Infinito Viviente by Elissa Lacoste
From within her countryside atelier in Burgundy, Elissa Lacoste encrypts her objects with her underlying impulse and thirst for the wild. She often pauses by natural sites she sees as theaters of materials that point to the potentiality of being otherly. A vital force is strongly present in her work as she continues blending in unexpected materials; an uncanny symbiosis between manmade and natural ones. In a seemingly alchemical process, these two pollinate to turn the unspectacular into vibrantly enticing pieces. Over the past five years, Lacoste has been honing her own set of skills and techniques with the unravelling of an ever growing material library which has resulted in a signature artisanal craft. Her sculptural practice and making of objects is an ongoing conversation with improvisational assemblages of unruly potential, all while embracing her creative force by ‘taking matters into her own hand ’making the process and the final outcome as experiential as experimental. The new body of functional sculptures for her first solo show with Side Gallery in Barcelona unfolds like an expanding never before seen seascape of floating, hovering and grounded elements in an inviting game of pareidolia. By defamiliarizing the familiar and familiarizing the unfamiliar, she provokes a cognitive dissonance within the audience, most poignantly with her stone-like silicone pieces encoded and fossilized with traces of earthly materials and powders such as the elegant pierre de Bourgogne she has collected and sifted herself for this series. Her ‘Shagreen’ set of floating tables embody forms of living species appearing as natural curiosities that lure you in; and upon a closer look, their surface reveals the ungraspable nature of their texture that retains the familiarity of cells under a microscope and yet remain a wonder, ultimately conveying the results of a complex process of transformation. The collection of floor and table lamps emulate diagenetic processes of a wide range of sedimentary rocks in their different colorful and shimmering textures and appearances as a result of relentless layering and sanding of improbable materials. These monolithic pieces merge into casted aluminum reef-like assemblages that seem to freeze a process of metamorphosis; a sudden open invitation into the making process; and are softened by the unexpected touch of translucent silicone wild flowers, showcasing yet another quality she holds of mix and matching surprising elements. The haptic ways of discovering these intricately unique pieces make for an overflow of experience that doesn’t stop at pure contemplation but is comprised of charged material moments. As such, her objects linger on the margins of the interior and invite us to reflect on our relationship to our physical environment be it anthropogenic or natural. Lacoste’s work considers the gathering of materials and their assemblage and interplay as a celebratory act of defying prediction and conjuring mutating synthetic topographies and rebellious biomes within contemporary boundaries. The title of this collection ‘Infinito Viviente’ in reference to Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, takes up the vibrant atmosphere of a speculative and immersive underwater landscape that characterizes this exhibition: just as the author describes the sea, ‘you feel life stirring on all sides’. By returning to the origins of the globe, these works allude to the diversity that was or could be, with materials flowing free from tyranny.
Elissa Sophia Assaf