Per astra


Celebrating 10 years of the Jozsa Gallery!



Celebrating 10 years of the Jozsa Gallery!

PRESSE : Claude Lorent, 10 ans et tous les espoirs sont permis, La Libre - Arts Libre, 1er février 2017 /in .pdf

"Per aspera…" (12.01 - 25.02.2017) is the first chapter of a double exhibition celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Jozsa Gallery. The second part will take place from the 9th of March until the 8th of April 2017 and will be titled "…ad astra". "Per aspera ad astra" is a Latin expression attributed to Cicero, also used by Seneca. One can translate it as follows: "Through the arduous paths to the stars". Its origin most likely comes from Greek mythology where heroes, after carrying out a series of gruelling tasks, stayed in Mount Olympus having received the gift of immortality. "Per aspera ..." is about the choices to be made, tenacity, adaptation and the ability to question.

In his novel Le Mont Analogue, René Daumal insists that the explorers give up everything in order to reach the gate to the invisible. Aren't we all explorers in search of something else, to escape the banality of everyday life? Ergo, it is by following arduous paths and by continuous roaming that one can experience the impact of art.

The pieces that have been selected for this show encourage the viewer to consider the various paths that led to their appreciation of the work at hand. They present physical, mental and symbolic shifts and round trips. The non-linear progress of the exhibition also aims to reflect Catherine Jozsa's personal and professional approach to the art business. For the past 10 years, amidst an environment that is in perpetual change, she selects and highlights artists and artworks that tackle contemporary issues, issues that are starting point for discussions and that sometimes shake our beliefs.
"Per aspera…" can be viewed as mirroring the path followed by the Jozsa Gallery. However, there is no need to ask for directions… otherwise you won't get lost.

When entering the gallery space, one faces an art piece by LELLOARNELL titled Journey (2011). The imagery, which has comes from a chalk on blackboard composition, is a path that deploys itself within an ever-changing context. The blackboard is the vessel of vanishing knowledge which dissolves itself into a scheme within a constant flux. How should we direct ourselves in a universe that disorientates us? This is the question asked in this first space. Lying on the ground, Lucie Lanzini's Pendulums (2014) don't indicate equilibrium anymore but are the sign of a lack of one's points of reference, of dramatic change in the natural order of things. The Explications #2 (2017) of Helga Dejaegher aim to guide the visitor towards the exhibition. But nothing is neither final nor rigid, since the three explanations one can listen to are among the many singular and specific viewpoints that exist to absorb the exhibition. For her sound installation at the Jozsa Gallery, the artist questions the subjectivity and difficulty of explaining a work of art. Thus, the artist, the gallery owner and the public are groping side by side along the same tortuous path.

The effort to highlight a work of art carried out within the art gallery requires grasping what is contained in it as well as what goes beyond the work of the artist. It is a matter of conveying the artist’s statement, while not depriving the spectator of the delight of the surprise regarding its capacity for thoughts. Inside the hallway linking the two major spaces of the gallery, the visitor can discover three drawings from Aleksandra Chaushova: The Offerings (2014), Five Suggestions for a News #2 (2011) and Five Suggestions for a News #5 (2011). In accordance with her practice, the artist confuses conventional figuration with fantasy and mobilises the potential of imagination, revealing tension beneath a surface of apparent everyday normality. By doing so, she solicits the faculties of imagination and forces the viewer to step back, take a critical look at what we see and to unravel the fictional part that unavoidably fits into history. Like in Aleksandra Chaushova's work, the engraving of Alexia de Ville Parfum d’Ether (2011) is incorporated into a broader narrative, which encompasses and surpasses it. It is a work of deconstruction and unveiling, as well as the recovering of stories and images that we experience. The house, riddled with a mysterious shadow, is almost nothing more than a memory. It has already become something else.

In the work of Atelier Bildraum, space, image and imagination are core concerns. Cumulus # 2 (2016) takes the form of a sculpture, though it is a printed photograph of a landscape, wrapped around itself. Therefore, we can no longer distinguish the initial image but only a three-dimensional coloured slice, which is another way of plastically representing the landscape. Cumulus # 2 acts as a signal that paces the corridor and allows the viewer to build narratives and associations.

In the back room of the gallery, running on from the hallway, the visitor approaches a large size tarpaulin at an angle, which Gérard Meurant commissioned especially for the exhibition. The printed image shows a highly pictorial textured aspect. This art work, with its strong presence, is connected to the wall by an articulated arm but seems to be tearing loose from it in order to live its own autonomous existence. In the last space of the exhibition "Per aspera ...", the motif of the mountain is becoming more literal and speaks to the non-Euclidean journeys dear to René Daumal. The layers of matter and temporality are superimposed, with no end points applied to these phenomena. Thus, Gérard Meurant's intervention leans on ever-reconfigured processes of distortions and manipulations. The folds of Follow this pattern for centuries, itemized view of reality (2017) match the asperities of the enamelled pieces of Erbossyn Meldibekov (Morning on Kaufmann Peak, Midday on Lenin Peak and Evening on Abu Ali Ibn Sina Peak, 2012). Made by hammering old enamel basins that he has turned upside down, the artist carves mountains, which symbolise the ideological landscape and the jolts of Central Asia. By doing so, he questions our capacity for adaptation with irony. To climb Meldibekov's mountains is to face mystery and absurdity among an ever-shifting environment. The mountain has gradually imposed itself as a unique subject in the work of E.D.M.. The painting displayed in the exhibition shows a mountainous landscape that oscillates between roughness and tranquillity and opens perspectives to our imagination as to our emotions. Its blurred contours, almost dissolving into the wall, reinforce the transitional aspect that is very present in the artist's work. Indeed, for E.D.M., as long as a painting has not found a buyer, it is not necessarily completed. The addition and removal of material are at the heart of the moulding work that led to Captives # 10 (2016). Here, Lucie Lanzini treats a block of ornamental architecture minimally, while retaining fragments of mouldings reminiscent of the original object. One must therefore carefully locate the clues, which she delivers in the very essence of her work. Composed of a polyurethane foam block with a mineral visual appearance, a bevelled mirror casting fragmented reflections, Captives # 10 is part of an enigmatic landscape. The black rope that is placed at the top of the block suggests both escape and attachment. In the context of the exhibition, some might also be tempted to see in it reference to the rope that binds a rope of climbers so that they reassure each other without stopping the progress of any of the members of the expedition.

Gatien Du Bois