A2Z Art Gallery is proud and happy to open the door to Io and Jupiter, a poetic and surreal world thought by the French artists Karine Rougier and Clara Rivault.
Reunited for the first time in Paris, the feminine duo show highlights platic questions about evolving corps which shape under constraints and pressures of sacred and intangible time and the laws of physics, gravity and space.
'The world of art is not which of immortality,it is the one of metamorphosis.'
— André Malraux (Antimémoires, 1967)
As well shown by the masterpiece painted by Le Corrège around 1532–1533, Io and Jupiter are two bodies: the one of a woman and of a man, of a mortal being and of a God, the one of a flesh body and of a transparent swarm. Reported in Metamorphosis written by the Latin poet Ovide in the first century of our era, Io and Jupiter's story symbolises the erotic and carnal meeting between the divine and terrestrial worlds, between the breath and the material. Prose poems, theatre of transformations of living beings into objects, animals or plants, the myth embodies an endless inspiration for numerous artists.
Appearing to accomplish rituals of transformation, dressed up creatures, half man and half animal parade in the fantastic universe of Karine Rougier. At the same time, Clara Rivault shapes and transforms the material: steel, wood and glass become inhabited by a breath of life. The two artists resonate with French philosopher Michel Foucault's ideas: 'metamorphosis only translate love and death: they ensure life's victory by pairing beings of all species or they cheat death by transforming the living from a shape to another'.
These transformations are built through interplays with the material: wood is the support of Karine Rougier's heightened engravings as it is the source of creation for Clara Rivault. Clara's blown glass is echoing to the transparence, sometimes magical, of several elements painted by Karine Rougier. Both play with the material's constraints: how does a corp react to pressure? The material seems to twist and stretch in Clara's work, whereas the human beings of Karine float, standing on clouds.
Aware of the passage of time, Karine Rougier revisits old rituals relying on old documents, books and engravings which belonged to her family. Questioning the relations between the living and the shape, material and space, Clara Rivault pairs objects of more than a hundred years old, some 'ready-made' that she considered inhabited by a soul. Highly influenced by Japanese spirituality, Clara petrifies wood with fire, using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique to joint it to a cristalised and delicate breath. Constrained and united, her androgynous sculptures release a tension in balance, breakable only by the human hand.
Thus, the two artists are asking us on the notions of fragility, balance and tension: who are we, humans, in the middle of the forces of the universe?
Press release courtesy A2Z Art Gallery.