To be Square, various plastic materials, 33 x 46 x 17 cm, 2014

Séverine Assouline is a jazz lover, and in the 1940s, a “square” was someone who did not appreciate this music. “To be square” meant to be a dull, a rigidly conventional individual. However, in French, the literal translation the artist heard growing up, “il est carré”, means something positive. Someone « carré » is someone you can rely on.


The sculpture is made with pieces of IKEA drawer organizers and chicken wire. It’s a balancing act, but it actually stands. Assouline's works often play with materials which are not what they are supposed to be. To be Square can be linked with Manfred Pernince's canning because both deal with the loss of meaning.

Big organizations, social conventions, all of these rigid structures are conundrums to the artist. They are not always as balanced as they seem. The system encourages people to put themselves in boxes but the compartments of volunteered confinement are fragile.

Therefore, the sculpture materializes the feeling of being always on a wire between success and failure omnipresent in our society. We all feel the pressure to fit in boxes without ever succeeding.

©Séverine Assouline, 2019