60e Salon de Montrouge

60th Salon de Montrouge

Marie de Brugerolle

Amélie Giacomini and Laura Sellies have been working together for several years. Their collaboration is rooted in a post-performative practice that questions the scenic object, the film as a performative device, language as a tool and contemporary mythologies. Their rereading and interpretation of modernity viewed as a film script allow them to establish a critical reciprocity with the forms that preceded them. Part sculpture part bio-objects, the bodies at work seem to alternate between the sculptural posture, the harmony of gestures and pure action, conveying a complex work. Sometimes based on novels, the titles of their installations/​performances tell stories, like Une partie indivisible de sa scénographie aquatique (2013); or literally announce what we see, as in Le fond bleu (2014), Pente inclinée (2014) or Fond et sa sculpture dissimulée (2014). While shapes play with the ambiguity that makes them appear midway between the decorative furniture, minimalist geometric elements and televised accessories, the colours used by Laura Sellies and Amélie Giacomini often come from popular culture. Acid or saturated hues clash with the materials used.

The installation created for the Salon of Montrouge takes into account the conditions of the exhibitions, posing the question of the module. Viewed from the perspective of Adolf Loos’ modernist architecture and criticism of the ornament, we might consider the use of the colour pink and of the mirror as a camp critique of this economy of modernist space. The functionality of the materials privileged by the Austrian architect is juxtaposed with an economy of desire that summons the gaze as a vector of movement, dislocation and direction. The two artists engage in a post-performative reading of the house for Josephine Baker, a utopic structure imagined by the architect in 1928, the heart of which was a glass swimming pool. The very transparency of this basin disrupts the notions of high and low, as the body of the actress swimming would have been visible from both the ground floor and upstairs. The artist’s body becomes the surface for the projection, like a film screen. Between statue and model, image and sculpture, the young woman that animates the artwork comes to life like the work of Pygmalion. If by animating the work the young woman endows it with life, when she disappears she becomes in her turn a ghost, an image. Her stunning body and her expressionless face give her a strangeness that raises doubts as to the reality of her presence. She is a reflection herself. A sculpture/​canopy is hung from a picture rail. Behind it, the enlarged photograph of the surface of water looks like something out of a science fiction movie. The rectangular wall has a mirror-like effect and could reflect the body moving, the people passing by, the spectators and the performers, depending on the angle… This is Lake Retba, in Senegal, where the water is pink because of the concentration of a bacterium that produces red pigment. On the ground, in front of the wall, there is a slightly trapezoidal shape, a plaster sculpture. The spectator is included in the image along with the young woman and the decor formed by the vertical image and the bleached soil. The imaginary projection, the desire to see and the troubling sensation sparked by the recognition of familiar signs coincide to establish a dialogue between what is known and what is dreamt. 

Published in the exhibition catalog of the 60th Salon de Montrouge, May 2015.