ICI EN EXCÈS SUR TOUTE PRÉSENCE
HERE IN EXCESS OF ANY PRESENCE
CRIANT: 'POURQUOI TU GARDES?'
ET 'POURQUOI TU JETTES?'
textes, en français
texts, in english
parutions / publications
UN OEUF, UN CAILLOU, UN CHAT,
AN EGG, A STONE, A CAT
LA PROSE DU MONDE
THE PROSE OF THE WORLD
LES BARICADES MISTÉRIEUSES
THE MYSTERIOUS BARRICADES
Press Release, Isabel Martinez Abascal, february 2016
Galerie Michel Rein, Paris 3è
19/03 - 07/05/2016
"I stretched out in the grass, my skull on a large, flat rock and my eyes staring straight up at the Milky Way, that strange breath of astral sperm and heavenly urine across the cranial vault formed by the ring of constellations: (...) a broken egg, a broken eye, or my own dazzled skull weighing down the rock, bouncing symmetrical images back to infinity."
Georges Bataille, Story of the eye, 1928
The fragile structure of Margaux Bricler's first personal exhibition originated from a dedication signed in a book. On an almost blank page, a swift and mysterious hand left a triptych of names, functioning like metaphores open to interpretation: An egg, a pebble, a cat.
Bricler, whose past artistic trajectory was close to minimalism, takes root this time in the fields of poetic evocation and matter and brings together around ten works, each belonging to a series begun in 2014, la prose du monde (the prose of the world). The artist uses an aesthetic in which a contemporary, almost surreal romanticism blends with many allusions to the iconography of the Quattrocento and the codes of alchemy; that philosophical discipline which combines physics, astrology, philology, semiotics, spirituality and art.
The repetition of notions and objects, which is deliberately present in the exhibition, gives rise to a curious obsession with the role that chance has to play in our lives. From the organisation of the universe to the impossible position of two dice thrown on a tray, to untameable and capricious love, everything seems to be ruled by secret laws that the artist's works can make visible through epiphany. It seems that we are being told: It's at the precise point where language becomes obsolete for the delivery of an instable and hidden content that art arises. Art materialises itself here as a vital game, cosa mentale, that the spectator must dare to play on his turn.
To give us luck, the artist simultaneously presents three works involving dice.
The first - La prose du monde #2 (about luck), 2014- transforms the usual logic of the perfect cube which may fall with equal probability on any one of its sides. It features a pair of dice exhibiting a seventh side, a red triangle extruding from the mass. On a vast tray, a square of the same red suggests a possible rule to us; matching the three red surfaces in a difficult balance.
The second suggested game - La prose du monde #14 (∞), 2016 - consists of five azurite dice, a mineral with a high copper content, widely used in the mediaeval and renaissance periods to obtain the blue pigment for heavenly frescos. On one side of each of the dice, an 18kt gold inscription delicately displays the constellation of the Little Dipper, in which can be found the North Star, indicating the geographical north. Next to it a map of the sky - that of 17th December 1985 at 10:45pm - reproduces on the same scale the projection of the constellations whilst giving rise to that of Septentrion: here we understand that a tiny possibility exists to cast the perfect throw to make the dice land on the one possibly correct disposition on the Little Dipper.
Finally some dice made of bone and incidentally rolled invoke an impossible melody on a blank music score in La prose du monde #15 (Euterpe & Tyché), 2016.
Furthermore, this triptych is in some way repeated by La prose du monde #16 (403.291.461.126.605.635.584.000.000 combinations), 2016, a pack of 26 cards on which the numbers have been replaced by letters. The possible permutations between these lettered cards surpass by over one million billion the number of stars in the Milky Way. Amongst this astronomic quantity, just one combination reveals the love
story marking the whole exhibition.
The video La prose du monde #10 (the signatures), 2015-2016, is supported by a text by Michel Foucault taken from The Order of Things in which the author exposes the mediaeval theory of resemblances, those that linked the macrocosm to the microcosm. In the intertwining of spectacular extracts of NASA space missions with certain photograms of Andrei Tarkovski's Stalker and with zoom shots of moles, the subjugation of a body to the planet Saturn is revealed. An air by Antonio Vivaldi supports the narrator's voice in a delicate and elegant balance.
Resting on a pillow are two stones whose shape and dimensions remind us of two skulls; they seem to converse:
Are you sleeping my love?
For as long as I can remember,
Do you love me?
For all eternity,
This timeless dialogue in La prose du monde #17 (the Prosopopoeia), 2016, cannot be anything but our own need to generalise our language to inanimate elements, everything or nothing.
The work most marked by surrealism in the exhibition is without a doubt La prose du monde #18 (an egg, en eye), 2016. A disparate collection is governed by an object which evokes an egg as much as it does an eye, in an inevitable emergence of Bataillien eroticism. Perched on a sort of tripod of human stature, the egg-eye seems to be personified. Through it we can see, in a wooden frame, a small black volcanic rock, also in the shape of an egg and an enigmatic cliché in which the face of a nude woman is covered by a cats' body.
There is no stable and subjacent signified in all of the works; they possess the evocative power to waken ineffable connections in each visitor. The signs which constellate the exhibition are cast with a more or less direct intention, in order to be filled up with meanings, in excess, as we are used to doing in our own daily lives. The same can be said of the photograph of the dedication in the book, La prose du monde #13 (last known portrait), 2015-2016.
Here the echo of Foucault's words returns: "Yet, maybe we would be able to come through all this marvellous swelling of resemblances, without even a doubt that it has been prepared for a long time by the order of the world and for our greatest benefit (...)". Actually, everything indicates that Bricler's sensitivity and memory-rife outlook invites us and guides us in our experience of wondering through the exhibition "an egg, a pebble, a cat". Straight away it is time for us to give ourselves up to this universe woven of correspondences, tasting the meeting between the magic and the scientific and the measure of every person's desire.
A long time ago a certain Roman uttered the phrase ALEA IACTA EST before the Senate. If we literally translate it, it's not fate but the dice that are cast. This translation balances out the cosmologic proportion of the difference between dice, chance and fate.
Isabel Martinez Abascal (Madrid, 1984) is an architect, curator and art critic. She currently lives in Mexico City, where she directs the LIGA platform, Space for Architecture. She and her companion Alessandro Arienzo are initiated by the architecture agency LANZA Atelier.
Edouard Montassut, art critics and curator, april 2014
Or how to simply translate a work partly articulated on the notion of traduction
Margaux Bricler easily admits she feels uneasy with univocal pieces of art, the ones that contain there own theory and only open few potentialities to those who are looking at them. In that sense, her artistic practice is more articulated on the notion of translating, a process that makes the works able to generate constellations of significations.
She, for instance, plays with the principles of equivalence in a serie titled ‘the inseparables (lovebirds)’, in which some strange objects are put close in each others context: a dildo and a led pipe (two onanisms, 2013), a clean mirror close to a dirty one (two self conditions, 2013), two bird cages of which the first one hosts a turtledove, the second contains its weight in the shape of a brass mass (the bird and its reciproque mass, 2013).
In this emulation of resemblance, a simultaneity of what is primitive and what is built is operating; where the pieces carry an equivocal silence behind their appearing void.
Behind this almost shamanistic conceptualism —openly relied to Joseph Beuys, she may invite the viewer to wonder about the feeling of uncanny that could issue from some of my pieces. She rather trusts these objects to stand for different conditions of the body and of the world, that I point out as ‘diseases’ (psychic, as could be the melancholy, in that perspective). A political statement then, that underlines what a human being can receive and feel, and thus an artist, in his desire to return what is affecting him.
Didier Semin, december 2012
Margaux Bricler : in the black mirror
The black mirror–besides being an inexhaustible source of metaphors–is a real object that in Ancient Times was made by polishing and obsidian plate that reflected, as wrote Pliny the Elder, “the shadow rather than the real image of objects”. What the young pale-skinned woman in Arnold Böcklin’s Melancholia, who occupies the place held by the angel in Dürer’s pioneer etching on the same theme, is her reflection in a black mirror, i.e. her portrait in the realm of shadows.
Margaux Bricler has always viewed herself in this way.
Her first self-portrait, all the days of the artist’s life marked off within her silhouette, of 2010, resembles a shadow projected on the wall via the rays of the slanting sun, revealing someone looking carefully at the dark lugubrious fabric that it embodies–a series of six vertical charcoal marks stroked off with a seventh horizontal line, a graphic replication of a week, on apprehensive calendars that prisoners chalk on their cell walls. The second, created in 2011, is a pyramid of planting soil of exactly the same weight as the artist (a pyramid is a heap enhanced into a dignified monument, a crystallized defeat, a powerful head-on evocation death...). In the third, only the title is peaceable: margaux bricler, disguised as a baby, disguised as a salmon...(readers rest assured: the capital letters have not been overlooked in these titles–Margaux Bricler, in line with the avant-garde traditions that are seldom respected nowadays, is not amused when some letters play at being generals while others are considered commonplace soldiers, so she democratically equalizes them). What is cuter than a baby, than a salmon? This may be so in educational textbooks, perhaps–but here the baby is a figure of confusion, thrown into the world without explanation, without words to formulate the question "hence why is there being instead of nothing", nor the plethora of insults that Heidegger would not have stolen entirely; the salmon swims against the current, regardless of its force without, as far as we know, being aware of what triggers this countercurrent struggle. Baby, salmon, an allegory of the artist’s melancholy: helpless, like a baby, the artist insists on dealing with reality, like a salmon. Margaux Bricler now reflects this dual facetted view, which is contradictory and heralded as such, on the uselessness of everything but still with the need to invent. She has now shifted her attention to the world within the black mirror where she had first tried to decipher her own features–the obsidian plate reveals many things, including a sundial exposed to the unchanging light shed by a bulb, on a sooty black background where no shadows fall, the diary of a heartache made up of pharmaceutical notices of ebbing severity, glued end-to-end, an ill-timed ballot box that accidentally destroys ballots as they are inserted (in French, the word urne means both a ballot box and a burial urn–does this bode well for the future of universal suffrage?)... Time, love and politics are seen to be of little help.
However, in the objects in which Margaux Bricler sets aside time and her distress, we cannot perceive any complacency towards destitution or despondency. They are accurate, clearcut and sharp, as if illuminated by the lack of horizon. Anyone who does not believe in much has the power of fate, and an attachment to melancholy, which becomes a companion. No contemporary images better illustrate amor fati (love of fate), the erotic, active and proud form of despair (to which Nietzsche repeatedly refers in his famous modern writings) than this photograph of the artist tenderly embracing a compact opaque block–the polyhedron we see in Dürer’s Melencolia I that was solidly replicated from the drawings of Professor Niemann reproduced by Panofsky (later blackened by the smoke from an Easter candle...). Despite the temptation, Corneille’s obscure clarté (dark brightness) is not dragged out of the archives, which is regretful–this notion would, despite the artist’s young age, beautifully portray Margaux Bricler’s already substantial body of work.