Théo Bignon (MFA 2020)
Who decides what is excessive? This question drives my work, and I explore the ways in which ornamentation and desires go beyond mere usefulness or the supposed natural way things are and provide an insight on identity formation. My references include French Rococo, fetishistic attachments to certain garments (such as underwear, the jockstrap, or the tank top), gendered traditions of needlework and embroidery, and forms of adornment and comportment seen as excessive, deviant, artificial, or queer. I draw on these traditions in making sculptures, embroideries, and build environment that speak to practices of desire, of cruising, and of needless decoration. My concern is with the ways in which homosexuality and queer desires trouble the idea of the natural and are insulted as being unnatural, excessive, and inappropriate. Rather I embrace the erotic possibilities of the everyday object, the outmoded decorative element, and the garments we wear. For me, this is a way to ask how queer identities dynamically constitute their own narratives by adapting elements from the dominant culture and using them to their own ends. The materials I use are rooted in long histories of power structures, gender identities and sexual implications; they also have abilities to record individual existences, as well as being connected to my personal affinities and identity. Men’s undergarments, mesh fabric, bits of sportswear garments, pearls and costume jewelry, elements of architecture and interior decor are pieced together and recreated in my work in the same manner as my own constitution: haphazard with an attention to detail.