Attempt to describe ‘Une partie indivisible de sa scénographie aquatique [An indivisible part of aquatic scenery]’, action with sculptures conceived by Amélie Giacomini and Laura Sellies, June 2014.

Attempt to describe ‘Une partie indivisible...

Bastien Gallet

We would like to be able to talk about the sculpture-performances of Amélie Giacomini and Laura Sellies without first describing them. Because we cannot describe them without deviating into other subjects. Yet how can we talk about what looks like an entirely new game between sculptures and a body if we forbid ourselves from reproducing the works in this text?

Let’s try.

We see objects inhabiting a space that could be a lobby, if it weren’t for the scattered spectators. From far away the objects look like emissaries exchanging their pleasantries. We tell ourselves that the kings that they represent will come later. Closer, the objects become sculptures. They are strangely arranged. They are too close together not to be secretly linked, outlining a disorienting scene. We come still closer. It’s difficult to find the right vantage point. Wherever we are, something is missing, something blurs, something disappears behind a section of wall, a side, an edge. The spectator moves around cautiously. He has the impression that the sculptures observe him, whisper about him, talk behind his back. A body arrives, surreptitiously, a swimmer or a dancer. Her swimsuit is red or midnight blue. She crosses the scene, caresses a spine, moves along a side, calms the chamberlains, organizes the apparent disorder along a new goal that is gripping, inescapable. The sculptures begin to breathe. The woman raises her body, her movements are precise and refined. She turns along an axis, she becomes a gymnast, she swims in the air. Following her movements, the spectator revolves around an object. A polished and tinted glass pane hides the woman for a moment. She is on her stomach, stretched on a tall piece of tiled wall, her arms and legs reach toward the ceiling, a perfect curve. The scene could freeze in this completeness. The spectator does not dare move, afraid that if he moves everything will crack, fall, scatter. The body shakes a bit, releases her limbs, breaks her line; the sculptures breathe, take up more space, whisper quickly; the body erases itself, leaves the scene. Slowly, the spectator returns to himself. He looks at the indifferent objects, happy to have been – even if barely – a part of what has just happened. He wonders what they might do or say once he has left the space. What is exhibited here?’ he hears as he leaves. The question barely grazes him. He will come back tomorrow. For tomorrow the event, this event, will repeat.

Some comments.

The objects are sculptures, but they become a setting when the body crosses through them. The performer’s movements transform the sculptures into partners; their sense and their arrangement wait for the performer’s clarification, for her enhancement. Yet the sculptures exist on their own. They become other when the event begins. The perfect example of plasticity. This is why the actions composed by Amélie Giacomini and Laura Sellies are also sculpture exhibitions. We would prefer to use the word instances’. An instance where their strangeness is complete. Another where the body’s movements are thrown into relief. Nothing is revealed, everything changes, the instance’ is one of potential drama, a theater that is mute, mysterious, inhabited by object-spectators. We, who are also there, wait for this moment of deviation. Then the dancer leaves and the sculptures resume their pose, return to their loneliness. We believe we have seen them wake. Retrospective illusion. Art’s effect. 

June 2014.