What is the biker made of? What’s behind the helmet’s visor or under the leather suit? Florent Lamouroux plays with formal stereotypes, looking for the meaning of life.
When we put on our jacket, helmet and gloves, we slip into the mold of a particular character, ready to conform to social codes: the traffic rules, the specific traditions (the hand or foot greeting). What part of us therefore succumb to the constraints of this mold? From a distance, all the figures are alike, all silhouettes look identical, smooth and standard. However, when you come close enough to touch the material and its roughness, when you play with it, move it and take control, it begins to be part of your story, it appears different to you only. Subtly, the game allows to reclaim the true identity of the person hidden under the plastic shell.
The Motorcycle Boy takes his helmet off, put down the mask, and meets Florent Lamouroux to discuss the meaning of life.
Motorcycle Boy: For passionate bikers and art lovers curious to know more about you, what would you say?
Florent Lamouroux: I’m a person who loves the world in its diversity… so the bikers/art lovers as well!
Is The Motorcyclist a particular figure in your series “The meaning of life?”
“The meaning of life” is a reflection on the relationship between poses/clothes/tools, about what defines us and sometimes reduces us to a function, a role, an activity.
As a child, I used to play with a plastic friction motorcycle toy and its rider. The biker was red and crudely made. You could remove him from the bike but he kept his sitting posture, hands turned so to grab the handlebars and feet inclined to touch the gear lever. One day, I lost the bike. I just kept the biker model, even if its posture could not be adapted to other games. Later, I thought this toy inability to adapt to other contexts, because of its function, was an interesting representation.
As I usually do, I then copied this human-sized figurine by molding plastic sheets on my own body.
The artwork, consisting of 3 copies, can be interpreted as a metaphor for our relationship with work: If our function is taken away from us, what purpose do we serve? What is the “meaning of life”?
I liked the idea of a base-free sculpture, that could stand alone and being carelessly left somewhere, sometimes in an awkward position, making the interpretation different each time.
With “Homomoto”, is the motion ability given to the machine only, confiscated from the rider who nevertheless endures it?
Marcel Duchamp, artist and (mono)cycle lover, was saying: “It is the viewer who makes the picture”.
My first intention was not necessarily about motion. I raher wanted to emphasize the posture of a motorcycle rider on his bike… a kind of combination… this proximity both vital and sensual, almost an extension of the rider, an indivisible whole. So I set out to create a man-motorcycle sculpture… or a humanoid bike.
With plastic bags and metallic tape, I made a cast of a Kawasaki KRS1 fairing, then, in the same way, of my own body in a posture inspired by the bike’s mechanical attributes (fork and mufflers). I then nested this body under the fairing which became like a new skin… the body of man became mechanical. Hence the title: “Homomoto”!
Created for your personal exhibition “Revêtements” at l’Angle in La Roche Sur Foron, “Burn” is an installation made with a transparent adhesive tape, printed with a barbed wire pattern. What is the meaning of it?
A kind of race appears on the floor and walls… there is an analogy between the tyre and the tape roll, but also between the tyre mark pattern and the barbed wire pattern, so that the suggested bike path draws the boundaries of a blank space. It’s a bit like making your own ski path in the snow: freedom to create spaces…
The bike as a symbol. What does it represent for you?
The bike as a sensation. What does it evoke to you?
I think it depends on the bike… power and speed, I presume, with big engines… and freedom in all cases…
What are your favorite references in the motorcycle culture?
I was born in 80 and grew up with the TV… I necessarily have a thing for motorcycles in the series and cartoons like Judoboy, X-Or, Cobra or Akira… with their red motorcycle (or sidecar) rushing or flying! Chips for the funky west coast spirit, cruising on the Californian roads!
What is your personal connection to the bike?
A summer ride in the countryside, riding pillion on a 125 custom… I was 7 or 8 years old.
In a world without engines, what would be your vehicle?
Two wings on my back!
Thank you, Florent Lamouroux!
Not to be missed: Florent Lamouroux’s website.