Contemporary art: Moving with the living
These three Côte d'Azur artists in tune with the environment singularly evoke the relationship between man and nature, be it through imprints, offerings, or dream installations. We take a closer look.
Camille Franch-Guerra. All these plants in disarray
Installation Convivencia à la galerie Eva Vautier en 2019.
In residence at the Labo de Tra-Ver in Nice, she has mounted a shop window display of plants, fish, and insects at 34 Rue Vernier, which arouses the curiosity of passers-by. "I love roadside plants that miraculously appear, collecting discarded objects and dead leaves on the side of the road as I plod from home to this workshop in the morning," says the Pavillon Bosio graduate interested in the infra-thinness described by Duchamp, in the minute traces of human presence. The artist methodically makes an inventory of her fragile finds, as you would if you were compiling a cabinet of curiosities, or even a museum collection. She then investigates the scientific and sociological spheres, blending the fruit of her research with her imagination into heterogeneous installations named Paysages Intermédaires (Intermediate Landscapes).
"I love raw materials, earth, coal, and mother-of-pearl," continues this visual artist, who appeals to viewers’senses and unconscious. Here, a sculpture can begin to beat time, just as cicadas rubbing their wings shape the rhythm of the entire summer season. The lighting placed on things gives them a poetic, symbolic, almost mystical dimension. Camille Franch-Guerra's work is tangible and impalpable in equal part, and the living experience is linked intimately to movement in the most tenuous forms.
La Passage de Denis Gibelin à l’Arboretum de Roure.
Tour Barbare de l’artiste, à la Sainte-Victoire.
Walking as an approach
He has made his travels a modus operandi, the basic building block from which he identifies and measures the territory. Thanks to the signs he observes and the rocks along the way, Denis Gibelin delivers his testimony on the transient state of beings and things. He may not be somebody who claims to have roots there but the Ivory Coast marked a turning point in his career: "I discovered everything there. Freedom, the savannah’s sheer size, animals three hours away, the music and the welcome." Back on the Côte d'Azur, he co-founded the no-made association 20 years ago. A collective initially launched informally, thereafter becoming more stringent, whose emblematic exhibition sites are the Villa Le Roc Fleuri in Cap d'Ail and the Arboretum de Roure.
His works created using GPS coordinates and his hike schedules were exhibited at the Espace de l'Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux in 2019, alongside other artists using their body movements as a brush. "My son, who is a physicist, helped me to build an algorithm that transforms this data into points of colour, without any subjectivity," continues the man who is wary of emotional clutter. The artist also fashions volumes nicknamed Les Tours Barbares, usually with wood. Although his work is essentially ephemeral, there are still traces of his traverses, like this wooden frame he placed between the wooded and dry parts of the Arboretum de Roure. And for some time now, Denis Gibelin has been following the tracks of animals whose movements are embedded in the earth, as they are in the savannah. Always with this recurring question in mind: "What is our place in all this?”
L’artiste et ses offrandes dans son atelier.
At the tempo
of fragile beauty
In her workshop at her family home in La Trinité, diffused light gently illuminates the monotypes and tunics in mottled fabric. What path did Eve Pietruschi follow into contemporary creativity? Above all, her own, with an aesthetic consistency on the fringes of currently prevailing movements. When she was a student at Villa Arson, she was instinctively drawn towards publishing and engraving workshops. "That's when I became interested in industrial zones left idle and abandoned greenhouses, of which there are many in the Var," says the artist, who then produced some series of photos. Raw materials from which she composed abstract drawings, keeping only the essence of the volumes. Little by little, the human traces were erased and vegetation took up more space. So that nowadays, the artist concentrates on plant life itself in her installations.
She dips her salt paste necklaces in flower juices, models cups without firing them so that they can easily be put back into the ground. "These offerings are an invitation to exchange. When you pick a plant or some fruit, are you going to eat it? Embellish it? It’s beauty and poetry, something essential", continues this artist, who presents her research in April at the Nice Observatory in the collective exhibition Elémenta. Cartesian, magician or neither at the same time, in any event, Eve Pietruschi continues composing her Jardin Experimental. A dance-minded project with gustatory performances, creating a plant sanctuary with the Conservatoire Botanique National Méditerranéen de Porquerolles.