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maëlle dault

pierre ruault

liza maignan

francesca brugola

florian gaité

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The halo of artificial lights distorts my visual field, a violent intrusion into the intimacy of my retinas, repetitive, like an uninterrupted percussion. The backs of my eye sockets burn painfully. My tools, once allies, turn into formidable adversaries. By instinct, I mold two shells with my hands, trying to make them airtight, aiming to isolate my gaze from the environment that assails it. Simultaneously, I engage in a series of exercises, a choreography of repeated blinks and eye rotations, in a vain attempt to restore some balance in the overwhelming pain.

Insidious eye fatigue spreads from my eyes to the expanse of my defenseless skull. Simultaneously, sound densifies around me, transforming every noise into an unbearable cacophony. A distant laughter, the muffled murmur of a conversation, the delicate brushing of a glass on a table, all become piercing screams in my ear. Migraine, like a silent gangrene, seizes my head. I find myself powerless, lost in an inhospitable environment.

The hours ahead stretch out before me, the headache depriving me of my professional or social obligations. To be honest, I'm indifferent to it all. At this precise moment, my only desire is to escape from the world, to immerse myself in silent solitude, engulfed by darkness in total passivity. I engage in a methodical ritual: every electronic device, from the microwave to the phone charger, from the power outlets to the smoke detector, emitting the slightest glow, is invariably unplugged in the apartment.

Lying in my bed, I await the liberating sleep.

 

The migraine deprives me of my usual escapes: watching a movie, reading a book. I'm forced to share an intimacy with my thoughts and my anxiety: "My head all full of stuffin. My heart all full of pain." The echoes of the song "If I Only Had a Brain" sung by the Scarecrow resonate at times in the room, a rare consolation tolerated when the pain allows. "If I only had a brain!" The room becomes an inviolable refuge, where each object, little by little, gets lost in darkness under indistinct shapes and blurred contours. The suffering transports me into a new experience of reality, stretching its ethereal veil around me. My room, transformed into a new zone, reacts with captivating strangeness to its own environment, creating an altered reality that fascinates me.

Written on the occasion of the personal exhibition "Early Birds Leave Rotten Fruits" at Les Limbes, St Étiennes, 2024

 

My head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain

The "Early Birds Leave Rotten Fruits" exhibition marks, in my opinion, a shift in Andréa Spartà's practice. Like a whispered confession, it reveals a more introspective, albeit discreet, tone in his work. Throughout our regular exchanges, we've shared experiences of being subject to severe migraine crises that paralyze us. This ailment temporarily accompanies a disenchantment with existence, which brutally and directly affects the environment around us. For Andréa, this physical and psychological pain takes form in the central figure of the exhibition, embodied by the Scarecrow from "The Wizard of Oz" (1939). This image particularly moves me because, in his quest for a brain, this character oscillates between profound despair and contagious joy. Much like him, Andréa is receptive to the new poetic dimension that emerges from his observation of the world during these episodes. Despite the discomfort, suffering seems to detach things from reality, offering a renewed perspective imbued with possibilities.

 

Andréa Spartà crafts environments from carefully collected fragments of reality. He selects modest objects—electrical outlets, household sheets, street flyers—that have caught his attention during chance encounters, perhaps out of a form of empathy towards them. The essence of the artifact, for him, lies not in the normative dimension imposed by a utilitarian function, but rather as an autonomous mass existing freely in the world, possessing its own physical singularities, embodying something almost more real. From these findings, he weaves mental representations by manipulating various visual and poetic threads. Initially, we see the spatial arrangement of identical objects in abnormal quantities, arranged without apparent logic. The accumulation of small smiling figurines, with outstretched arms, representing the Scarecrow, creates a disturbing tautological play, capable of destabilizing our understanding. This strangeness is also echoed on the ceiling, with an unusual profusion of suspended smoke detectors. The incessant blinking lights, generated by these machines independently, form a strange asynchronous constellation. In parallel, Andréa designs various installations using pre-existing domestic materials at Les Limbes, such as crates of sheets, a ream of paper, and a green plant. These artistic gestures, initially discreet and almost insignificant in their arrangement and forms, gradually reveal themselves to be a set of particularly dynamic exploratory domains as the gaze persists.

Andréa Spartà's approach ultimately aims to create a slight fold in the space of reality, influencing both the diverted object and our position as spectators, in order to confer another presence upon things. The domestic simplicity emanating from his works evokes a strange sense of melancholy, without us being able to clearly identify its source, a sensation similar to that which we feel after reading the very last page of a novel or returning from a journey. Approaching a mimicry too excessive to be entirely sincere, the Scarecrow emerges again. But this time, it is accompanied by the torrential tears of a neurasthenic fruit, generated through the intervention of artificial intelligence and then captured in a small drawing taped to the wall at child's height. These figures seem to carry within them this melancholy that disturbs space. One day, Andréa confided in me his anxiety about possession in his daily life, an anxiety closely linked to the heavy burden of responsibility he feels towards the objects around him. The use and separation of these objects seem to him to be as much a mourning as a relief.

I am reminded of Henri Michaux's collection "Broken Arm" (1973). In the suffering caused by an accident, the poet experiences another way of being in the world, which he baptizes his "left-handed being": "The one who is the left of me, who has never in my life been the first, who has always lived withdrawn, and now only remains, this placid, I kept turning around, not finishing observing with surprise, me, brother of Me." I believe that the essence of the Scarecrow lies in this similar perspective. It is this same curiosity that Andréa feels for this other, strange yet his own.

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