In Pierre Ardouvin’s world, escape is probably what does not happen: his work endlessly replays being cut off from the world confinement, physical limits and existential impasses. Escape is what travel agents promote whenever a holiday crops up on the horizon: individual happiness is thus defined as departure, imprisoned as we are in our humdrum everyday life, postcard dreams and dead-end thoughts.
In varying approaches, Pierre Ardouvin produces numerous drawings and watercolors where dream elements can include strokes of cruelty: dog walks lead to the brink of cliffs, the wallpapering in children’s rooms is covered in storms, while their starry skies form constellations that insult the dreamers.
In his way, the artist does empathize with the recipes for happiness aimed at the lower classes. This will explain the flowery sofa, fairground and variety show motifs granted pride of place in his artistic realm. In parallel though, are sprayed texts on the walls, deeply crumpled sunsets and burned automobiles, as if to remind us that the climate in his middleclass La La Land could just as well turn nasty. Here the road is overly straight, a jerry can filled with gasoline sits atop the mantel, an eddy troubles the water or else the word “suicide” is neatly written beside pearly clouds. Microcosmos versus desert. The carefree feel of the familiar is overturned to expose its putrid potential, in the imminence of a catastrophe deprived of the spectacular.