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Gilles Combet grew up in Paris and London during the 70s. Taking art classes at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs while students were taking over the streets, he ended up dropping out of school, turning his back on a middle class upbringing and apprenticing himself to the Compagnons du Tour de France, an ancient craft guild dating back to the Middle Ages.
After learning the trade of roof carpentry, Combet traveled extensively in Europe. At the age of 18, he moved to Africa, where he eventually ended up living for six months in the Sahara desert with a family of Touareg nomads. This experience was pivotal in his life.
Upon his return to France, Combet pursued a 10-year career as a professional dancer, working with choreographer Karin Waehner and others. Dance eventually brought him to the United States.
Following a series of injuries, Combet went back to fine arts which he has been exploring ever since. He also taught high school students with special needs, took a degree in multimedia and web design, and worked as a graphic designer.
Gilles Combet currently lives in San Francisco, where he teaches at Creativity Explored, an art center for artists with developmental disabilities.




What is the whole breadth of his experience when going up and down the stairs? Combet will stitch together a model-size staircase out of recycled cardboard and hang it from the ceiling as a mobile. And write a few sentences investigating the nature of his experience. Through size reduction, material disconnect and improbable repositioning, a common object elicits a reappraisal of its significance. One might then be inclined to revisit the core relationship that one naturally develops with his or her surroundings. In another piece, Combet creates a curtain made of cutout disembodied hands drawn on tracing paper. The loosely assembled work invites tentative reading while evading any easy interpretation. Overall, Combet is interested in exploring the experiential value of common shapes and objects presents in our environment.