A ‘thinking submarine’ with multiple functions.
The London Fields-situated studio of artist Florentine Ruault is divided into the research room, where she thinks through maquettes, and the making area, in which she transforms her research inspiration, materials and projects into physical forms. Inside the research hub, or “thinking submarine”, as described by the artist herself, the shelves are stacked with books on anything from neuroscience to Christo and Jean-Claude, the walls are brimming with photos of past travels and the tables are strewn with sketchbooks. Whilst the smell of incense begins to mix with that of the croissants and pain au chocolat before me, I turn my attention to a song by Christine & The Queens sounding from one corner of the space, almost certifying that the artist’s French roots continue to influence her surroundings. However, this song appears to be just a moment of reminiscence, as Ruault tells me that when working with metal, she prefers to listen to dark techno, whereas the studio is a space for “digging” new releases in the genres of house, blues, rap and disco. Bundles of thread adorn pockets of the studio, offering a bright addition to a space that is otherwise veiled in a fragrant smoke (from incense sticks that the artist admits to burning everyday), throwing shadows across the maquettes that jaunt out from its perimeter. With the artist never waking up later than 7:30am and with time spent in her studio being anywhere between three to sixteen hours, it’s easy to see why this space is so reflective of Ruault’s versatile studio practice, based in conversations, material experimentation, and different studio sessions throughout the week.