the Chagall Museum invites Clément Cogitore
#NICE The posterity of a painter is not so much based on a legacy as on the vitality of the ramifications he has suggested to other artists who will succeed him. Thus Clément Cogitorethe holder of the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2018 and one of the most promising creators of today, is measured against Chagall’s work but in a completely different way. To the painter’s profession and hand, he responds with the eye of the photographer and videographer. Faced with the colourful exuberance of his predecessor, Clément Cogitore imposes the dramaturgy of a muffled monochrome. Two worlds, near and far, rubbed shoulders on the picture rails of the Chagall Museum in Nice for the same fascination with the relationship between men and their mythology
For the painter, Judaism represented a founding narrative from which the imaginary took hold of reality and impregnated it with a profound humanism in which daily life, that of the most humble, granted on this earth the promise of a flight to a paradise. To this airy and happy verticality, Cogitore opposes a telluric horizontality, a retreat towards the darker zones of humanity: The earth is only this bubbling element where man is seized in his original strength. Humanity only surrenders itself to the informal energy of the crowd. The individual blends into a human magma from which the mythology of a primitive land is dulled. There is nothing more than a distant shadow in these works where we find both the Lascaux cave and desert photographs where the mineral mixes with military uniforms left on the ground, barely perceptible, like envelopes emptied of their human content. This other horizontality again, with a slow travelling, in the video “Passages”, which acts by a cut of lights revealing the skeleton of an ancient architecture and religious objects abandoned to their only repetition. The story remains open, incomplete. He proceeds by fragments, clues, memory flanges that always raise other possible chapters
We are then confronted with the boundaries of the visible. The real narrative is located in an off-camera area that the artist keeps pointing out. Everything is at stake in this troubled place, staged only by the effects it produces. A night blue grabs this space which is now allusive. A smoke mist makes the scene moving and spreads like the memory of a primitive blaze, an invisible centre, a fire around which men would confide in the only trance of a wild or saving dance. Clément Cogitore searches time in all its corners as if to unearth its myths and archetypes, to expose the earth, the sky and the fire. From art, he extracts the long journey of painting from which he extracts iconic figures, mannerist gestures and the drape of chiaroscuro. Somewhere, perhaps, the man emerges from it by hypothetical fulgurations, in the effervescence of the night. To Chagall’s men who are already angels saved by love, Clément Cogitore opposes beings still caught in the anguish of a primitive clay. As if he knew there would never be angels until he became a man.
From May 11 to October 22
Avenue Docteur Ménard
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