September 4 - December 15, 2007
Béatrice Coron: The Secret Life of Cities presents a selection of Coron's large-scale paper-cutouts of urban environments created over the past decade. Coron's cities are complex narratives teeming with life. Figures in silhouette fill busy streets and can be seen through every window and doorway. In some, the underground and underwater environment is also a part of the city as well as skies filled with helicopters, hot air balloons, and angels. The stories are intended to unfold in the mind of the viewer.
There is a flow between words and images throughout the work, and in the exhibition many of the scenarios start with language as well as the imagination. There are myths, children’s stories, history, familiar sayings, and plays on words. Her literary references run from Franz Kafka to William Shakespeare. In the series Personal Cities the imagery develops from one person’s description of their ideal city and the landscapes evolve from language, dreams, and fantasy. All are a part of her dramatic black and white world.
Coron’s technique is paper-cutting—she has made tiny pin books and cut paper scrolls 50 feet long. Often created as multiples, the works are hand-cut from Tyvek. Coron’s passion for working in silhouettes perhaps derives from her French roots; she was born and raised in Lyon, France. The very word “silhouette” comes from King Louis XV’s unpopular Minister of Finance, Etienne de Silhouette, who slashed so many budgets that his name became synonymous with cutting paper.
Coron is a global nomad—she spent a year in Egypt, a year in Mexico, two years in China, and moved to New York in 1984. All of these places left their mark on her thoughts, her life and her art.