Soft Power – Ludovic Sauvage

Soft Power

Ludovic Sauvage

Galerie Valeria Cetraro, Paris

29.01 – 26.02 2022


For Corporate Poetry, an exhibition of his work at La Villa du Parc, Ludovic Sauvage presented black monoliths with images printed on mirrors on the upper parts. This presentation amplified the evocative power of these representations taken from magazine advertising pages, their vague hope to create desire for the products they extol. But there their intentions were not clearly expressed, because in this installation there was no slogan, no text, no explanation to guide us towards any kind of purchase. Thus presented, in this environment as mysterious as fascinating, these images exhaled the dreams in which advertisers suffuse their products. The exhibition literally showed the corporate poetry, the poetry that sings
the praises of production.
Soft Power extends this intent to give substance to capitalist phantasmagorias. This time again, Ludovic Sauvage makes objects but, although some of them contain images, it is mainly their forms that evoke the imaginary of the office
life. Geometrical, many of them are decorated with slats that could be drawers, columns or blades. Meeting Point (Low), Meeting Point (Medium) and Meeting Point (High) are three rectangular parallelepipeds, hung at different heights. These
forms, off white with some parts framed in green and crossed by pink stripes, allude to different functions depending on their shape and arrangement. Some sculptures may look like a storage module, while others may evoke a radiator or a dispenser of some sort.
Ludovic Sauvage uses construction materials, wood, medium and extruded polystyrene, which he assembles in a precise and crude manner, creating 1:1 scale models or prototypes of objects. They wouldn’t be confused with those machines invented to develop the economy, to be more efficient or to optimize working conditions, but the language of these objects can be perceived in them. In this respect, they are images, since we can recognise things in them that they are not. They are representations of those accessories that are indispensable to productive offices, created to consume or to work more, or both at the same time.
Sauvage thus gives form to what capitalism is, not as an economic regime but as the roll out of an imaginary of cold and rational efficiency connected with the idealizations promised at the end of the production or consumption process.
Sauvage develops his sculptures starting from this double vocabulary. Evocations of rational devices, their titles on the contrary express personal and embodied daydreams. They mention postcards, meeting points, chats or private calls, associating these forms with moments of freedom not completely, or not yet, framed by profitability. These sculptures thus contain the whole paradox of the antagonism between what is personal and what is programmed. It can also be noticed in the only image shown by the artist in this exhibition. Originating from an architectural magazine he made a poster of it, which is hung, not coincidentally, in the gallery’s office. This image also represents shimmering and attractive surfaces that are known, however, to be traps combining pleasure with enslavement.
François Aubart