One, Two, Three… Labanque! (Part 1)
Three exhibitions, three mediums, three artists open this spring season from LaBanque to Béthune. Three exhibitions which, despite narrative differences, have one point in common, the in-between. Between presence and absence with a play of space time for Pierre Ardouvin. Between strength and fragility for Rachel Labastie. Between here and elsewhere, fiction and reality for Brian Griffin.
From March 17 to July 15, 2018, LaBanque, a visual arts production and distribution centre, installed as its name suggests in the former Banque de France de Béthune, is offering three monographic exhibitions that are the fruit of the encounter between artists, a territory and a place.
Brian Griffin proposes us with“Between here and nowhere” a photographic and enigmatic adventure in this northern territory where the residues of the last world conflicts, the working people and an agricultural land dedicated to the potato mix.
The place inspired Pierre Ardouvin to create a giant installation that invites us into a totally crazy story, inspired by his literary influences and artistic references. “Return from Abyssinia” is a walk from the depths of the earth to the depths of the soul.
“Rachel Labastie‘s”From the Appearance of Things, Chapter VI, Of Strength” disrupts the quiet force field of the bank’s bourgeois apartments. With her soft terracotta sculptures, her terracotta fires, her forearms stretched by mover’s straps, she summons a certain nomadism.
This never (between)-two without three dense exhibitions that LaBanque offers us makes us take the path of coastal smugglers, of our certainties. Where there’s not just one truth.
I offer you today an overview of Pierre Ardouvin’s exhibition and tomorrow we will visit the exhibitions of Rachel Labastie and Brian Griffin.
Stone ardouvin”return from abyssinia”
Faithful to his practice Pierre Ardouvin reveals the hidden part of our cultural fossils, of what”lies” in them of the collective and individual memory. He expresses fantasies, memories, renunciations and dreams with melancholy and humour through sculptures, installations, retouched images and drawings.
Pierre Ardouvin invests the great plateau of Labanque as well as its basements. When one arrives on the set, the first thing that attracts the eye in this semi-darkness are jewels of junk that litter the ground here and there. We have the impression to arrive after a heist where everything went in a spin, a kind of”every bad trip” robbery version. Reinforced impression when one prolongs the glance and when one sees feet hidden behind thick curtains with printed caves.
The route of the exhibition voluntarily free is in the form of a stroll. The works can be seen as a whole or separate from each other. Forming a whole in an ephemeral configuration linked to the place and time of the exhibition, they are linked together by the visual (jewellery) and sound installation.
Beyond these curtains that represent caves, semi-darkness, precious stones on the ground, we quickly realize that we are finally in a cave more mysterious than it seems. We are drawn into the depths of the imagination and a game of presence/absence. A few details confirm that the story is more complex.
A replica made in 3D printer of the Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval is enthroned on another replica, that of the wooden stretcher designed by Rimbaud who carried it back from Abyssinia. Utopia while travelling? Rimbaud and Le Facteur Cheval have created masterly works without having travelled. Rimbaud will travel after writing his work. Two internal journeys born from a dazzling and a dream from elsewhere.
Just opposite a carpet represents the abyss of Padirac, which, seen from the inside below, opens onto the sky. The perspective is reversed. From the ceiling to the floor hangs a column of costume jewellery that looks like a rope to escape or a geyser frozen in time. All this leads us into a dream where escape and fall, anguish and wonder mingle. We are suspended in an indefinite time space, the landmarks are all modified, with an upside-down effect of two parallel worlds facing each other. The depths of the earth facing the inner depths.
Pierre Ardouvin is passionate about science fiction literature and takes us on a journey through the meanders of imagination and dreams, a two-sided vision pursued by the paintings exhibited in the next room, the only truly illuminated room of this Return from Abyssinia. This series of paintings is composed of inverted reproductions of postcards from the 60s in glaring colours linked in them by a game of painting by the artist; some are sequined in the manner of Christmas cards. An assembly close to the automatic writing around the theme of the memory.
In the archives room in the basement we are in the underworld with flashes launched by a set of strobe lights whose lightning form remains engraved in our retinal memory. Also in the basement, two other major works by Pierre Ardouvin were reactivated for the occasion. For the first, we enter the reproduction of a doctor’s waiting room of the 60s which, like an Egyptian tomb, would be a piece of archaeology. The second, Les larmes de Oum Kalsoum, in the centre of a room, a fountain made with a small pool for children. This work has a poetic and political dimension. Water sings along with the bewitching voice of Oum Kalsoum, a journey that takes us to the Middle East with his dream of freedom.
Between the jewels, the memories, the lightning, the sculptures homage to science fiction and the heroïc-fantasy of which the artist is a fan, finally this journey takes us in the creative and fantastic universe of Pierre Ardouvin himself. A stunning journey!
Pierre Ardouvin ” Retour D’abyssinie ” (Return from the Deep)
Rachel Labastie “The Appearance Of Things, Chapter Vi, Of Strengths”
Brian Griffin “Between Here And Nowhere”
From March 17 to July 15, 2018
44, place Georges Clémenceau
Open every day from 14h to 18h30
Closed May 1st
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