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A bachelor's life; An award-winning French artist based INWALES, Pascal-Michel Dubois, has created an enigmatic, witty and imaginative exhibition about life as a single man. Here he outlines some of the key elements that inspired the show.

VISITORS to Swansea's Elysium Gallery are invited to share the experience of the French "garconniere" - or bachelor pad - through Pascal-Michel Dubois' imaginative, playful and evocative installation.

The show incorporates diverse elements including video, poetry, photography, drawing and surreal arrangements of found objects, all of which relate to Dubois' experience of living alone in a small room as a young man.

A French artist who moved to the UK 23 years ago, Dubois has lived in South Wales since 2006. He was artist in residence at the Wales Pavilion for the 2007 Biennale of Venice and in 2011 received the Welsh Artist of the Year Printmaking Prize.

He regularly exhibits his work internationally and aims to tap into a universal experience with his latest show. "I hope people will be intrigued but also find familiar things: most people have at some time been living in a small space, a lonely little room," he says.

So what will visitors find? Here are five things to look out for...

The reconstructed bachelor apartment "I've constructed my own bachelor apartment within the gallery," says Dubois. "It is furnished and decorated with personal possessions, specific artworks and found objects gathered locally."

And among them are images and objects that might have been on show in his apartment at the time, notably a delightfully nostalgic image of himself and a friend sitting on the bonnet of a car.

He hopes a narrative will emerge from this semi-fictional place, and that the objects will not only evoke his own personal memories and experiences but also spark similar memories in the viewer.

"It will create a special atmosphere, a distinctive platform where my personal memories and experiences will catalyse the viewer to explore our collective knowledge," he says.

Film references The show includes wry references to Bill Wilder's famous 1960s movie The Apartment, which starred Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine.

Dubois has picked the film because the central character lives, as he once did, in a tiny bachelor pad.

Dubois has recreated tiny details from the film, and has even gone as far as adding a tennis racket strewn with spaghetti in reference to a famous scene from the movie in which Lemmon's character, lacking a colander, uses a tennis racket to strain spaghetti.

In another reference to the famous pasta-straining scene, he has included old video footage of himself cooking pasta on in his bachelor apartment.

"There is a bit of melancholia to seeing this poor thing with nothing but pasta to eat," laughs Dubois.

"What interests me most in this project is the relation between art and everyday life. It is what drives me."

Besides video footage of himself in his bachelor pad, the show also includes stills of his former bachelor pad, in a deliberate echo of the life evoked in The Apartment.

Poetry Drawings of Dubois' room from his garconniere days were originally used as illustrations for A Short History of Decay by Romanian poet Emil Michel Cioran.

The same poem appears in the show, written into a wheel of fortune in French, Welsh and English - the languages an echo of Dubois' itinerant life.

"To read it you have to be fluent in all three languages. As far as I know it's the first time it's been translated into Welsh," says Dubois.

References to Marcel Duchamp The concept for Dubois' exhibition is rooted in the word 'garconniere', and when researching ideas for the show he noticed that in the French dictionary, the word "garconniere" is listed just before (literally "avant") the word "garde".

"This little play with words is the initial scaffold that supports my project," he says. "From that simple fact, I started thinking of "garconniere" in relation with the artistic Avant-Garde movement and the "Bachelor Machine" in artist Marcel Duchamp's masterpiece, the Large Glass."

Dubois has included references to this in the form of several enigmatic drawings.

Home-made posters Dubois' installation, Ange, features a black and white poster and electric fan: the fan blows air toward the unpinned lower right hand side corner of the poster, making it flip gently after each oscillation.

"The piece is referring to the use of posters and reproduction prints as a cheap way of decorating a place and displaying your choices in life, your taste, your ideal, your vision of the world," he says.

"The idea of 'flipping' the corner of the poster is borrowed from a small sequence in another wellknown movie, We Need to Talk About Kevin - it's another film about a claustrophobic situation."

The show runs at elysiumgal-lery, College Street, Swansea from today until October 3
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 11, 2015
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