Folie is a nod to garden follies, ornamental structures with the primary purpose of embellishing a walker’s stroll and defining a picturesque viewpoint.
So-called natural follies reproduced dolmens, caves or waterfalls. A common feature of English and French-style gardens in the 17th and 18th centuries, these decorative buildings can be traced back to the Italy of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Water features and caves are given pride of place in these gardens, which are often designed by acclaimed architects (Alberti, Bramante, Pirro Ligorio, Giulio Romano or Vignole to mention but a few).
From the havens of Classical times to the public parks of our modern cities, each era, each civilisation, has designed its garden as an aesthetic manifestation, bound by rules and artifice, of the way it sees and relates to nature. An enclosure where it can reinvent an Eden as well as assert its control over the elements. Water, air, rock, vegetation, caves are invented, everything is arranged and recreated for the body, the eye and the mind.
“Éva Jospin works cardboard, a humble material, so as to conceive volume and perspective. A dichotomy is present in this labour, between the violence of the gesture (tearing and slashing the cardboard) and finesse of the end result, when the final piece comes across as subtly orchestrated. Indeed, a long preparatory stage of cutting out, assembling and layering enables the artist to carve out thick, yet delicate forests, mysterious yet soothing. Watching them is a mysterious and unsettling aesthetic experience – they give shape to a mental wonderland which leads us all the way to “these districts of the soul where the monstrous vegetations of thought unfurl and branch out.”” Joris-Karl Huysmans, À Rebours, 1884.
“Like the backdrop of a long-forgotten dream, Éva Jospin’s works possess a unique evocative force. Alone before such forests, the beholder cannot stop his mind from rambling. These are therefore forests in which we lose ourselves, literally. The ambiguity of these pieces inspired by classical landscape painting lies, among other things, in their multifaceted identity: at once a painting, sculpture, haut-relief... Seeing each new creation by the artist is a visual and immersive experience in equal measure. In addition to this experience calling on the senses, it is also possible to talk about a screen, on which everyone is likely to project their own psyche, their own interpretation: for the forest is surely the place where anything is possible … is it not? Another effect Éva Jospin’s work has on us is to awaken the childlike eyes in all of us: before this corpus, we are both enthralled and potentially anxious. This wonder and anxiety are “a vision of oneself before the world.”” According to Jean-Pierre Vernant, Mythology is a vision of oneself before the world.
“For coming face-to-face with one of Éva Jospin’s pieces is to experience just as much a certain form of introspection as it is a way of standing upright, at the same time viewer and actor of the world around us”. Daria de Beauvais, Paris, March 2016.
Éva Jospin au Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2018 - © Éric Sander