Walking into Confort Moderne, a former foundry on the outskirts of Poitiers, feels like taking a wrong turn. The cavernous space that hosts Kévin Blinderman’s first institutional solo exhibition is very empty, largely devoid of the markers of his time spent here. Yet, this is where Blinderman spent the first lockdown (spring 2020) in residency. It was here he organized a club night in September 2020 with Paul-Alexandre Islas (see Queer is not a Label, the parties on which the two regularly collaborate), and it was also here that he may have orchestrated the shooting of a porn film. I say may because everything in the show hinges on ambiguity.
A grey-scale printed map of France (Self-portrait as a young artist with a mainstream name, all works 2021) hangs by the entrance, telling in its purposeful vagueness. Simultaneously an alternative cartography and a self-portrait of sorts, it labels the country’s regions with “Kévin”—the most popular name in France the year that Blinderman was born. Coupled with a series of postcards printed with the artist’s Instagram-filtered face (You’re the Worst), stacked on aluminium structures discreetly dispersed throughout the space, the work suggests the traces of an autobiographical self that is atomized and individuated, but also profoundly contingent, leaky, and diffuse.
Borrowed from the adjacent music space and synced to epilepsy-provoking strobe lights, a lone audio speaker (Player One Vip) intermittently screams out emocore at tremor-provoking decibels. A photograph (Kévin Blinderman: Crunchboy) momentarily captures Confort Moderne as a nocturnal cruising ground, the gallery emptied out in order to make space for libidinal desire and affect that have no place being here. For better or worse, it’s a subterfuge of the codified systems and spaces that govern bodies and experiences, and a reminder of those very bodies and sweat and hormones that remain tantalisingly and frustratingly off-site and out of sight.