Mathis Collins (b.1986 in Paris, France) lives and works in London. He has recently shown his work at Paramount Ranch, Los Angeles, presented by Shanaynay Paris and as part of the Modules – Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves St Laurent, at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
For the past few years, Mathis Collins has worked with cork harvesters, local populations of Mediterranean forests and villages and artists, to create scripts, characters, set-design, props, costumes, workshops and an economy of a folk repertoire focused on the ecology and culture of cork regions. Souvenir from your Leave of Absence (2014) was created as a one-time operative company, to function in parallel to a friend’s cork company that was affected by the global French cork crisis. Mathis Collins’s company took the form of a tree, composed of a single 3-meter-high piece of cork. The lamps, installed for 24 hours next to a self-described anarchist street florist in Marseille, each sold for around 50 euros, contain populist imageries that merge the cosmic with the common, such as close-up of a bird in space, or a lamp on a Big-Bang background. The work, produced by Art-O-Rama (Marseille), was subsequently installed in the exhibition space of La Friche de la Belle de mai, along with a flower bunch from the anarchist.
You can comfort yourself with words, but smoking will chill you (2015) is a series of works that reflects on the process and the making of poetry. Through the figure of the body at sleep and the shisha as an icon of Oriental lounge, the works depict the digestion of the creative body by the space of the making itself. Mathis Collins reflects on the act of creating poetry not for reading but as a pure meditative exercise and an extension of the author‘s body, as if an autonomous poem could turn its author into its object of aesthetic delight.