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01 Dec 2009

'Noli me tangere' at Galerie Olivier Robert, Paris

Flyer galerie Olivier Robert
graphic design - Pablo Cots

'Noli me tangere'



Opening reception:
December 5, 4 - 9 pm

Gallery hours:
Tuesday to Saturday - 2.00 / 7.30
and by appointment

00 33 1 43 25 31 87
00 33 1 43 25 31 87

5, rue des Haudriettes
75003 Paris

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with; Boogie, Joey Haley, Bili Bidjocka, Eric Pougeau, Chen Chieh-Jen, Martial Raysse, Elodie Lesourd, Lionel Scoccimaro.

When is it not (or almost not) a question of religion. If 'noli me tangere' is one of the greatest classical subjects of western painting, detachment or the conception of distance is today imaginable between art and it's religious origin, not meaning that the links should be broken: they see and recognize each other but decide not to come in contact. Or if they do, in an unexpected way.

All the artists presented in the exhibition maintain this ambiguous relationship with religious fact, between hope and questioning, acknowledgement and exegesis.
Rejecting the ban, they fight it. A touch, a simple contact, link or relation, as a desire, a fundamental emotion, is in the heart of the work's body. They write, individually and collectively, a singular story, conserving but enlightening the mystery: a group of sacred iconoclasts.

The triad, Boogie, Elodie Lesourd and Lionel Scoccimaro, lean on a semiological relationship with the crucifix. Teaching us to look beyond the surface and question our beliefs. A unique reality, the same assumption of departure, opposite interpretations: like a war of religion.
Boogie, as usual, tortures the image, plunging into the abyss, the brutal and apocalyptic confrontation of Nazism and Christianity. Death, murder, suicide, mourning and Salvation are in the program of Elodie Lesourd's work. An ice-cold white covers a stone silence and switches off the satanic incandescence. Lionel Scoccimaro concludes this Way of the Cross by an accumulation of signs which, insidiously, infiltrate and mix popular culture, overflowing worship and language tension. They all join the same reflection on the future of today's believers.

With the artists, Eric Pougeau and Chieh-Jen Chen, we enter into a new dimension. It is the distancing of the cursed which takes place here. The Evil penetrating and eating away the work – but on which side is the frontier? Between torture and blasphemy, humanity and holiness, redemption and apocalypse, the works confront and interrogate. And they subject us to the Question.

If contact is not possible, it is also because art introduces a notion of the inaccessible, one that is beyond the possible, a quest. Between eschatology and heathen overwhelming, Martial Raysse and Joey Haley navigate in an intervening period in the middle of two worlds. Both artists seem to go back to the roots of religion; Raysse in a paleochristian vision on returning to the origins, and Haley in a dive towards the original foundation of faith. For the latter, death becomes confused with Donatello's Marie Madeleine making the force of apparition visible, and the excavation of forces.

In this sterile sharing and attraction to cold sensualism, it is Bill Bidjocka who concludes this f(r)iction. Diverting exchange, excluding the possibility of the gift, is a strange communion, a pernicious but attractive invitation.

'Noli me tangere': 'don't touch me', or just, 'for the very first time. Like a virgin'.

Benjamin Bianciotto