ISABELLE GARBANI

“I want to say one word to you. Just one word.... Plastics.” -- Mr. McGuire, The Graduate

I grew up in France. As a teenager, I was contemplating a future which was, frankly, very depressing to me. The expectations from both my family and French culture did not seem to leave me any breathing room. I felt like my life was on rails: I was supposed to get my BAC, get married, have children, spend winter in St. Moritz, and vacation at Club Med. Art was not even a possibility, or a glimmer of a hope.

In 1984, we moved to Boston. I discovered that American culture rewarded and praised individualism. I could finally invent and re-invent myself anytime, at any age. The cultural yoke was lifted and I was free to experiment and pursue my own dreams.

At the same time, I am still a French person, with strong political opinions, and I am aware of the corrosive influence of American culture abroad. A lot of my motivation to make art comes from this constant dichotomy in my life: this country is my home and not my home; it welcomes me and it rejects me; I love it and I hate it.

My choice of materials reflects this paradoxical view that I have of American culture. Plastic is indispensable and it is completely unnecessary; it is vital to our modern lives and it is harmful to our environment; it is a true technological achievement and a sign of our failure.