the sublimated nature all “azimuth” at the Eva Vautier Gallery
Michel Gathier

#NICE Often a group exhibition is reduced to the juxtaposition of works resulting from an opportunity of circumstance. A unifying theme is not always enough to construct a narrative loaded with a concept and form to the point where the narrative scheme itself becomes unreadable. The interest of the “Azimuth” exhibition Beyond the quality and relevance of the pieces exhibited, lies in their staging through a common approach. It would be more appropriate to speak of “walking” since the project was born from a mountain hike by seven artists, each of whom reports here a testimony through very diverse practices. Some explicitly refer to the idea of nature, others to memory, to the collective or to wanderings out of the way, and why not to the sea. Anne-Laure Wuillai offers us pieces of extreme purity in the pulsating waves or the deep silence of the water. The story of white and blue between saturation and disappearance. It is therefore a question for all these artists to restore a human and aesthetic experience, to write a common history.

The challenge is perfectly met: the works are grafted together without interruption and, on the contrary, the personality of each one plays on the register of the marvellous so subtle is the assembly and is sometimes enriched even by the fact of its incongruity. Camille Frach-Guerra manages to weave a thread between the spaces of the gallery and the works by playing with light, the wide range of formats, memories, an insignificant thing, a snail shell for example, and especially the reminder of journeys in which biography is mixed with documentary. The staging becomes a show in itself and, here, the works never cease to challenge each other, to confront each other but above all to smile. A story of friendships, irony and differences. Omar Rodriguez Sanmartin leaves young tree shoots in the black neutrality of their plastic pots, which are measured by the horizontality of the blade of an axe. This poignant humility, a metaphor for life and death, calls out to the spectator from the window in the street where other trees are reflected. Space expands, all over the place, between reality and reverie. We meet strange architectures that are realized by 3D printer (Florent Testa), immersive photographs in a dreamlike nature or in their spontaneity towards an ironic return to the origins (Benoît Barbagli). The landscape is a construction of the mind, there is in it writing, the fragment, the unfinished, even the void in reverse of the thought that would have given rise to it. This is what Evan Bourgeau is developing while Tom Barbagli is exploring it from improbable objects. Conviviality is essential here in these times when, in art as elsewhere, individualism dominates. In this real nature, dreamed or sublimated, a touch of nostalgia then appears. Doesn’t this quest for nature like a lost paradise also speak of a loss of our humanity?


Azimutha group exhibition with Benoît Barbagli, Tom Barbagli, Evan Bourgeau, Camille Franch-Guerra, Omar Rodriguez Sanmartin, Florent Testa, Anne- Laure Wuillai

13 April-28 May 2019

Eva Vautier Gallery

2 Rue Vernier, 06000 Nice