Hatori Gallery, Nice
Duo exhibitions with Evan Bourgeau
From December 1, 2018 to January 10, 2019
Hatori Gallery, Nice
Duo exhibitions with Evan Bourgeau
From December 1, 2018 to January 10, 2019
With Aimée Fleury as Guest Artist
From October 15 to November 21
+33 (0)9 52 48 86 08
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Hold underwater for 8 seconds, come back up, dive again. We repeat this as much as possible… The camera, fixed on a flying propeller, takes pictures at intervals of 5 seconds.
So we had to keep at least this time, plus the time to dive in, all synchronized between us. Challenging!
We were five that day: Aimée, Benoît, Diego, Katalina and Yoan.
It was the end of the summer, one month before the big opening Under the chaos, life at the Mansart Gallery in Paris.
If this text reaches you before the exhibition, save the date (!):
October 14, 2021 – 18H 5 rue Payenne, 75004 Paris.
If this text reaches you in a few decades, you will surely read it with an amused or disillusioned look, finding inefficient the attempts of cultural practices to discourse and adapt to the predicted collapse. Building images in a collapsing world, a process generous in contradictions and paradoxes, may seem a bit naive to you. Basically, and we may already know this, one of the current drivers of the Anthropocene are images and their Pectabytes stored in our digital clouds.
The exhibition is initiated by Benoît Barbagli. He invited Aimée Fleury who co-signed some of the works and skilfully created a spectacular scenography, particularly in the lower room, which looks like an underwater quarry.
Nothing would have been possible without all the others, whom we will name as we go along. Because even if the exhibition is presented as a monograph it was impossible to think “Under the chaos, life” otherwise than collective. Supported, influenced, disputed by all the thoughts and actions of the artists and friends around us.
In Saint-Cassien we were far from Paris. The instructions were quite simple: swim in a circle, underwater and naked. At one meter from the surface, under apnea, were we only able to preview this picture in the WhiteCube? Immersed, the ecological problems seemed to us very far and yet… We needed air. The looped performance transforms our day into a kind of underwater ritual. Why five? Why in a circle? Why us, why naked?
Something happens when we are together underwater, with each other, with the lake, with you. Briefly, suspended in the pre-amniotic liquid: an epiphany, a relativistic effect, a Déjà-Vu, a temporal bug? Water all around connects us to life. A link of equal to nature, non-dictable but perfectly tangible.
All this recorded in the digital entrails of the enemy: the drone. It is only collectively, as equals, that we can deal with nature. Neither green liberalism nor post-modern romantic individualism has the keys to such a transition.
This was not the only photo that day, after a well-deserved break we had in an equally incongruous way to move the stones of the underwater banks of the lake, a support to Sisyphus in sum, Aimée Fleury told us. The photograph is not the end, but the pretext for the day, it allows this situation to exist. The naked bodies are also desexualized, they are freed a little from the normalizing patriarch. Like the drone, the device is flying, and is passed from hand to hand, the signature is forgotten in the moment. At the crossroads of the spiritual and the political, aesthetics creates an ethics of our perceptions. With these naked bodies, displeasing Instagram and its BoobsFinder which, incorporating a digital gender inequality, insidiously normalizes our behaviors and our bodies well beyond its network.
Two months in the screen, 35° in the shade, it was in the Saint-Michel air, that we demonstrated in the natural space, armed with banners. One of them, affirmed loud and clear in the direction of the sky and all those who exceed us, Under the chaos, life. Because, under the drama of the anthropocene, of the aesthetic image, always the life resurfaces.
There is a lot of history to tell about this day and about each of the others that make up the photos in this exhibition. If this text is an introduction to the exhibition, it does not constitute a summary of it, it is only on the spot, that you will be able to discover the continuation of the epic Under the Chaos, the life. such as the Structures raisonnées and their Aménagements sensibles, on our attempts to fall asleep underwater, or on the fabulous story of the very contemporary Carrée Blanc sur fond blanc.
We cannot end this text without thanking the toaders who accompanied us, and found themselves by the photograph despite them supports the cause:
Aimée, Armand, Benoit, Camille, Cecile, Celia , Diego, Egles, Evan, Gabriel, Maria, Marie, Mouna, Lea, Katalina, Yoan.
Photograph of the exhibition
Selection of works
Presentation text by Pulchérie Galmer
Benoît Barbagli’s studio is vast. Ocean, river and mountain are his performative spaces. Art arises there, a vital emergence within the collective. His plural and multi-medium proposals hatch in itinerant gestures. Art moves in nature.
In his peripatetic devices, the path makes sense, the nudity is candid, and the work manifests itself in upsurges. The configurations are multiple, the rituals varied and, often, the expedition that leads to the artistic experience is done with visual artists. His camera is described as “flying”. It passes from hand to hand and the signature is frequently shared or collective, as here with Aimée Fleury who co-signs the scenography. He invited her to exhibit some of her works at the Mansart Gallery.
Benoît Barbagli explores borders. He draws from the substrate of creation in search of its germinations from shared nourishment. The Mountain creates as much as the sea, as the artist friend, by his presence, by his movement, by the principle of life, essentially random, which moves him. Art captures moments of the Living which always manifests itself where we least expect it, in unheard-of sequences that we sometimes struggle to capture in their deployments. With humor, lightness, strength and delicacy, Barbagli invites us to capture the moments and encourages us to consider them in their ephemeral beauty. An ode to Vitality.
The four elements are recurring. They animate and structure the artist’s series in Heraclitean bursts. Fire, water, air, earth. Benoît Barbagli’s universe is poetic, polysemous, modest, funny. He likes to “divert references from culture to return them to nature.” What makes a work? The project ? Its manifestations? He orchestrates meetings, a community is created around the project and the creative space then becomes a joyful pretext for life.
To pay homage to the living, to restore its place to it, the artist fades away, he stages, stages and yet fades with great elegance, the ego dissolves in the interconnected, I is another. Benoît Barbagli is reverse romanticism. His return to nature takes place in a peaceful setting where egotism is annihilated, where praise is stripped of pomp, where art emerges in its simplest expression.
In the Mediterranean Sea in winter, a hand holds out a bouquet in the icy water, the fertile sea is also deadly lately. Eros and Thanatos come together, amorous ardor and mortuary homage are two sides of the same mirror. In an attempt at love by torchlight, a naked body throws itself off a cliff, tomb of the diver or inextinguishable passion? The moment is in suspense, an unresolved space subject to the projections of the viewer. Grace, fall and rebound – or not, are part of the whole thing. Bodies carry a stone under the troubled surface of a lake, the emergence of a new Atlantis or the Sisyphean perspective of an inevitable landslide after yet another attempt? The artist and his acolytes bring their stone to the visual edifice.
Benoît Barbagli is the sherpa of the mountain, he transports his paintings there so that the latter can create. He removes the museumification of the woman’s body by returning it to the earth. He picks up the spark igniting the beam. He walks on the Anthropocene by questioning the stars, born of chaos.
Presentation by Pulchérie Galmer
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.