French contemporary artist Gilles Barbier has opened his first solo exhibition at the Chimney in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Vanuatu, an archipelago located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, Barbier’s multifaceted practice borrows from science fiction, comics, literature, and cinematography to create new cosmogonies.
Building onto the symbolism and otherworldliness of Mary Poppins’ enchanting story, Barbier transforms the Chimney into a surrealist set. This new commission presents numerous black levitating umbrellas installed at different heights. Strings of speech bubbles fall from their hinged ribs like raindrops.
In The Chimney, Barbier invites the audience to restore dialogue under this protective roof, to engage in an exchange and resist the siren calls of hermetic monologues and manufactured facts. Armed only with crook handles, he calls out to our profound desire for intimacy, and encourages us to maybe even sing in the rain.