Betty Bui incorporates the material of boxwood, a centrifugal spatial organisation which is rather closed in on itself, and a private or even intimate dimension into public space. Since visitors can move freely around it, and given its function as a furnishing, the “presse-citron” ("lemon squeezer") constitutes an installation to be actively experienced and a meeting space.
"Comme des citrons" (Like lemons)
"The question as to whether, in the history of art, objects constitute a separate category to that of images, is futile. The opposition that some continue to uphold between abstract and figurative art is equally futile. It has been the case for a long time now that every picture is both abstract and figurative, and, likewise, objects are, at the same time, things and representations of things. The world in which we live leaves us no choice. We spend our time consuming signs and translating our relationship with our environment, according to the scale of values which the world of advertising is constantly updating. This is the origin of the problem of public space having become advertising space, a space in which the aesthetic is cosmetic and politeness is self-seeking. What more should be done? Change the world? It's too late for that. Reroute the signs therein? Why not. This is a part of what Betty Bui works towards. Are we being squeezed like lemons? Of course we are, but that's life. Betty Bui takes words on face value. The domestic utensil will be blown up to giant proportions; the object will invade our visual space to such an extent that it becomes all we can see. Inspired by garden art and the typology of green rooms characteristic of classic French gardens, Betty Bui introduces the material of boxwood, a spatial organisation which is rather closed in on itself, and a private dimension which are not entirely in keeping with the republican culture of open space, mostly mineral and largely centrifugal. In other words, this "lemon squeezer" project, inspired by topiary art, is in some aspects anachronistic and contradictory. However, we would like to see how this anachronism and contradiction will function in tomorrow's world. Doubtless, Betty Bui will have already thought of this. I wouldn't be surprised if her project demonstrated that public space can also be an intimate space and that the history of art, regardless of what some think, consists of a continuum of epochs and genres." Guy Tortosa, Paris
Born in Paris in 1967, Betty Bui lives and works in Avignon. A graduate of the Saint-Etienne École Régionale des Beaux-Arts, she has taken part in many personal and group exhibitions, notably the Festival Rayon Frais in Tours (2008) and Lou Tempo Festival, Saint-Leu, Réunion Island (2009).