Simon Paccaud is a Swiss artist, who took up residency at Sang Bleu earlier this month in preparation for his debut show in London. On Thursday 30th April we held the opening for Simon’s show entitled Mimi Siku and celebrated at The Passage with live performances from the man himself.
It’s your first time in London, what are your initial thoughts of the city?
It’s a pretty classy town from what I saw I think it’s different from where I come from anyway. There’s a good mix of people, and a lot of cultural diversity. This city has an energy to it that lends itself very well to hip hop culture. During the ten days I have been here I feel like the city is always moving.
How has being in London inspired the pieces you have been working on for your debut show in London?
Well, in the pieces I have created have been inspired by my time here. Ideally I think I would have spent more time here to really know more about the city. But yeah it inspired me, at the same time it’s like many things in my work I use codes that are pretty clear, that come from the street or the popular culture.
Could you explain what Mimi Siku is? How did its formation take place?
It’s just a re-appropriation of the film “Little Indian, Big City” and I have friends who call me Mimi Siku. It’s kind of like that guy who’s coming from a different environment (I have lived 10 years in the mountains), just a little besides, who discovers the towns and that’s just what I’m doing for a while. For 10 years, I do everything to climb on buildings or ride full of places. Acting like it was Mimi Siku who was climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower!
Can you tell us a bit about the Native American theme in your show?
The link is not huge, there is this piece with feathers somewhat reminiscent of that city’ story in the movie. I think it’s more legible through the theme that I respect a certain purity of the work, as the Native Americans behaved. In a very simple way, that is to say that I have not used materials that are very hi-tech, there is more wood, plastic…
What medium are you using and how have you enjoyed your residency at Sang Bleu?
In this case, I used plasterboard, which is a gypsum-based board. I used it because I had an exhibition in Berlin and I’ve realised that this thin layer of cardboard on the plasterboard works with paint in an interesting way. You can see areas on the plasterboard that give a variety of rather interesting textures and forms when painted over. The other materials used are directly inspired by London, those blue plastic bags taken from the market in Dalston. I think there are a lot of things in my work that are related to people especially those who are not from mega wealthy families. Using those bags, it was a way to honor those people who work for almost nothing and are there all day long struggling at the market. What I brought here, that is directly linked to the work I do in Switzerland, are the pieces of lithography, which is a printing technique on stone. It’s a nod to what I am doing in Switzerland and the idea was to bring something from my small hometown.
How different has this space been in to work, and have you seen it directly impact your work?
At the beginning I was wondering how I would work in the space, although it’s a good place to do an exhibition, at the same time the light is quite complicated. But I found that it was not very complicated to manage this space, my problem was to find a central piece, a kind of sculpture. In the end I focused on these two pieces, which are tensioned between the wall and the floor linking the piece to the exhibition space.
The sizes of the paintings are made especially for the space.
And the colour blue, I wandered the city by train, I saw a bridge that was painted blue, then at another stop I saw a blue door. I got off the train and I saw that same blue, and suddenly it became my starting point. I said I would take it and pay tribute to this city.
A lot of your shows include a visual / art related and musical element, you will be performing in London too can you tell us about your style, and what you aim to communicate musically as a part of your exhibit?
I was drawing before producing rap music. Before I started making art professionally I was doing freestyles, it has always been a way for me to say more things directly. Having my music and doing my rap music in my artistic practice, this is something that is complete. I think I manage to make people feel what I experienced. Part of the performance at the Sang Bleu Party was improvised, because I think it is an important dimension that allows people to get some truth.
Mimi Siku is open at Sang Bleu Contemporary until May 10th.
Photographer: Lea Gosselin