Anastasia Bay composes her second solo exhibition at Galerie Derouillon as a tragedy in ten acts, “The Awakening of the Caryatids”. The massive bearers have shed their burden, freed from the yoke of supporting a world. These strong women are supported by a chorus of Mourners, exalting their recollection with tears and gestures of consolation. Anastasia Bay brings together the tradition of funerary sculpture, notably the expressiveness of the mourners in the tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy, and the intimacy of Byzantine icon paintings.
She carves these monumental bodies into the paint and shows each detour taken by the hand, like an echo of the gesture marked in pastel. To the strength of the line answers that of the figures. Anastasia Bay’s Caryatids are no longer just the lascivious slaves that populate our pediments. Anastasia Bay shows their quiet power, the effort of women represented without protruding muscles or heroic demonstration that Agnès Varda already underlined in her documentary on the Parisian porters: “a woman carrying a basket on her head is already a serene sculpture all on its own”.
The solid gestures of support of the Caryatids now seem to want to push back the sky while the tragic hiccups of the Weeping Women have vanished in their tears. A few steps away from the largest and most mysterious Caryatid of Paris, the Victory of Turbigo or the Lady with the Bag, whose author is unknown, nor what she represents. What would be, when she wakes up, her report on the world she has been observing for so long?