There is little doubt that Nicolas Milhé constantly negotiates the position of a body of work that he strives to maintain balanced between two points of tension – political and aesthetic. However, simply acknowledging this is not enough: one must fully experience the back and forth journey between the two to understand what it is all about.
Nicolas Milhé manipulates the codes of politics with a constant eye for aesthetic effects, which, for instance, he uses to excessively polish the attributes of a Republic whose campaign posters he doctors and whose values he assembles into necklaces or on a rooftop so as to better highlight their primary meaning. But let us go back to politics. Politics pertains to affairs of the State and to the way they are conducted; politics is an organised society, a coherent structure with a view to results and determined actions; it is a viable architecture with interdependent coordinated elements; an organised body, complete with organs; a living, regulated, and structured body. These are the organs that inhabit the body of the Republic and by extension the political body that Nicolas Milhé detaches, separates, and questions. These organs of power lie at the heart of the issue that the artist’s work raises and manipulates. Indeed, while organs are for the most part resources and means, their precise function according to their common Latin root organum is that of “instruments”.
This question of the “instrument”, just like the notion of “instrumentalising” that stems from it, occurs at every level of the artist’s work. “Some organs are merely products, simple instruments that the organism has created; the bones, teeth, and eyeballs are but instruments that an individual carries all his life, but which are never renewed” (Claude BERNARD, Principles of experimental medicine, 1875). Bones, teeth, eyes, much like other emblematic, not to say problematic, architectural details, are symbols whose renewal he questions and “instrumentalises” both literally and figuratively. [...]
Text (exerpt) by Laetitia Paviani, 2014
Documents d'artistes Nouvelle-Aquitaine