Fanny GUÉRINEAU Zones of Happiness

28 | 12 | 17

Exhibition curator: Anthony LENOIR

28 December 2017 – 22 February 2018
Opening ceremony: 28 December from 5.30pm

Flaine Art Centre’s 2018 exhibition programme is kicking off with ‘Zones of Happiness’ by Fanny Guérineau.

In 2013, sculptor Fanny Guérineau opened her first ‘Zones of Happiness’. In these areas, materialised by a white circle on the floor, she collects answers from passers-by to questions such as: “What does culture mean to you?” or: “What does happiness mean to you?”. 

She records the answers and then presents them to the public. Sitting on a 3-metre-high umpire’s chair, she strives to communicate the words of others. The answers are diverse: they reinforce or contradict one another, provoke amusement or annoyance; force us to look at our diversity.

Invited to Flaine in December 2017, she is replacing her traditional white circle by a much bigger area: the ski resort and its snow-covered slopes. Winter brings many changes to the mountain environment; fields get covered in white gold, walkers turn into high-speed racing machines and the resort is infused with a controlled buzz.

People partake in winter sports for many reasons; to enjoy themselves, explore kinaesthetic sensations, cut loose or simply have a good time! There’s a whole set of words which describe the happiness that can be found through these different feelings.

It’s the same ‘happiness’ that is promoted by ski resorts everywhere –  advertising brochures invite us to come and speed down trails, travel agencies show us images of smiling, laughing faces… But is this what happiness actually means? In fact, what does happiness really mean to you?

This is the question that Fanny Guérineau has come to Flaine to ask. It is not an innocent question. The artist avoids triviality because, under the guise of a question about a universal theme – happiness or culture – she is forcing us to invest personally, to engage ourselves. Her encounters with people are never random, because simply by making contact she triggers a mechanism of openness and intimacy. Her question imposes a very personal response.

There is another element which incites people to provide a unique and personal answer; the colour of the tools used to gather the information. Fanny Guérineau discovered Pantone n°811 U – a fluorescent red – on a sample of materials back in 2012. It makes her interventions extremely visible. It was originally produced for road workers, so they could be seen in all conditions and, as such, can even be considered essential for human life (like happiness itself?). 

The questionnaire boxes, the leaflets, the presentation chair and even Fanny Guérineau’s clothes transform each of her enquiries into exceptional moments. Passers-by, visitors and skiers become invested with a mission to describe their immediate feelings. At the bottom of a ski run the feeling of happiness will be very different from that perceived when unloading the car. The only common factor which links all the responses that the artist gathers, is the question itself. From uniqueness, diversity is born.
Anthony LENOIR, December 2017

So, what does happiness mean to you?

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