SOAP SHOW – Inès Bressand and Simon Geneste

An exhibition explores soap as a material beyond its common usage, inside a soap factory in Marseille’s 15th arrondissement…

During this summer, for the month of August, Inès Bressand and Simon Geneste took up a creative residency at Studio Fotokino, Marseille. They collaborated with local soap producer La Savonnerie du Midi to explore soap as a material beyond its common usage. With the help of studio director Vincent Tuset-Anrès, ‘SOAP SHOW’ exhibited the playful and engaging results of the artists’ intersected research. 

Marseille has been the home of natural – based on olive oil – soap production for 800 years. For this project, ‘Maîtres Savonniers’ (master soap-makers) guided the artists and designers through technical and plastic elements, to understand how they might reinterpret the substance. Anyone who is already a fan of InèsAKAMAE editions will be happy to hear she took the opportunity to merge soap with her beloved straw; while Simon similarly combined the familiar, extending his plastic research around the technique of colombin.  

“We were surprised how soap [as a] material can look so different along its making process. The boiling of the soap, at the beginning, looks and behaves like lava… it is a fascinating material to look at. The soap masters were also very open to experiment, which is not always the case with craftspeople. It certainly contributed to a wider exploration,” Inès explains, “I really enjoyed working together with Simon. We both have our own way to approach and manipulate materials; crossing our visions was a very rich experience.”

I was curious to know what the future plans for the works were, “The show has actually moved to the soap factory, which has a museum [inside the factory] in the North of Marseille. It will be exhibiting until December. Afterwards we will keep some pieces, and the rest will be melted again to make square soaps,” she explains, “It’s a circular exhibition with no waste.”

Available to see (by appointment) at La Savonnerie du Midi from September 22 to December 31, 2022.

Words by Reeme Idris

Images courtesy of Vincent Tuset-Anrès at Studio Fotokino