From 2009 to 2020, Marie Ilse Bourlanges has been working as an artist duo with Elena Khurtova.
The duo-practice of Khurtova & Bourlanges is positioned at the intersection between formal and conceptual, where materiality and temporality play an essential role. Their work explores the paradox between transformation and its inherent loss, in a format that varies from large-scale transient installations (Dust to *dust), transformative sculptures (Wetter than Wet), performances (Shelf Life) and the artist book (Looking for the Ursa Major).
In 2019 the duo finalized a five-years project entitled The Sky is on the Earth based on the inherited archive of Jacques Bourlanges, author of a correlation between star constellations and French geography. The project unfolded in multiple iterations, decentralizing how to apprehend the body and subject of an archive and offering multiple entry points. From explorations of the urge to preserve – that ultimately destroys – to the destruction of the source in order to create something new; from tampering with things so they remain the same to artists’ books that fade in sunlight; from terracotta boxes that ultimately turn to dust – and consequently back into clay – Bourlanges and Khurtova continually challenge the meaning of archive and permanence.