Paul Paillet

Paul Paillet, Surprise/Innocence, animation video, 7′24′′, music, 2023

Paul Paillet’s work composes the fragmented narrative of an intimate history immersed in a collective history, combining references to both pop culture and the underground culture of the 1990s-2000s.

Surprise/Innocence by Paul Paillet is an animation video-clip based on a series of drawings. Before proceeding to a personal technique of collage, Paillet marouflages his paper in a mould, giving it a slight embossed effect. The glue he uses is tinted with natural pigments. As it dries, the paper detaches itself from the mould, impregnated with colours which are often bright and zingy. This process reveals a final drawing with an aqueous appearance on the paper surface.

Paul Paillet used this same methode to create the scenery of Surprise/Innocence, a succession of hills against backdrop of a sunset and more or less enigmatic architectures, from which a character suddenly emerges, crudely sticking out his tongue, in a dance which is both hypnotic and clumsy. Reminiscent of vertical smartphone screens, the animation loops to a Hardtek soundtrack coupled with the voices of the K-pop group BTS. They are actually reading excerpts from Hermann Hesse’s novel Demian. Die Geschichte einer Jugend (1919), an ironic cross between the alternative spirit of the 1960s and the South Korean interplanetary boy band.

Paul Paillet (1986, Dijon) lives and works in Geneva. His work has been presented in various solo exhibitions, including Fantasy at the Salle Crosnier, Geneva (2022); Fascination for fire at the Centre d’édition contemporaine, Geneva (2020). He has also taken part in numerous group exhibitions: Sublime Rage at French Place, London (2022) ; Atmosphères at la Pace Gallery, New York (2021).

BTS, WINGS, Shortfilm #1, Begin

The realms of day and night, two different worlds coming from two opposite poles, mingle during this time.

BTS, WINGS, Short Film #2 LIE, 2016

My parents’ house made a realm. This realm was familiar to me in almost every way, mother and father, love and strictness, model behaviour and school.

BTS, WINGS, Short Film #3 STIGMA, 2016

It was the first fissure in the columns that had upheld my childhood which every individual must destroy before he can become himself.  Such fissures and brands grow together again, heal, and are forgotten, but in the most secret recesses they continue to live and bleed.

BTS, WINGS, Short Film #4 FIRST LOVE, 2016

There are enormous ways which god can make us lonely and lead us back to ourself. This was the way he sealed with me at that time.

BTS, WINGS, Short Film #5 REFLECTION, 2016

The other realm, however, overlapping half our house was completely different. A loud mixture of horrendous, intriguing, frightful, mysterious things, including slaughterhouses and prisons, drunkards, scratching fishwives, calving cows, horses sinking to their death, tales of robberies, murder and suicide.

BTS, WINGS, “Boy Meets Evil”, Comeback Trailer, 2016

My sin was not specifically this or that, but consisted of having shaking hands with the devil. The devil held me in his clutches, the enemy was behind me.

BTS, WINGS, Short Film #7 AWAKE, 2016

The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who had been born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas.

BTS, WINGS, “Blood, Sweat & Tears”, 2016

He too was a tempter. He too was a link to the second, the evil world with which I no longer wanted to have anything to do.

This project is sponsored by the Federal Office of Culture and the Republic and the Canton of Geneva.