16/11/2019 - 26/1/2019
Sweet Waste by Claude Estèbe
Since his debut show “Tukata, Post industrial Venus” in 2011 in Bangkok, the Toot Yung Art Center has been the proud representative of the unique works of French photographer Claude Estèbe. Estèbe’s acute vision of our contemporary societies has continuously shaken the Bangkok and international art scene. His signature photographs are a subtle mix of kawaii and fierce social critique, mixing mass-produced cheap artefacts, scholarly references, extreme close ups and sophisticated lighting. His 2012 exhibition “Choking Hazard” showed ironic depictions of modern canons of femininity mirrored until absurdity in fashion dolls. In 2013, “Radium Girls”, was a personal rendition of the ambivalent fascination for atomic energy in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. “Pachimon” (2015) explored the border between original and copies in derivative toys from the Japanese Kaijū eiga universe of monsters and giant robots. Estèbe also explored the edges of otaku culture in “H Dolls” (2017) using Akihabara figures with moe aesthetic, exhibited in Tokyo (DecabarZ) and Bangkok (Black Pagoda), or in “Sweet Waste” (Bangkok, 2018) using Japanese and Chinese life-size love-dolls. He is currently working on social issues like junk food and ecology with his new series “Ultranature”. Estèbe, expert in Japanese visual culture, uses subculture artefacts and visual codes to reverse corporate propaganda with a warped sense of humour.
By enhancing the defects and imperfections of mass produced plastic objects, he transmutes them into striking figures, archetypal objects, modern tribal gods or mythological heroes lost in time. For this retrospective show the Toot Yung Art Centre will present highlights of his past exhibitions including works from “Radium Girls”, “Agent Orange”, “Pachimon” or “H dolls” as well as new works engaging with global warming themes. On this occasion a complete catalogue of Claude Estèbe’s career will be launched, with more than one hundred works reproduced on high quality paper. The book, edited by Myrtille Tibayrenc, includes essays by eminent scholars like Michel Poivert, historian of photography at the Sorbonne, critic and curator or Agnès Giard, anthropologist, writer and journalist, specialized in issues of sexuality and Japanese subculture.