Spazio Testoni Gallery inaugurates the new year with Silent, the first Italian retrospective of Caroline Le Méhauté, curated by Alberto Mattia Martini, which will be part of the Art City Bologna 2014 circuit. The young French artist, who lives and works in Marseilles and Brussels, met Paola Veronesi at the Art Brussels fair during her half-year residence with the Servais family.
Caroline Le Méhauté, Négociation 36 : Latitude 43°17’51 N, Longitude 5°22’38 E, PVC, métal, tourbe de coco, 2011
The work of the artist leads to the most secret folds of existence, through the exploration of her mysterious world of silence, inhabited by indefinable creatures animated by a shy and tenacious vitality. It is a mythology of introvert entities willing to let down their defences only with those who are ready to bring their personal vulnerability into play, relinquishing the certainties acquired and hasty judgements. Each sculpture bears the same title, Négociation, associated with a number in order to identify it, emphasizing the artistic reality based on a pact of trust and mutual comprehension between the artist and the physical nature of the materials, and subsequently between the works and the viewer invited to cherish its value.
Caroline Le Méhauté draws her inspiration and strength from a privileged relationship with the natural environment investigated in the complexity of its balances, emulated as a generator of shapes, the source of the material treasures which are reworked and manipulated during the gestation of the works. Her works (drawings, sculptures and installations) have in common the recurring presence of wax, feathers, metal, sponges and above all crumpled coconut fibre used to cover most of her recent works. The coconut fibre symbolically reconnects the earth – which it resembles in colour and consistency – to the air – in which the ripe fruit is obtained growing at the top of a tropical palm with a tall trunk.
Caroline Le Méhauté, Négociation 57, Grow grow grow, boi, métal, tourbe de coco, 2011
The artistic experience is seen as the experimentation of physical, dream-like and poetic phenomena, like the mixing of the substance of the world which digs deep into things to extract new combinations of meaning. Each work stands autonomously as a device of thought which triggers off a chain of associations of ideas which potentially addresses the infinite, captures the gaze and the senses with a fertile beauty that records baroque opulence, electrifies the space in which it lives by its presence.
An artwork is effective when it arouses reciprocity, when it is an encounter which comes hic et nunc, as Négociation 36 suggests: two PVC tubes covered in coconut fibre rise from the ground as though they were periscopes and each time they are installed they take the exact spatial coordinates of the position they occupy in their title. It is a curious sculpture that seems to observe the surrounding world and at the same time let the possibility of exploring the underground realm from which it comes. In the uncertainty on the existence of the divine, the artist believes in what is tangible, like the earth which seems to hold the secret of creation: Négociation 57, Grow, grow, grow is a circle of coconut fibre on the floor, the centre of which rises and falls imperceptibly, moved by a light breathing which could even be a timid attempt at communication with the exterior. What the earth sighs remains a mystery, which can be averted only by those who oppose the illusory evidence of appearances, taking the time necessary for closer acquaintance.
Caroline Le Méhauté, Négociation 59, Decisions sourdes, Tourbe de coco, mousse polyuréthane extrudée, métal, table, chaise, lampe, 2011
The environmental vocation of these works is particularly apparent in Négociation 59, Decisions sourdes, a large installation which will be on display at Arte Fiera at the stand of Spazio Testoni gallery: a minimalist room inhabited by a table, a chair and a lamp that projects its cross-shaped shadow on the floor, with everything completely covered in coconut fibre. An intimate and cocooned space where thought can slowly sediment, but also a room without doors or windows which makes introspection a macrocosm. The only element not covered by fibre is a cracked mirror placed on the desk, which reflects the feeble light from the lamp and which would reflect the face of anyone who sat down there. Decisions placate the chaos of life, they are delicate and this is why they must be protected, they are taken in silence listening to oneself first of all. Every room in our home is alive and speaks, inhabited by a host of memories, this is the space of an intimate immensity where all our experience finds abode and refuge before addressing the outside world in search of the dreamed-of correspondence between universal space and the depth of the inner world.
mostra in galleria
14 dicembre 2013 – 1 febbraio 2014
da martedì a venerdì 16.00-20.00; sabato 10.30-13.00 e 16.00-20.00; domenica, lunedì e altri orari su appuntamento
23 – 27 gennaio 2014
Pad. 25 stand. B68
Graduated in art history at DAMS in Bologna, city where she continued to live and work, she specialized in Siena with Enrico Crispolti. Curious and attentive to the becoming of the contemporary, she believes in the power of art to make life more interesting and she loves to explore its latest trends through dialogue with artists, curators and gallery owners. She considers writing a form of reasoning and analysis that reconstructs the connection between the artist’s creative path and the surrounding context.