Frédérick Gautier

by Dennis Royal

A French Artist Plunders The L.A. River
Were a list of the great metropolitan rivers assembled—the Seine, the Ganges, the Thames, the Danube, the Tigris, the Yangtze, the Nile—the L.A. river, a winding concrete trough, more resemblant of the world’s largest gutter than any picturesque, tree-lined tributary, would be unlikely to make the cut.

But for French artist Frédérick Gautier, the L.A. river is the inspirational well-spring for his new project Eat The River—a two month residency for L.A.’s Please Do Not Enter gallery. “Can you imagine the Indians lived here,” he remarked, his eyes taking in a long sweep of mostly dried out concrete during a tour of the riverside next to his studio in Frogtown, “and they built L.A. here, and now the river is like exactly the opposite. It’s going to change, it’s changing now.”

Gautier will create 100 unique ceramic objects that will emerge from his interactions with the river, be they aesthetic, historical, or experiential. “Lots of garbage has been put in the river,” he says looking down on it, “you have a lot of homeless people, like thousands of them. But it’s also a place now for people to live, to go to fish, to go bicycling.”

Last year Gautier undertook a similar project on the Seine in Paris, whilst residing aboard a boat converted by the great Le Corbusier. There he similarly made 100 objects: teapots out of concrete, inspired by Bauhaus and brutalist design.

“I’ve been coming to L.A. for 25 years working in the movie industry,“ Gautier explains with enthusiasm, pointing out his path along the river, “But now I’m a landscape designer working on ceramic, and so for me it’s different to approach L.A. by the river, going south to north, crossing all the different cities of L.A.”

"Eat the River' Project by Frederick Gautier FCK Opens tonight September 21 6-9PM at PLEASE DO NOT ENTER Downtown Los Angeles