Nicolas Boulard

Specific Slices
Natural wool felt, 122 x 190 cm, series of 4 elements
Work acquired in 2018


Born in 1976 in Reims, Nicolas Boulard lives and works in Paris.

Nicolas Boulard’s artistic practice takes its inspiration from two registers of important references, which he puts to innovative use in his work. While he is deeply influenced by the history of modern art on the one hand, particularly American art from the 1960s and 1970s, his work is also strongly anchored in the sphere of the land. Long interested in the world of wine—which is very familiar to him, having grown up in a Champagne producing family—and having subverted its rules and conventions, both the manufacturing processes and the French certification system, Boulard turned his attention to the world of cheese in 2010. Sparking this interest was his observation of the formal proximity that exists between the shapes of cheese and certain recurring figures in minimal art. In his performative project Specific Cheeses, Boulard was inspired, for example, by Sol Lewitt’s 12 Forms Derived from a Cube (1982). In this context, he regularly has cheeses made based on their models, in turn based on the ancestral knowledge of local producers.

The Specific Slices series (2018) was produced in situ for the Bel Group headquarters in Suresnes, where it is presented on a staircase connecting several floors of one of the buildings. It consists of four felt rectangles, suspended by rivets. The felt surfaces are perforated with holes of varying sizes and in random locations, simulating the arrangement of holes in slices of Leerdammer® cheese, one of the food group’s flagship brands.

In Specific Slices the reference to the programmatic text Anti-Form by Robert Morris is clearly advocated. In accordance with the principles experimented and theorized by his predecessor, the hanging system, the physical qualities of the material and the presence of the perforations in Specific Slices all condition the shape of the work by adhering to the laws and effects of gravity. Designed to be admired by Bel employees as they move from floor to floor, the series plays on the effects of formal and chromatic repetition. The subtle variations seen amongst its different components regularly renew the viewer’s gaze and experience of the work.