The most famous myth about the birth of painting is probably the one told by Pliny theElder in his Natural History c. 75 AD: the story of Dibutade's daughter, the young womanwho drew the outline of her lover's shadow in charcoal on the wall of her house before heleft for a long journey, capturing his silhouette to give his presence the illusion of eternity.This woman, whose first name Pliny omits to mention, was the first painter in history. Koraof Sicyon—her actual name—created painting as an antidote to absence and disappearance,and invented an art whose necessity has been continually affirmed ever since.
It is to this woman that we owe the invention of representation, the form we give to theimpossibility of forgetting. Kora of Sicyon thus made it possible to offer an ultimateattention, a final light to an image before it disappears, this famous 'feeling of light' ofwhich the poet and painter Etel Adnan speaks. All the artists, historical and contemporary,gathered and invited by Almine Rech for this exhibition have a shared dedication to thatparticular light produced by a work of art. This light that allows us to imagine other worlds,spaces and landscapes that are more free, more ambiguous, more daring and fluid thanthose we know, places where human and non-human beings meet to write new stories andforge new relationships. This light that moves towards the most vulnerable, the mostoverlooked, the least recognised, to bring them, finally, out of the shadows. A light thatlingers on these scenes of contemporary society and captures what it does to us, with itsdeification of consumption, production, and accumulation. A light that turns to the femalebody and what is done to it, from its hypersexualisation to a possible liberation fromarchetypes, emphasising a vision of a powerful woman, in control of her body. Femalebeauty is here granted the leisure to be distant, indifferent, unusual, and subversive. Thisfreedom can also be expressed through the self-portrait. Many works embrace humour as anemancipatory territory, in which laughter, the grotesque, the caricatural, or the monstroustransform the frameworks of our perceptions.
The subject of innocence as it has been expressed throughout the history of art, and inparticular through the motif of the still life, is invoked here and offered new properties, celebrating the power of the beings who inhabit our daily lives, their delicate and so often unnoticed presence. Finally, it is possible that this light lands on a still unknown language,traces whose history has not yet been deciphered. As if our signs and languages weren'tconvincing enough to express the infinite subtlety of the impressions and emotions thatinhabit the living. The exhibition Feeling of light illuminates a certain state of our world,constantly expanded and reinvented by the energy of the women who create it, ever sinceKora of Sicyon first shed light on it.
Press release courtesy Almine Rech. Text: Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel
Abdijstraat 20 Rue de l'Abbaye
+32 264 856 84
Tues - Sat, 11am - 7pm