Olivier Castel

Dalston Superstore, London, 2011; solo exhibition presented under the name Edwy Plenel.
  Press release: 
"An exhibition for a bar in winter. The walls are made of images. There is no roof, snow falls. The floor is water, a whale dives in. The plug hole is in a coffee cup."
    At the start of a new year (and the close of an old one) Dalston Superstore presents a new exhibition: Variety by Edwy Plenel. A series of roller blinds are lowered, like a theatrical backdrop, to present a surreal environment where continuous snowfall has filled the bar with water, and the shadow of a whale's tail can be glimpsed as it dives down to the depths below. Plenel imagines the space as a fluctuating volume defined by the continuous flow of water, which fills it up, and flows out through plug holes stencilled on the surface of the cappuccinos served at the bar…
    The image of the facade of a shop on the exhibition flyer is taken from a book by Henri Guilac published in 1925, which showed the titles of French novels depicted as shop fronts. Each author appears as a shop-keeper, and his or her goods are indicated by the title – Ecoute s'il Pleut by Alexandre Arnoux is an umbrella shop, Morte la Bête by Henri Duvernois a butcher and Variété by Paul Valery, from which this exhibition takes its title, has a small selection of costume jewellery and accessories. When the bar is closed the metal roller shutter is pulled down to reveal several of these images pasted onto its surface like scattered playing cards.
    The other side of the flyer is painted with a strip of red phosphorus (a surface to strike matches on). It acts as a kind of flattened match box: the two-dimensional version of a simple three-dimensional form. The function of the matchbox is taken away, and the flyer is given a new one. Another work, an oyster shell attached to the extractor pipe at the ceiling, conceals a contact speaker which causes the hollow metal to resonate with the sound of whale song. The works in this exhibition occupy the surface, like paper facades – they at once conceal, and suggest, a volume within.