Exhibitions - Abbaye Saint André, centre d'art contemporain

Oh what beautiful denial is the flow of water !
8 March – 21 June 2009

The relationship between water and art undoubtedly started with Narcissus’ perilous attempt to take hold of the power of images and therefore the power of the gaze, against the gods’ will, by stealing it from its genitor, water.

Fresh spring from springs, fountains and rivers, the mysterious water of ponds and lakes, or the unsettling, fascinating water of the sea were long considered the pretext or the ingredient, to a peaceful or dramatic pace, of culturally organised landscapes or the illustrations of mythical stories.

To this almost decorative vision of water that is either accomplice or repoussoir, contemporary artists, the sorry observers of the disappearance of the “idea of nature,” privilege - in an often amused or ironical mode - the relationship with domestic, mastered, subservient water which is a priori pragmatic, material, mainly useful and physical. Water that circulates where it’s told to, in canalisations that are sometimes doubtful, or trapped in bottles, portative, ridiculous substitutes for springs, or accumulated in aquariums or swimming pools: miniature models of the sea whose installations, playing the social role of the mirror, flatter the narcissism of their owners.

This doesn’t evacuate the magical dimensions on comes across in works which associate the scientific and the poetic, on the mode of curiosities, staging the absolute plasticity of liquid, or its astonishing transformations under the effect of the transitions of phase.

Rather swimmer or handyman than Ophelia, who do not let us forget that, on the other slope of this practical dimension, water, which has become a rare strategic product, has lost its convivial image to contribute to inequality and relationships of conflict.

With Pierre Ardouvin, Per Barclay, John Batho, Jean Bellissen, Jean-Luc Bichaud, Michel Blazy, Véronique Boudier, Yves Caro & Manoela Ferreira, Marcel Dinahet, Sophie Dubosc, Camille Goujon, Laura Henno, David Lefebvre, Pascal Lièvre, Pierre Malphettes, Olivier Masmonteil, Musée des Nuages, Bruno Pelassy,, John Pfahl, Philippe Pons, Loïc Raguénès, Philippe Ramette, Dom et Jean-Paul Ruiz et Cédric Peyronnet, Gilles Saussier, Elisa Sighicelli, Muriel Toulemonde, Hans Van Den Ban.

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