Vue de l'atelier de Maude Arès
Maude Arès, Vue d'atelier, 2021. Crédit photo: ENE / Jean-Sébastien Veilleux photographe.

Maude Arès

Artist / Summer 2021


by Marie-Pier Bocquet

What would have changed if we had considered that the first tool wasn’t a sharpened stone for cutting but a basket for gathering things?

In the studio, the sound of dripping water, the quivering of a piece of paper, the undulation of light fabric moved by the air, and the steps of Maude Arès moving from one installation to another break the silence. She carries a bowl of water, which she pours out, here and there, into basins and hanging baskets around which sway objects that are tied to one another.

These objects are small and strange, made mostly from fauna, flora, or minerals. Some are fragile or light as a feather, a butterfly wing; others seem to be trash or debris – dirty, patched together. Still others float in water puddles, decomposing, like fruit peel or bits of foam. Yet, when Arès crouches to show them or take them between her fingers, they become unique, special, important. She stores them, orders them, conserves them in trunks with compartments. Each one has a place within this collection, which constitutes the raw material of the work, constantly enhanced with new discoveries that update her presentations.

All of these things are placed in tension in installations in which gravity, wind, water movement, the passage of visitors, and direct interventions activate, disturb, unmake and remake new iterations. Even when everything is still, we feel something like a creative force emanating from the things themselves, which seem to have their own life. Perhaps this has to do with their history, perceptible in the noises, the gaps, and the wear that let us imagine both their previous uses and their possible futures. Perhaps it also has to do with their close relationship with Arès’s body as she interacts with them, day after day, following tests and errors, formal encounters among the materials, and transformations dictated by the intrinsic balance of the compositions. The materials that Arès chooses are alive: they encourage us to cast a watchful eye on what seems banal and on what we choose, as Arès does, to keep and value.


Maude Arès is an interdisciplinary artist who uses installation, sculpture, performance, set design, and drawing to examine sensitive relationships among materials, most of them found, some of them broken. In her arrangements of these objects, she highlights vulnerable environments to allow the subtleties of tangible worlds to be heard, appreciated, and understood. Maude combines her thoughts on the performance of materials and the gestures that animate them in projects that intermingle visual arts, performing arts, and design. Since 2014, she has been collaborating with the collective projets hybris.