, II, Juliette Roche, Ed Ruscha, Alisson Schmitt, Amy Sillman, Gertrude Stein, TNHCH, Anaïs Touchot, Achraf Touloub, Lise Traino, and Nicolas Weber Besora.

Corentin Canesson: Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil is organized by MacKenzie Stevens, director, with Devon Gerstenhaber, 2021–22 curatorial fellow, in collaboration with Corentin Canesson.

This exhibition is organized as part of the Frac Bretagne – Art Norac Award, a program created to promote the work of emerging artists from the Brittany region of France. The Art Norac Award is supported by Art Norac, an organization dedicated to the patronage of the arts.

Lead support for this exhibition is provided by Art Norac and Frac Bretagne.

Additional support provided by the French Embassy, Villa Albertine, the Institut Français, FACE Foundation, and Galerie Sator, Paris.



Corentin Canesson (b. 1988, Brest, France) lives and works in Paris and Brest, France. He received his DNSEP at École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne, Rennes (2011) and attended Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig (2010). He has had solo exhibitions at the Galerie Sator, Paris (2020); Gallery Nathalie Obadia, Paris (2018); Centre d’art Contemporain le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine (2017); Centre d’art Contemporain Passerelle, Brest (2015); amongst others. His work has also been in group exhibitions at Musée Zadkine, Paris (2021); Frac Bretagne, Rennes (2021); Art au Centre, Liége (2020); Frac Champagne-Ardenne, Reims (2019); Les Abattoirs de Toulouse (2017); and Jean Brolly Gallery, Paris (2020, 2016). Canesson received the Frac Bretagne-Art Norac Award (2021) and participated in the Ricard Prize sponsored by the Pernod Ricard Corporate foundation (2019). He co-directed Standards, Rennes (2008-2014) and is a curatorial resident at DOC!, Paris. He is a guitarist in the experimental band TNHCH.


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