French Artist Eva Jospin Crafts Cardboard Landscapes For Champagne House Ruinart

Known for carving hauntingly beautiful forests and entire universes out of cardboard, Eva Jospin transforms an ordinary material into fine art. The ideal place to let our imaginations run free, the Paris-born artist’s fantastical woods are those of fairy tales, full of mystery and the unknown yet devoid of human presence. After displaying her art in the central courtyard of the Louvre Museum, at Dior’s haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion shows, at the Beaupassage gastronomic hotspot in Paris and in the gardens of the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire château in central France, she created the exhibition “Promenade(s) in Champagne” for Ruinart as its Carte Blanche 2023 artist. I sit down with her to talk about her latest collaboration.

Your mysterious forests, rocks, grottoes, nymphaeums and temples become the backdrop for the imagining of myths or fairy tales and your viewers’ mental projections – why do you want them to embark on an introspective mental journey?

I don’t know if that’s what I want. I’m trying to create spaces that allow that, and, in a way, I want people to join me. So they go in those worlds, but it’s not my story. It’s a place for people who are interested in my work. A lot of people are also not interested at all. For the ones who are interested by it, I like the idea that they take it for themselves. Anyway, I think we take art for ourselves. When we read a book, when we see a painting that we love, we own it immediately, we appropriate it. So I’d like people to appropriate the artwork by going into their own imaginations and make links to a lot of different things. And it’s funny what people say to me because, for example, a dancer from Australia told me it looks like termites, and it’s true, it looks like termites because I’ve been looking at some images and I saw that and it’s really interesting. Or bees, something like that. And a lot of people say it’s like in Angkor Wat, yeah, in a way, but it’s different. I like when the reference is far away from all the references about Europe and gardens and there is an elsewhere, something farther.

Why did you agree to collaborate with Ruinart?

I accepted because it’s a beautiful collaboration because Ruinart is really involved with the artists, who are present everywhere. You have a sculpture in the vineyard now with Nils Udo, you have artists coming for projects in Reims, sometimes temporary projects like Tomás Saraceno, and then some are doing permanent work. I really like this idea that it’s a place for artists and it’s always open to collaboration, permanent or temporary. The Carte Blanche is a very nice program because it’s shown at all the art fairs around the world. It’s always shown in an artistic context because people go to art fairs to see art, and so they will see more art, so that’s the perfect context to exhibit work.

What was the thought process behind your carmontelle, an 18th-century invention for showing landscape paintings in motion by French dramatist, painter and designer, Louis Carrogis Carmontelle?

The carmontelle is really the centerpiece of the collaboration because it’s really the guideline of everything that is going to happen in this promenade. You start with the forest and then there is a little journey. It’s an imaginary tour because a lot of things that are represented are not in Reims. We don’t know where it is: it’s in an exhibition, it’s in another world. So the drawings become a sculpture, like a forest or a little chef-d’oeuvre, or an embroidery or they become a drawing again. There is an idea of metamorphosis. So that’s why I wanted to do that.

Who are the artisans you work with for the silk embroideries?

I work with the atelier Chanakya in Mumbai, India [the very same hand-embroidery workshop used by the likes of Balenciaga, Dior, Gucci, Saint Laurent or Valentino]. I started collaborating with them in 2021. I’ve been doing projects with them for two years now. I make the drawings and the colorisation.

Why do you juxtapose nature and architecture in your cardboard works?

It’s the idea of grottoes in Baroque gardens in Italy that I really love. It’s a way to erase what’s the hand of man and what’s the hand of nature because there is an encounter and something is mixed.

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