Born in 1959 in (Belgium)
Lives and works in Paris (France ) and in Paris (Belgium )
Liste expositions


Born in 1959 in Knokke, Belgium, Patrick Corillon lives and works in Paris and Liege. Dissatisfied with his training at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Liege, he abandoned his studies in visual arts and opted for travel and direct contact with the art world.

From the outset, he based his work on a delicate balance between sculpture and story, fiction and site-specific installation, austerity of form and eccentricity of references. His approach is inspired by the scientific model of the graft or the transplant. By removing bits of reality in order to match them to one or several narratives, he has distinguished himself in the art of illusion and manipulation.


In 1986 Corillon organised an exhibition for La Châtaigneraie, the contemporary art centre of the French-speaking community in Liege, which he entitled “Que reste-t-il d'un artiste dont les oeuvres auraient été détruites, voles ou achetées ?” [What's left of an artist whose works have been destroyed, stolen or purchased ?] The objects he exhibited were not his own; rather, he presented what invited artists such as Jacques Lizène or Jacques-Louis Nyst had stored in their cellars, attics or studios: from their earliest drawings to the stains and tears of their work clothes but also their sketches, models and rough drafts of uncompleted projects. In this way, Corillon was tracking down all the involuntary, parasitical traces likely to become 'image' in the mental and poetic sense.


He next developed a series of commemorative plaques which began with the phrase, 'It may be here that . . . '. This ambulatory approach served to evoke the relationship between history and the site where it is read by directly addressing memories and the imagination.


In subsequent works, Corillon increased the role of fiction by creating characters who evolved from one exhibit to another and thus allowed him to deal with the tenuous relationship which fiction can maintain with reality. Thus, in 1988 he created the character Oskar Serti, a Hungarian writer who was born in 1881 and died on his birthday in 1959. Each exhibit became an opportunity to reveal an isolated moment in Serti's life and those of the people around him. The same story was often told from several points of view, as certain devices discreetly indicated to the public.


Assuming the roles of imaginary biographer, reporter or meticulous archivist, Corillon created a chronicle of insignificant or even accidental events in the lives of these characters through an interplay of official plaques, installations, catalogues and, on occasion, commemorative objects. He presented, for example, Serti's correspondence with his friends or scribblings during telephone conversations with his ex-girlfriend, Catherine de Sélys. Not knowing whether what was exhibited was fantasy or documentary and persuaded by the official, scholarly language of the presentation, the viewer was thus caught in the artist's traps.


Corillon has also designed “Reading Machines”: the oblomons, the trotteuses and the spinocubes. These machines, presented at the Biennale of Sydney in 2002, make viewers go round in circles in order to discover images and texts or transform them into “story-carriers” in the literal sense of the term. In every case, the aim is to make readers as receptive as possible to the text.


He subsequently pursued his reflection on the genesis of a story with two animated films, entitled “The Keyboard of Dreams”, episodes 1 and 2. These films, which have a computer mouse and the numbers of a keyboard as their heroes, draw viewers into the land where the stories are written. Here, Corillon makes use of classic plot twists of stories and, as is the case for all characters in search of an absolute, the hardships to be faced give his heroes the opportunity to discover themselves.


In his photographic work, Corillon attempts to show that perceiving a photograph does not always mean perceiving an image, thus illustrating the distance which can separate the image from what it is supposed to represent. In the Timsi Copies (2003), presented at the Beaux-Arts in Tours for the “Images au Centre” festival, Corillon showed copper sheets made from original paper prints which represent a precise moment without revealing anything of a reality which has been photographed. These copies of images are in fact buried in the very medium which has received them. The image is always there but vanished, out of sight. Poetic captions such as “a dance around the fire” or “a group of lions at siesta time”, bring fiction into play to solicit the viewer's imagination.


Laetitia Rouiller