The visual language of Cristin Richard.

Playground Detroit

Trifle III.

For her continuation of “Trifle”, Cristin Richard has chosen to deepen the discussion of over-consumption by focusing on, and analyzing the phenomenon of the fervent consumption of the image in our current day society.

The expansion of the capitalist economy involves the continual creation of ‘the lack’ and ‘the satisfaction’. ‘The satisfaction’ creates ‘the lack’ by calling up a new satisfaction, a vicious cycle of which we are imprisoned consumers.

The media commonly exists as a structure that belongs to the extension of our technical thought, and the use of the image is the most simple form to send through feelings of pleasure. Today, the reign of consumption and pleasure belongs to the image.

Nowadays, all areas of our society are affected by the phenomenon: Politics, Morality, Economics…  They are all about the image.  Will the picture become more important than the reality? Essentially, our everyday life is flooded by the image: TV, video, film and photography have become the main food sources of our mind. They dictate our feelings, our emotions, and push us into extreme stats of laziness. There is no more a need to exhaust ourselves on a physical or mental level…just one click, and everything is offered to us.

In front of the screen, the consumer is faced with a fast succession of rich images to absorb his consciousness and place him in a hypnotic state. He is then owned and manipulated by the images of entertainment and consumer goods, which only provides happiness to those who are profiting from things to be sold.

Trifle III. (2014)
Small collage series
Trifle III. (2014) Small collage series


Trifle I, 2013 are some pieces made by Richard after two months of residence at SIM Residency in Reykjavik, Iceland. Through this project, the artist has chosen to treat the phenomenon of over consumption in our society. With appropriating and diverting strong symbolic images of the consumer society, she criticizes the excesses of the latter: overproduction, junk, waste, North / South inequalities, body-worship and beauty.  Collage allows her to create a new world with elements of the existing world.  She returns the anomalies, while avoiding the lure of the aesthetic instrumentation of reality.

With the development, modernization and the enhancement of the populations of some countries beginning in the 1950’s,  people faced a profusion of products which led them in a downward spiral.  It pushed them to purchase products that they did not even need.  At this time, this frenetic consumption reflected the optimism and confidence in the future.  However, our way of living is taking more and more the form of an aggressive mass culture.  In this approach, consumption is no more for every individual the means to satisfy a need, but rather to be different.  In essence, this personalization tends to replace the real differences between contradictory individuals.

Jean Baudrillard condemns the increase in consumption by “artificial accelerators”(1),  such as accounting tools, psychological tools and sociological tools set up for the only purpose of increasing demand, while persuading consumers to respond to their deepest desires. The power of the consumer society is huge, it shapes and structures our brain according to the social and economic order of the contemporary world in which we live. It even takes the place of morality, where the body becomes an indispensable object. While advertising has often resorted to erotic figures, it is actually a censorship of our own fantasies. They are smothered by a set of codified sexual signs. We all have tendencies to over consume, but to each its own. The main goal is perhaps to fill a void…a void that terrifies the human, and in front of this feeling, he adopts impulsive behavior and excessive behavior…animal behavior, linked to a pure instinct of protection and survival.

To illustrate this animal instinct that the artist wishes to put forward in this project, the exhibition closes with Trifle II, 2013. This work is composed of a woman mounted against the wall.  She wears a garment of fur and intestinal linings to reference our tribal ancestors.  A pod sits atop of her head, like a tumorous growth that plagues our society. This sculptural installation is worn by the woman as she sits for hours in front the audience. Like in all her actions, Cristin Richard has developed a very elaborate plastic language: indeed the precise codification of the body’s movement trains as a whole beam of references and signs. Through this performance, the artist opens up the intimacy of her work to the viewer, which puts him in this form of correspondence described by Michel Foucault “It is a matter of coincidentally summoning the gaze of the other and that which one trains on oneself “(2).  When the viewer is faced with a human being within the sculpture in front of him, he immediately identifies with it.  He feels intrigued and uncomfortable.  He moves from contemplation to observation therefore wondering what he sees, trying to analyze and understand the universe in which he is involved in.

(1) Jean Baudrillard “La société de Consommation”, Idées Gallimard 1970  (2) Michel Foucault ‘L’écriture de soi” Revue Corp écrit, no 5: L’autoportrait, février 1983, pp.3-23


Curated by  Kenza Amrouk


« It is YOU I am  addressing because you are the ‘unit’ of my work l’AUTRE »  Gina Pane – Letter to a stranger, 1974

Performance in Detroit….

I was invited to present « Trifle II» 2013, within the same room of which a four course meal was served to Detroit area patrons and designers. Being that the piece criticizes consumption, I find it quite humorous to have had it installed amongst people who not only consume, but are also surrounded by the finest things on a daily basis. It was also interesting and constructive to observe the Detroit audience and compare it with the one from Reykjavik.  Icelandic viewers were more involved with the piece, they seemed intrigued about the choice of materials and the imagery used. American viewers appeared  to be more preoccupied with the performer, as if she were their entertainment. Is overconsumption a part of lifestyle influenced by the US citizens? Are Icelanders more sensitive to the questions relative to the overexploitation of natural resources? It is clear that this subject provoked some interesting reactions, which has inspired me to conduct further research on it.

-Cristin Richard

Trifle I. (Untitled)
approx 4′ x 6′


Trifle I. (Untitled)
11″ x 16″


Trifle I. (Untitled)
12″ x 15″


Trifle I. (Untitled)
14″ x 10″
Trifle I. (Untitled Collage)


Trifle I. (Untitled)
10″ x 13″
Trifle I. (Untitled Collage)


Trifle II.
Animal intestines, fur,
paper, acrylic, adhesive
Trifle II., (2013, Reykjavik)


Trifle II. (Performance Installation)
Kunstschlager, Reykjavik, Iceland
Trifle II., (2013, Reykjavik)


Trifle II. (Performance Installation)
CultureLab Event at Frontera
Trifle II. (2013, Detroit)




SIM Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland
Left: Animal intestine and fur garnment created for Trifle II. (Performance Installation),
Right: Trifle I. (Untitled), Collage on mirror
InstallationView SIM Gallery


Trifle I. (Untitled)
Collage on mirror