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Just this once, the Lindre-Basse residency is welcoming a collective of graphic designers which defines itself as “a political, utopian, demanding communication workshop”. This sets the tone for a practice that asserts a very committed work ethic.
If they take pleasure in the commission game, working for associations, public authorities and activist collectives, they use the imposed framework to give free rein to graphic design that is lyrical and expressive, with a style that is joyously unbridled and devilishly subjective.
Mixing high culture and popular culture, technical mastery and improvisation effects, freehand and computer-assisted work, collages and superimpositions, Formes Vives also have a strong relationship with writing. Texts which they write themselves enable voices to be heard, like so many manifestos and slogans that resolutely elude the logic of political or promotional marketing.
Formes Vives could be seen as the distant successors of the Dada or Situationist movements when their working method recalls surrealism’s exquisite corpse: one person starts, another finishes and yet another intervenes after the fact, without any play of egos trumping the collective dynamic.
Whether they create posters, books, newspapers or signs, every medium enables them to make the best of what is most essential in a public space, that is to say the space of sharing, open discussion and free speech where it is still possible to do society. In parallel with their residency in Lindre-Basse, they have designed signage for Bataville, as well as carts and costumes for the Saint-Claude carnival in Jura. These are two examples of the broad territory they are liable to explore, using the tools of art and graphic design to create poetic situations and give individuals the ability to reclaim public space.
For the open studio event, Formes Vives are presenting a choral installation in the form of a makeshift camp, mixing digital prints, paintings, silkscreen hangings, sound compositions and written works. The studio is being temporarily turned into a total work of art, full of contemporary relics of ancestral myths, like ancient Bacchanalia, secretly celebrated by communities of women, moments of celebration, drunkenness and absolute licentiousness allowing subterranean, nocturnal and magical forces to momentarily overthrow the established political and social order.
The artist residency programme is organised by the Synagogue de Delme contemporary art centre, in collaboration with the Lorraine Regional Natural Park and the commune of Lindre-Basse.
Made up of Adrien Zammit, Nicolas Filloque and Geoffroy Pithon, Formes Vives began in 2008 in the form of a magazine designed by Adrien Zammit and Nicolas Filloque, who were then students at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The publishing project gradually changed in the course of commissions, projects and meetings. Geoffroy Pithon, a 2012 graduate of the same school, joined the collective in 2011. They live in Brest, Strasbourg and Nantes.
They have collaborated with SCOP Le Pavé, ENSA Limoges, the magazine Article 11, Théâtre du Grain in Brest, and others.