Cultural Connections: Norman in Clermont-Ferrand Featured Artist Jason Cytacki

Cultural Connections: Norman in Clermont-Ferrand, France debuts on Friday, May 19 as a part of Les Arts En Balade, helping us further the bonds between us and our sister city through culture and art. Here’s a preview of Jason Cytacki’s work that will be showcased as part of the exhibition. 

Jason Cytacki 
As yet untitled 

Graphite and ink on drafting film

Texture : Physical

Jason Cytacki’s work directly communicates with the space and directly represents the place. His graphite and ink drawing on semi-transparent drafting films overlay not only each other, but the raw walls of the space giving an illusion that these images are emerging from the walls of the Chapelle, thus allowing the physical texture of both place (Clermont-Ferrand) and space (Chapelle de l’Oratoire) to inform his work.

Cytacki is dissecting Clermont-Ferrand. As an “outsider” visiting this place, he found himself drawn more naturally to the exteriors of the city. Decorative elements over windows and doors, sewer pipes, cobblestones, these details are his personal reflections of the cultural identity of this place.

The Clermont-Ferrand drawings while like in style, contrast in subject with the work he brought with him from Norman. The Norman details from “home” are interior spaces, details of wood moldings, fabric window coverings, and upholstered furniture. They are images that exude homey-ness and comfort.

The similarities between the images of Clermont-Ferrand and Norman are that this installation reflects the literal background of what identifies each place. The subject of each drawing, in reality, likely fades into the background of everyday life.  However, here, in the Chapelle, they are given center stage. The result is a serene and delicate reminder of the cultural identity of our places. While our communities were formed hundreds of years apart and architectural and design details are diverse, side-by-side, in this installation, we are together nostalgic when looking at the textures that define “home.”

Cytacki’s artistic practice was challenged in a rewarding way here in Clermont-Ferrand. His regular process involves a controlled manner of working through sketches and design and ultimately creating a weel-crafted plan for a project. He finds his work more improvisational here, having to make decisions and adapting through the process. The challenges of hanging work on a wall that could not be directly attached to has forced a creative problem solving aspect of his work that has been highly satisfying to the overall experience of working in Clermont-Ferrand. What started as problem, ended up being one of Cytacki’s favorite aspects of the installation and pushed the project into a more interesting direction.