Tous les oiseaux sont ici
Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, May 2009.

I am a snake
a bird
a legless wanderer in colorful scales
undulating my way through
like a drunken paintbrush

CYNTHIA GIRARD’s painting consciously avoids notions such as professionalism and academically schooled virtuosity. Her pictures and installations are narratives about painting itself, in which she concerns herself with questions of representation and with overcoming the conflict between abstraction and figuration, between purely formal and narrative depictions. By appropriating elements of Minimal, Hard-Edge, Op-Art or Neo-Expressionism in her works and blending them with influences from folk art, applied art, children’s book illustration and Outsider-Art, Girard questions the customary hierarchies of contemporary art. Her paintings and sculptures often function like components of a stage, which integrates the viewers and extends the painterly composition into a spatial experience. Tous les oiseaux sont ici, for example,
resembles an imaginary stage play. The gigantic painting of a stylised prison wall divides the space into two zones. In the black and white area of the foreground, an oversized, apparently archaic mask made of black cardboard and portraits of Girard’s literary role models Elfriede Jelinek and Emily Dickinson adopt the function of ‘warders’ or helpers, fetching the viewer into the image and making it easier for him/her to gain access. In Girard’s work, the metaphorical door to the interpretation of an artwork takes on a real form. One is thus able to enter the second part of the exhibition through an entrance let into the prison image – passing into a cell dominated by colors. Besides brightly-coloured egg-shaped sculptures made with papier maché and a discarded paper snake costume, here one finds
small-format gouache works, in which birds populate abstract architectonic structures -– although it remains unclear whether they are inhabitants or prisoners.

In Tous les oiseaux sont ici, Girard conveys various dialectical meanings through the motif of
the prison: it is a metaphor of the restrictive delineations of pictorial space, of a voluntarily chosen place of retreat to experience visions, of the position of a social outsider, or it is emblematic of conventional perception, from which the aim is to escape. (excerpt from the KB press release)

Photo credits: D. Oliveira, D. Brandt, Andre Sousa,

mixed media, 200 x 225 cm, 2009.169 x 79 x 44 cm, 2009.169 x 79 x 44 cm, 2009.filled with sand, string.224 x 200 cm, 2009.42 x 30 25 cm, 2009.30 x 22 x 6 cm, 2009.50 x 40 cm, 2009.67 x 50 x 50 cm,, 2009.,cardboard,142 x 94 x 22 cm, 2009.22 x 25 cm,, 2009.