We’ve arrived too late. The analysis hits like a ton of bricks and at first sight, everything contributes to its starching with the soft melancholy of ends: end of game, end of century, the curtain is brought down. And yet, it is a liberation. Once again, something is half-open, electrifying the atmosphere with possibilities. It is a matter of silent germinations and retained shivers still lurking in the shadow of possibilities. Because while our time is entirely placed under the sign of temporal acceleration, of visual higher bids and of shock strategy, its desiring and creative issues, its emancipating and collective energies, are precisely capable of giving rise from an ending to the thousand joyfully undefined possibilities.
Artists, dancers, and free spirits know it well, busy as they are making the night fall faster; a night where stretching time to infinity, tracing serpentine loops and living together as a constellation is still possible. Such is the desire, and the landscape, drawn by Gwendoline Perrigueux’s sculptures and installations: with her, everything often starts with a party, with its sensual energy and its random encounters. We, who were invited to penetrate her immersive environments, did not attend that party. It does not matter, because what the artist offers us is precisely something like its raw essence: its incantatory vestiges and its gestural constellations, inscribed in the heart of indexical forms left open to our own activation.
For Tout feu tout flamme (Fire and Flame), her first solo exhibition at the She BAM! gallery in Leipzig, Gwendoline Perrigueux came to paint the floors and walls with the same purple tone. The space becomes matter, it palpitates and becomes flesh. Within this territory, the artist offers a variety of her favourite materials: metal, ceramic, leather, and neoprene. Defying gravity, a central sculpture is composed of two steel plates as frail as elegantly curved leaves. Perforated with black eyelets, a formal element recurrent in the artist’s work, flesh-coloured metal ribbons escape from it so as to draw serpentine undulations around it.
It is for all of us a call to lighten ourselves, to pace up and down the interval by engaging a body freed from its daily gestural imperatives. Everything remains to be invented, and for the perception to be re-engaged, while on the wall, structures with a baroque and paradoxical geometry convulse in turn. Made of ceramic, they are maintained in levitation by a network of neoprene ties whose cabling goes through material-walls thus made porous.
Imbued with an ecstatic materiality, the installation shoots its rays in all directions. Halfway between Sylvie Fleury’s ultra-glamorous baits and Fabrice Gygi’s devices of constrained pleasure, Gwendoline Perrigueux’s sculptures call for an absent body suggested by its modes of pomp and appearance. With her however, the attachment to making things manually overrides the ready-made, helped by her elders, and testament to a generational acknowledgment.
Thus, rather than reorienting the capitalist signs of a post-industrial world towards the field of pleasure, the artist reaffirms the will to detach oneself from it entirely. The party, this finished party or perhaps simply waiting for activation, is a promise of emancipation. It is this threshold where everything can change dramatically, where the community of bodies can be reformed, where the alternative worlds can be invented –through a whole range of affects that are still unclear, and which come up to us, concealed, to better go through us.
Translated from the french version by Mathilde Mazau