From 2009 onwards, we, Elena Khurtova and Marie Ilse Bourlanges, have been working together as a visual artists duo. What started out as a one-time collaboration turned into such a fruitful experience that we decided to join forces in a structural way and merge our expertise in ceramics and textile, respectively.
We like to typify our practice as a play-between-the-two. In research, we uncover the links through inner and outer layers; in conceptualization, there is as explicitly as inevitably a dialogue; in our methodology, we combine traditional crafts and modern technology. Moreover, what we aim for in the works themselves is the (re)activation of a play between matter and memory that offers more life and more lived experience. Our practice is also one of meticulous care for the process as a whole, rather than privileging either concept, method, or result.
Our work has been directed by what we’d like to call a challenge to the ‘regime of utility’. The question we strive to raise is what ‘use’ may mean outside the restrictions ordinarily set by function and consumption; in short, is there a use that is not exhausted by ‘utility’? What remains ‘after use’ is no waste, but a memory that adds something to the object’s story as well as a prediction that adjusts the very conditions of its utility. Thus, our works demonstrate how ‘use’ is in fact more than mere ‘utility’.