A work of art is invariably a chunk of the world, whether real or “imagined”, carved out according to a form. And what better form could there be to frame the world than a window? At the invitation of young curator Henri Guette, 12 artists took a well-known window: the one designed by Mallet-Stevens for the Hotel des Roches Noires in Trouville and which is part of a recurring theme for Marguerite Dura, a frequent visitor to the area. Each artist was allotted one of the window’s 12 sections which consequently dictated the shape of their design. However, they were given free reign with the remainder of the window. Such a challenge meant there would probably be something to arouse the curiosity of visitors to Vitrine 65, a modest gallery. The artist’s efforts did not disappoint; they produced an abundance of diversity as well as a whole series of unexpected connections that combined independently designed underground pieces featuring a variety of techniques and visual cultures.
Depicting a window opening to maritime skies naturally meant that many of the artist’s entries were predominantly blue in colour. Aranthell displayed delicacy and humor in using the fog as a theme, while Simon Martin played with the opacities and transparencies of the pictorial material which simultaneously concealed and revealed a human body. Next to them, Nathanaëlle Herbelin worked with a more subdued range of colours to create a strange and vaguely ominous window within a window. It is difficult to determine if the sun is rising or setting, the blue is totally consumed by the pink… At first glance, it is impossible to ignore the roundness of Cécilia Granara’s figures, which are very dynamic and characteristic of Indian traditions. Just below, the palette is restored in Guillaume Linard-Osori’s altarpiece achieved by breathing colour into the slim grooves of a polycarbonate. Fabio Romano’s Vierge Patiente is also pink and glittery; while it may be possible to distinguish a face somewhere in the piece, the artist was probably thinking more about the constellations and the distant lights that are visible through windows at night. Finally, pink is also the colour of Claire Vaudrey’s “workshop scene”, a play on the legacy of patterns, themes, shapes and objects that contribute to the legend of the artist while also interacting with the Johann Larnouhet’s age-old law of perspective.
Primarily because of its warm tones, Christine Safa’s immense pane brings to mind trips to even more distant places (India song…) Henri Guette also chose to place this piece alongside an amazing work of ink on glass from Justin Weiler whose material effects are fascinating. Weiler’s dark hues complement the black border framing one of France Parsus’ large white pieces like a window opening onto a dream. Kai-Chung Chang provides the crowning touch for such a building with an apotheosis of light in the form of a big archway designed using assorted techniques which transform the glorious golden light into a kind of portrait. Starting off with an original and brilliant concept, this collective exhibit creates a short-lived group of artists with nothing in common other than the serendipity of their meeting and the idiosyncrasies of taste. On View is a show that deserves to be seen with the same attentiveness that went into its creation.
On View, Galerie « Vitrine 65 », 65 rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth, Paris IIIe, until March 17.
Photos Aranthell & Henri Guette.