Corentin Canesson
28.01 - 12.03.2022
Visual Arts Center, Austin, Texas, United States




With the support of Etant donnés Contemporary Art, a program of the FACE Foundation and the cultural services of the French Embassy in the United States.

Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil

Winner of the Frac Bretagne – Art Norac Award in 2021, Corentin Canesson presents a solo exhibition at the Visual Arts Center in Austin, Texas, USA.

Corentin Canesson confronts the constructs and legacies of painting by reconsidering conventional modes of display, questioning the notion of singular authorship, and continually pressing upon the distinction between figuration and abstraction. Canesson’s paintings are often witty and ironic, evident in his choices of playful and wry subject matter such as anthropomorphized animals and passages of text culled from canonical works of art and popular culture. Music is also central to his practice and present throughout his collective work.

Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil is named for a poem written between 1919 and 1929 by the influential French surrealist poet Robert Desnos. Written with the kind of free associations that are characteristic of surrealist automatic writing, Desnos’ “Les espaces du sommeil” combines the sounds and sights of the night, of dreaming, with the constant refrain, “there you are… there you are.” In Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil, the surrealist strategy of combining disparate and seemingly incongruous references, objects, and symbols becomes a curatorial conceit to construct new associations, achieved by combining historical and contemporary works of art.  Sleep Spaces / Les espaces du sommeil positions the works of artists such as Willem de Kooning and Renée Levi, Ed Ruscha and Corentin Canesson, Joseph Beuys and Shirley Jaffe in productive dialogue within the context of the gallery. These groupings challenge us to consider how we interpret works of art and how curatorial choices aid in this process. Canesson’s site-responsive installation attempts to do just this, by fostering new modes of interpretation through surprising moments of connection.

The exhibition also features an ambient soundtrack with music from Canesson’s experimental band, TNHCH.

With contributions by: Cande Aguilar, John James Audubon, Joseph Beuys, Corentin Canesson, Robert Desnos, Damien Le Dévédec, Jean-Pierre Dolveck, Joey Fauerso, Constance Forsyth, Hilary Galbreaith, Camille Girard and Paul Brunet, Lola Gonzàlez, Josquin Gouilly Frossard, Josselin Guillois, Jim Hamilton, Shirley Jaffe, Ana Jotta, Willem de Kooning, Pierre Leguillon, Renée Levi, Jean-François Maurige, The Missing Season, Joan Mitchell, Samir Mougas, Ester Partegàs, Emily Peacock, Mario Perez, Phillip Pyle, II, Juliette Roche, Ed Ruscha, Alisson Schmitt, Amy Sillman, Gertrude Stein, TNHCH, Anaïs Touchot, Achraf Touloub, Lise Traino, and Nicolas Weber Besora.


Born in 1988, Corentin Canesson lives and works between Brest and Paris.

Graduated from EESAB-Rennes in 2011, he participated to the 21st Prize of Fondation d’entreprise Ricard Le Fil d’Alerte. He has presented solo exhibitions at Satorgallery (2020), at Nathalie Obadiagallery), at Crédac – Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry-sur-Seine (2017) and at Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain Passerelle de Brest (2015).


The Frac Bretagne – Art Norac Award aims to support the professional development of Brittany-based artists at the international level. The award is a Frac Bretagne initiative supported by Art Norac, the sponsorship association of the Norac group.

Each year, a partner structure in Europe or the rest of the world that is prepared to welcome an artist living and working in Brittany to produce a personal exhibition will be associated with the program.

+ Visit the Visual Arts Center website

+ More about the Frac Bretagne – Art Norac Award

Imagery: Corentin Canesson, Sleep Spaces (Gouesnou), 2021 (details) © Corentin Canesson/ADAGP, Paris. Photo credit : Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Sator, Paris