Old&New: Pascal Pinaud, Granny’s modern rival

Yet another woolly jumper and a visit to the Maeght Foundation outside Nice push Sophie Jordan to consider the artist’s unexpected inspirations

Sometimes traditions are better left aside in order to make place for real comfort and practicality. This thought, which I weakly argue is taken directly from the good Modernist’s Bible, is often my last barrier against an over-enthusiastic Grandma’s generosity at Christmas.

The affection, meticulousness and varying amount of skill put into the knitting of the infamous Christmas jumper all appear in Pascal Pinaud’s short series of woolly installations.

Humorously, the Southern French artist cites the feared but painfully recurrent gift in three untitled works which altogether took him and a team of specialised craftsmen seven years to complete.

Currently exposed among the artist’s very diverse works—from large sheets of reused and spray painted aluminium to an installation of neon aureoles—in the Maeght

Foundation’s Sempervivum exhibition, these mock-canvas creations use a combination of the typical patterns of knitwork and crochet with patches of striped industrial textile for a heterogenous, disorganised look.

If the irregularity of the knitting, which leaves gaps and sometimes skips a knot or two, seems rather familiar, the two large openings at the centre of one of the works are too similar to sleeves for the resemblance to simply fade.

By placing this feature and other motives of traditional patchwork on the wooden frame supporting the wool, Pinaud invites the visitor’s eye to be attracted against its will to something it knows all too well.

Thankfully free of reindeer or any other recognisable figure, the untitled knits work each work around one base colour. Super- imposed onto this are clashing flashes of bright thread, red, pastel blue and pink, and orange making the outcome a serious rival to any octogenarian’s handiwork.

The series fits in happily with the rest of the artist’s playful work with cheap, common materials, copying directly and without questioning the aesthetic fail