Artist and Art Director Frédérique Albert‑Bordenave on the Multifaceted Nature of Space and Time

Catégories > Art et CultureDesign

Entrevue avec Frédérique Albert-Bordenave
par Fatou Alhya Diagne


Le vendredi 16 octobre 2020


Montréal, Canada


Maéva Carreira

Éditrice en chef

Tamy Emma Pepin

Just recently, Frédérique was travelling from Amsterdam to Paris with Random Studio and the creative unit POlUYTRE for the conceptualization, choreography and execution of the Chloé SS21 fashion show. The live event showcased 37 contemporary Chloé women strolling down the streets of Paris making their way to the show’s finale in front of the legendary Palais de Tokyo. This multilayered event featured overlapping scenes that could be seen from a single perspective. In a similar way, this concept of plurality is a recurring theme in the Haitain Canadian Artist and Art Director’s work. In fact, she often finds herself readjusting her lens in order to have a better view of the delimitations between space and time. Thus, although this pandemic continues to divulgue its unpredictable nature, Frédérique Albert-Bordenave’s search for a new dimension is far from over.

Random Studio for Chloé SS21

Random Studio for Chloé SS21

Born in Montreal, and raised in Laval, Frédérique always had an instinctive curiosity for the nature of space. At a young age, she often found herself visiting model homes with her mother and reinterpreting their designs through her own sketches. She constantly felt compelled to practice activities that made her particularly aware of her surroundings, such as ballet and figure skating. As she grew up, Frédérique’s plural identity as a second-generation immigrant encouraged her to develop important ties to her different cultures – helping her navigate in-between spaces as a result. This individual stance influenced her artistic identity as she continuously raises questions around the idea of space and time through her work.

Le dessin sur le comptoir de la cuisine - Circa 2001
Le dessin sur le comptoir de la cuisine - Circa 2001
At the ballet, 2000

In 2014, Frédérique decided to move to Amsterdam to pursue her studies in Architectural Design at Gerrit Rietveld Academie, where she was encouraged to further explore the question of space and time as social constructs. This led her to the realization of her graduation project, Anywhere but here, anytime but now that won her the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Award in Applied Arts — a project in which she speculates on an alternative way to experience space and time. “I often feel like if it wasn’t for space I could be everywhere and if it wasn’t for time I could do everything”. Still today, this speculation continuously influences her artistic point of view whereby she perceives space and time as binding materials. This condition often leaves her with a thirst for ambiguity, which is investigated through her artistic process. Frédérique’s emotions and instincts have brought her into an endless quest of deciphering subjects, constructs and phenomenons that she attempts to grasp a little bit further by displaying her overall findings through the selection of one or several mediums.

Following her graduation, Frédérique’s work continued to evolve as she was nominated and selected by the Amsterdam Funds for the Arts for the 3Package Deal Program practice in 2018. This program offers top talents in Amsterdam a working space, a network and a budget to develop and deliver a project within a year. During her tenure, she realized her project – a piece that explores the materialization of shadows as the meeting point of space and time. In fact, the work muses shadows as an alternative dimension. is the beginning of an insatiable research on the topics of space and time. It explores the inconvenience caused by the limitations of time and space. Those limitations led to the acknowledgement and appreciation of an alternate interpretation of time and space through shadows.

The results usually offer a possibility to investigate one subject from multiple angles which attempts to contribute to the deepening of our collective thinking.

The project is titled with the symbol of quotation marks to emphasise the form under which the elements are gathered. These explorations invite her audience to relate the presence of otherness to their own realities and references. “Our experiences are different yet often similar in so many ways”, she says. Frédérique also refers to her shared experiences to accumulate and juxtapose multiple elements from diverging disciplines, moments and conversations ranging from literature, music, science, philosophy and cinema. The results usually offer a possibility to investigate one subject from multiple angles which attempts to contribute to the deepening of our collective thinking.

Today, Frédérique lives in Amsterdam and works on her artistic practice as well as an Art Director for Random Studio, an experience design studio that regroups visual artists, strategists and engineers who work together on blurring the lines between art, design and technology. They create immersive experiences that stimulate exchange between brands and their audiences. Frédérique’s role consists of developing and designing concepts tailored for clients through various mediums and environments that challenge the relationship between the digital and physical space – “Not digital for the sake of it, but more as a reality in which the digital becomes an enabler”. Frédérique’s fondness for architecture has made her adopt the reflex of immersing herself within structures, inclining her to become somewhat of an introverted actor of undiscovered industries every time she engages in a new project. These projects which can take the form of spaces, fashion shows, lookbooks or websites, were produced in collaboration with established names in the fashion industry such as Chloé, Fred Perry and Raf Simons.
As Amsterdam’s arts institutions are trying to become more progressive, debates about inclusivity are establishing a visible ground of opportunities and networks for creatives to interact with. The rise of Black Lives Matter has invited BIPOC artists to step in with their own conversations and platforms, introducing more varied narratives across the wider cultural landscape. Elsewhere, similar events have been pushing individuals to reflect on how they can possibly make this world a more navigable one, for the collective. In the future, she intends on continuing to own her multifaceted nature in order to explore plurality and hybridity in which things can be multiple things at once and where freedom is found as an effect.