Papiers Ordinaires – Série1 Les Bouboys

Elodie and Delphine Chevalme

Date : 2010

Medium : Works on paper

Size : 200 x 145 cm

Since 2009, they have focused their work on the Papiers Ordinaires project. It is a figurative art piece – portraits centred on the theme of the melting pot of race and culture – and is a large-scale piece using only felt-tip pens. The entire project is composed of series. The sisters commence their study by exploring peoples of African descent, with those in the United States on one side (series 1 Les BouBoys), and those in Peru on the other side (series 2 Los Corazonegros). Each series projects the issue of identity in its plural form, and as a vast territory of mixed and shared culture.


The guide

Nothing is ordinary when it comes to the Chevalme sisters. For one, there is their astonishing work made with four hands!

Indeed, twin sisters Elodie and Delphine work together not only to design their works but also on their execution, which is more difficult.
This collaboration, which would be restrictive for some, is for them simply natural, even vital.

The partners reflect on the idea of complementarity and themes of racial mixing, identity and shared cultures.

They borrow their vocabulary and their cheerful, colourful visual style from hip hop.

For their first series, they came up with the term “Bouboys” (“booboys”) in the United States, a contraction of the words boubou and “B-boys”, in homage to the founding fathers of African-American popular culture.

These popular roots are essential, and it is this impulse that has driven the “papiers ordinaires” project. Because they favour everyday implements and mediums (felt markers, pens, pencils, photocopy paper, etc.), their work is familiar to us and, above all, more accessible.

However, although their work may be called simple “colouring”, the Chevalme sisters are exacting nonetheless: look at their technical mastery, imagine their patience and diligence!

They are not just drawing, but painting. This is why their image needs to be life size. By painting these men at full scale, the sisters erase any hierarchy between subject and viewer, creating a remarkable proximity and inviting us to enter the work.
By revisiting the traditional genre of portraiture, the Chevalme sisters offer a gallery of paintings that finally takes into account the pluralism and cosmopolitanism of the 21st century.