Claire Fontaine

Claire Fontaine lives in Paris. Her “assistants” are Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill, an Italian-British artist duo. With a readymade name—taken from a popular brand of French stationery—Claire Fontaine also describes herself as a readymade artist who finds herself working within the context of a politically impotent contemporary society. As her assistants, Carnevale and Thornhill make her objects, paintings, neons, videos, and, in the case of this interview, answer questions about her work. Written texts are also at the core of her work and accompany each exhibition.

Exhausted by the ruins of authorship, of political activism, of the May ’68 rebellion in Paris, and of strategies of opposition, Claire Fontaine prefers what she calls the “human strike,” a subjectivity that gets rid of itself, a whatever singularity. By exemplifying readymade and stereotypical identities imposed by social or cultural superstructures, she becomes an empty vessel. Despite her state of exhaustion, Claire Fontaine creates an art that seeks to transform political crisis into subjective emancipation. She understands that making art can’t oppose or rebel or subvert the political condition of late capitalism, so she presents herself as an artist on strike, a readymade subjectivity, a hole in the landscape through which a revolution might creep, arriving from elsewhere.