Nolwenn Carfantan plays with the conflicting qualities of desire and nostalgia in her paintings and drawings, which often combine elements of art history, personal memories, and popular and consumer culture. As Carfantan’s desire resides in the past, she explores the memories and senses of her childhood and adolescent years. Aware that a lot of firsts are no longer firsts, she wants to capture these passionate desires she once had for something so absurd and futile as owning her first dollar and something so simple and beautiful like a first kiss; she nostalgically depicts and retains these desires, but also their downfalls once realized. To Carfantan, desire is repetitious; the more you see something, the more you want it. Desire is also privation; the more you long for something you haven’t experienced, eaten, touched, or felt for a while, the more you think it is special. Each desire exists through unfulfillment and is tainted by this inevitable dissatisfaction. Carfantan’s work has this aftertaste of the ungraspable, palpable solitude, and tireless void to fulfill, which comes with desire and nostalgia. Her work is both a self-conscious representation of that taint but also a study of her own vulnerability.

Carfantan represents what she desires with a voyeuristic undertone through the copy and mix of private moments captured in photos, found images, and commonplace objects. It creates an unsettling feeling in the familiar her work portrays. Copying takes time and requires a true passion for its subject due to its repetitive and detail-oriented traits. This devotion to detail led to her meticulous, rendered, and realistic work. She wants the viewer to get lost in the details depicted in her work the same way she did while making it.

Nolwenn Carfantan (b. 1998) was born in Tarbes, France and lives and works in Los Angeles. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 2020, she received an MFA from ArtCenter College of Design in 2022. Recent exhibitions of Carfantan’s work include Écran de Fumée, ArtCenter, Pasadena (2022); Saküder Group Exhibition Tour, Andalar, Northern Cyprus, Bodrum (2021); It’s Gonna Be Bad, Cricket Gallery, Los Angeles (2021); Different Strokes for Different Folks, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn (2020); Ride Through the Heart, Manhattan (2020); and Drink Me, Taste Me Exhibition, The Plaxall Gallery, Queens (2019).