Benoît Barbagli & Bertrand Lanthiez
curated by Caterina Zevola
OpenBach, Paris, 2018
Emosophie, the first chapter of the experimental project IT’S A MATCH!, is the story of two modern romantic heroes, two solitary travellers, a couple who share an emergency, a necessity. But it is above all the story of a meeting between two kindred spirits, between two artistic poetics who have traveled, without knowing it, the same intellectual paths.
Benoît and Bertrand, in different latitudes and parallels, feel the need to re-establish an emotional contact with the Nature that calls them. Without a pre-established route, they set off towards territories characterized by the absence of human and animal figures, in search, above all, of an echo of their souls.
The myth of the solitary genius is reinvented. Both move away from known civilized worlds to approach desolate lands where Nature is raw, rare vegetation manifesting in its most severe and grand dimensions.
Their compass obeys the vibrations of Mother Earth; direct and symbiotic contact which they use as if they were modern dowsers. They arise waiting for its movements, its atmospheric and physical phenomena thus seeking, even before being spiritual, a fusion of the senses and the soul with the forces of life in full bodily adhesion.
The two artists immerse themselves in Nature, contemplate the natural world like a poet, with a desire for panic ecstasy, until they feel the flavor of the World in their mouths. Like two thirsty wanderers, Benoît and Bertrand awaken in us the sense of the sublime of Nature and invite us to slow down the speed dictated by our modernity to relearn that of the Earth, to achieve regeneration, catharsis.
Emosophie is a tale in duet, a song in two voices, built by meditations and expectations, where the reality of the natural environment is interpreted for its capacity to arouse emotions. Emosophie is the story of a double odyssey in motion.
The works presented here have no limits. The two artists thus become bearers of contemporary fables that celebrate human interiority.
Benedict inscribes on the pages of his story a body of androgynous features, almost a Greek ephebe, but this is not a specific body. The man presented here has a qualitative nature: he represents a humanity. Benoît tells us a possible history of bodies. In sexual tension, her figures are in flight towards Mother Earth. It is therefore with a romantic fervor that he climbs to the summits of the mountains, that he jumps into the void to sink into the abyss, that he embraces the rocks. With, still in hand, a bouquet of flowers offered to this lost lover. Like a child prodigy coming home.
Bertrand, meanwhile, takes a further step. In his work, there are no more obvious natural landmarks. All that remains are the liquid and elusive, impalpable emotions that the artist has meticulously collected throughout his career.
The result is an immersive and sensitive experience of synaesthesia, a new sound and visual landscape, both natural and artificial, where the human and the non-human intertwine, in his work “never has nothingness been so safe”.
This dialectical exchange, initiated by Benoît and Bertrand, becomes the simultaneous narrative of romanticism. The result of this meeting leads to a dichotomous dialogue underlined later by the scenography which is articulated in two parts: a white and a black cube.
Emosophie thus shows two anthologies, the artistic diaries of two fervent “Romantic Supporters”, for whom temporality is imaginary and suspended between a distant past and a near future.
Emosophie is a tribute to emotions that translates into a sensory syncretism where two powers and poetic attractions correspond.