Portrait of Aurore Thibout at work
Aurore Thibout is a textile poetess, a visual artist living in Paris and intoxicated by Asia. She deftly journeys in search of Memory Clothes, Colors of Time*. She captures the passage of time and the memory of objects. Her fabrics reveal disappearance and appearance alike, and her clothes come out of the confrontation between fullness and emptiness.
Modestie, Les Gisants, Aurore Thibout
Following studies at the Duperré School of Applied Arts and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Aurore Thibout completed a residency in the Ateliers de Paris in 2009. A costume designer for living arts and recipient of the Grand Prix de la Ville et du Public at the 21st Hyères Festival, Grand Prize for Creation by the City of Paris in 2013, and laureate of Villa Kujoyama in 2015, Aurore Thibout shows her exceptional work at galleries and museums. Her limited editions – one of a kind items repeatedly drawing from her explorations – are available in Europe, Japan and the United States.
Aurore Thibout, Hand in Hand Taiwan, NTCRI and Sophie Hallette
Using memory and print for direction, her creative process begins with materials. This plastic work blends color, printing and relief technique research leading to a garment. This is the challenge. This approach to textile, in its poetic and aesthetic reflections, never loses sight of the final goal of producing a clothing object. Encounters in arts and with their techniques, with artisans and their expertise, nourish this pluralistic process.
Aurore Thibout, Regards Croisés, Villa Kujoyama and Flag-France Renaissance, La Celle-Saint-Cloud, 2015. Photo credit: Bertrand Sion.
The pallor and rigidity of her Gisants – these undergarments fossilized under plaster are as many delicate molts of life. The bleached stiffness of ancient embroidered home linens from which she cuts pleated skirts. As for color, how to begin? While current artisans typically use synthetic dyes, she finds her vocabulary in experimentation with natural dies, notably with Taiwanese and Japanese artisans. She explores beiges with betel nut, warm greys with Chinese gale, deep violets with logwood and indigos.
Aurore Thibout and Tamiya Raden, Regards Croisés, Villa Kujoyama and Flag-France Renaissance, La Celle-Saint-Cloud, 2015. Photo credit: Bertrand Sion.
Her residency at Villa Kujoyama produced even more lovely collaborations. With her predilection of natural fibers like silk, cotton, linen and ramie, she works well with Japanese weavers of renowned quality. She, for example, reveres the chirimen silk of Tayuh Silk.
With Akasaka Taketoshi, a young talent from the City of Kyoto 2013, she revisited katazome, a traditional stencil technique done with rice paste. Inspired by photograms and cyanotypes, Aurore’s colors are trembling lights. With no flat, filled colors, her dyed fabrics carry the trace of impermanence in a true “reflection of gesture.” The technical challenge of vegetable dyeing lies in the difficulty of reproducing and fixing colors. “Natural dyeing is a precise science and it differs according from bath to bath, from minute to minute. It is important to preserve accidents. Mastering risk is what is most difficult.”
Aurore Thibout and Akasaka Taketoshi, Regards Croisés, Villa Kujoyama and Flag France Renaissance, La Celle-Saint-Cloud, 2015. Photo credit: Bertrand Sion.
The clothing of Aurore Thibout carries a certain spirit that is animated while being worn. So when Shuhô, an ikebana master who dedicates flowers to what is invisible, wears a wooden garment created specifically for this spiritual ritual, she truly inhabits it. The exceptional material, composed of extremely fine strips of wood woven into silk, is produced by Tamiya Raden. Veins are the motif; in the veins of a tree one can read the presence, the stockage, of life.
Aurore Thibout, Tayuh Silk and the Calais lace museum, Calais, Villa Kujoyama, 2015
Rich in stories, garments are memory objects. Aurore Thibout uses them to revisit simple forms: modestie, a small piece of lace or fine fabric used to modestly veil a woman’s décolleté, or obi, the belt used to close traditional Japanese clothing. She celebrates the floral designs of lace in the collections of Sophie Hallette and the Calais lace museum, using them as a base to create prints. Aurore Thibout, in her work, reveals and “decreates.”
* The Memory Clothes, Colors of Time project received the support of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation as part of their action for the Villa Kujoyama.