Through the Wormhole (gallery Laure Roynette and La Ruche)
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR, our ideological system thought, for a time, to hold its victory. That some like Francis Fukuyama may have thought the end of history is a symptom. Of course, events were to continue, but the world’s march towards liberal and democratic consensus was underway and nothing was to stop it. It was the end of the dialectic of history, only one immortal system had to survive it. With the new millennium, history was only to become a continuum.
Almost thirty years later, things have changed. Democratic systems tremble, they falter, worried by internal and external perils. Doubt that produces withdrawal (embodied by the virulent debate between nationalists and globalists), or openness. A critical opening, an examination of values. Post-modernism had begun this work of re-examining the history and history of art, but only in the light of modernism. All the hegemonic foundations of our culture are currently being called into question, some secular. Those of a Western culture in its orientation, notably historical, capitalist in its economy, bourgeois in its social character, white in its racial aspect, masculine for its dominant sex.
The artists of the double exhibition Wormholes (first occurrence at the Laure Roynette gallery, the second at La Ruche) place themselves in this context. Small semantic precision. A wormhole, in physics, is a hypothetical object that would connect two sheets or two distinct regions of space-time, as a kind of shortcut. Poetically, we can apply this concept to the work of artists consciously mixing, in a tangible or symbolic way, different spaces-time in their work, as a shortcut linking two distinct regions/epoques of art – or rather human representations. The concept of wormhole also conveys all the iconography of the cosmos. Iconography that is running at full speed these days, in fiction (especially in cinema) as in reality, with the reactivation of an era of space conquests, with Mars in sight. In all, it is an exhibition conceived as an experiment on time and space by Mathieu Weiler and myself.
The relationship between art and history is rich, of course. An artist emerges from centuries of submerged creations. Traditions, inspirations and reference games have forged subtle links in the history of forms and artists have long taken hold of the question of time. The Renaissance looked towards Antiquity, the pre-Raphaelites towards the Italian primitives, Derain, Picasso, Matisse towards African art and the Surrealists towards the oceanic, then Post-Modernism initiated a critical reflection on history, etc. And artists soon found solutions to evoke time in a space in two dimensions (canvas) or three (sculpture), be it history (the ideologization of time), or duration (its perception). However, the will to mix, even to confront, different space-time is recent. Wormholes. Plastically, this gesture has two grandparents, the collage or assemblage of Hannah Höch (as a selection and recomposition of pre-existing, recontextualized cultural contents), and Duchamp’s ready-made (which led the artists to question themselves more deeply on the symbolism proper to the objects they use). The wormholes are formalized in a wide range of gestures. Some make assemblages or collages, like Tim Stokes, who hybrid African masks gleaned from fleas with Roman busts moulds. Others reuse ancient objects. This is the case of Jean-Marc Cérino, who uses old 19th century leaves to draw supremacist motifs, or Léo Dorfner who reuses old engravings to add tattoos, often the emblems of rock and rap groups. Gabriel Léger, with a mirror, Nicolas Tourte, with a brick pierced by a delicate staircase or Pascal Convert, with books cast in glass, also reuse objects for their symbolic and historical charge. Others use the illusion of drawing, painting or photography, Hughes Dubois, Laurent Grasso, Hyppolite Hentgen or Mathieu Weiler, to play with modes of representation or reuse fragments of the past or pop culture.
If these gestures become widespread, it is also not appropriate to cry out for radical novelty. One can credit Aby Warburg for being the first to develop”tunnel thinking” in the first half of the 20th century. Shortly before him had had the audacity to bring together realities as distant (in time and space) as the ritual of the serpent of the Hopi Indians and the flower bearer of The Birth of St. John the Baptist of Ghirlandaio in Santa Maria Novella (Florence). All this while passing by bas-reliefs of menades, located in Rome. The approach initiated with this conference, Aby Warburg has deepened it with the Atlas Mnémosyne where he detected in the Renaissance the survivors of the forms of the pathos stemming from Antiquity. A memory mapping project. Later, Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Venus with rags (1967), a pile of colorful clothes and a cement statue molded on the basis of an antique Venus model, could provide an example of a primitive wormhole.
In a wormhole, the image plays with its model. It gives access to an absent reality, which it symbolically evokes, while veiling the awareness of this reality. It’s an image of images. These connections between symbols from elsewhere, from a bygone or future time, are most often made to illuminate the present. Without taking any risks, we can assume that this will to join, relatively recent, was carried by the globalization of exchanges, the multiplication of images and their wider diffusion. These wormholes are the witnesses of a future of the world, where identity becomes liquid and plural, where history becomes rhizome rather than root, where hierarchies (cultural, gender…) are abolished.
With Wormholes, the gallery Laure Roynette and La Ruche welcome an experience on time and our present in the light of a reconstructed past or a future premonitory. The spatial aspect of the wormhole is not ignored with Emmanuel Régent’s great space paintings, Caroline Le Méhauté’s delicately crumpled cosmos, Fabien Léaustic’s utopian maps or Brankica Zilovic’s glitchy fabric universes. These artists represent, that is, make present, the cosmos and utopian or non-existent spaces, out of time. Thus, Wormholes opens itself to an even greater relativity, that of the place of our history, of our present and of time itself, in short the place of the human in reality, and its mystery. A mystery as great as a passage through a wormhole.
Laure Roynette Gallery, Paris
Clément Thibault & Mathieu Weiler police station.
15 March – 21 April 2018
La Ruche, Paris
Clément Thibault & Mathieu Weiler police station.
27 April – 6 May 2018
More Contemporary art articles
MORE ARTICLES FOR YOU