Quentin Carnaille was born in Roubaix in 1984. After graduating with an architecture degree in 2009 (from the Institut Supérieur d’Architecture in Tournai), he produced the first of his sculptures using old timepiece mechanisms. Diverting them from their primary function, Carnaille used the timepieces to adorn jewels or accessories which, beyond being decorative, pose the question of time and the relativity of its passage, a recurring theme in his work.
Following this first phase of research came a period of intense creativity in which Carnaille diversified his use of timepiece mechanisms. By freeing them from their mechanical arrangement and linking them together with magnets, they began to take the appearance of real sculptures. In the Horlogerie series Carnaille finds his own intimate rhythm, turning towards the future to give his questionings a universal reach. Comprised of original creations as well as homages to iconic artworks, Horlogerie was Quentin Carnaille’s introduction to the art scene. 2013: exhibitions in Lille and Geneva; 2014: Belgium; 2015: Luxembourg and Germany; 2017: Taiwan, Kuwait, China, United Arab Emirates…
His work then took a new turn. Alongside his continuously evolving sculptural experiments (like Apparition, in which the timepieces are trapped in ice), Carnaille also explores new forms of expression through installations and happenings, approaching a conceptual minimalism fully expressed in Introspection, his first piece devoid of clockwork components. Introspection associates a refined aesthetic with the artist’s metaphysical considerations, inviting the viewer to a return to the self, while simultaneously proposing a meditation on mankind and its origins.
Continuing in this direction, Carnaille realised Identity in 2017. Leaving his studio and taking to the streets, for three weeks the artist’s mirror-faced cubes covered the faces of figurative sculptures around the city of Lille. A demonstration of strength, Identity transformed commemorative sculptures into contemporary sculptures, thereby arousing the public’s interest in them. Through the use of elementary modes of perception, Identity is a reflection on otherness, it is an aesthetic and mental shock and marks a climax in Carnaille’s artistic production so far, making him the heir to a line of artists who, in the words of Malraux, desired to « bring art to the masses. »
And so Quentin Carnaille’s research continues, somewhere between technical prowess and the wish to place art at the service of a primordial source, that of time and of mankind; or how to allow the latter to see the former not as an implacable enemy, but rather as an idea of the possible from which both are born.