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BERNARD GARO
SARA MASÜGER

July 01 – Sept 10, 2022

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BERNARD GARO

Press Release

In the work of Bernard Garo, human existence does not appear as such, but is restored in its cosmic or geological situation.
As he sets up temporalities on a large scale, his art could belong to a current of contemporary art which remains associated with this beginning of the 21st century and which will enter into future books on the history of art, because in fact, the primordial question dealt with by the artists of this period is the meaning that their activities can take on in a world in danger.

In this context, we find a dominant current which needs to reflect on the future of our planet and which prepares the change of our society, faced with the acceleration of global warming and its devastating effects. Through strong and meaningful works in a world in full swing, Garo keeps his promise and maintains a strong position, by generating questions and existential awareness useful both to art and to society.

Faced with this reality, Garo has been probing for more than two decades mainly with painting, but also with installations, sculptures, drawings without forgetting photography and performance, the fragile memory of our humanity by measuring the impact as well as the vulnerability of humans in relation to their environment.
His preoccupations focused first on the topographies of passage and oblivion, on the forces of the elements, natural and artificial borders, time and the geological histories of the mountains and more recently has interfered in his work the erosion followed by the retraction of glaciers, the cycle of water and carbon.

He transposes into his work what sensitizes him the most, namely the “great outdoors”.
An environment without humans or non-humans, inscribed in a long geological time, since it includes all of reality including the past as well as the future, rocks, magma, ice, water and micro-organisms up to the atoms which now play the role of symbolic interlocutors and which form the plane on which his works unfold (painting, photography, film, performance, scenography, sculpture, xylography, installations). To correspond to this approach, the artist favors a materialist and entirely natural approach, which uses the matter of our origins as a pictorial "skin".
Painting isn’t an image, for Garo, but a surface, a vibration, colors, a structure and an energy which engenders emotions leading to reflection, which Deleuze calls "deterritorialization", considering it as the highest of artistic values, since it brings together all the arts indiscriminately.

The artist introduces contextualized matter into his paintings, which distinguishes him from other artists of the same family such as Ollafur Eliasson, among others, while bringing him closer to some others families of materialist painters, such as Anselm Kiefer or Miquel Barcelò.

What is more beautiful in our time than to preserve a link to the real, to the tangible, to the concrete, to the plasticity, to the physical truth which brings us back to the memory and to the consciousness of a whole, while it would tend to dissolve into the cloud (i cloud).

If indeed human existence is revealed in its impact with this “outside”, it is through the weariness of the human subject; slave of its own technological and economic power and focusing on immemorial times or infinite spaces (according to Tristan Garcia).
Because culture today calls for a new “outside”, which is manifested by the reappearance in current aesthetics, of a nature without men, treated in a multiple and decompartmentalized way.

So here we are today placed on the side of the artist, in front of "the great outdoors" an inhuman universe and without men, to express his feeling of total vulnerability and helplessness in the face of this world in full disarray which refuses in part to see reality in the face and find it difficult to change in the face of the climatic drama that is coming.

The artist in his constant quest for the absolute and evolution, beyond the visible and the present, borrows the vocabulary of art freely to create space, to expand our vision of the world to the points extremes of human experience, the tiny or the gigantic, from the quark to the milky way, from the glacier to rock dust. He no longer represents the human individual in his works; it leaves it outside, either as a spectator, a helpless witness to the announced disaster of the melting of the glaciers, for example, or as the culprit and victim at the same time, of the self-destruction of its own habitat.

In his canvases, he therefore paints the flow of life which he superimposes on a long geological temporality which relativizes everything and offers us a transposition of a multi-spatial and multi-temporal reality of our world (Weltanschauung), in all case a perception rid of the illusion that the human being is at the center of our world.

Garo's art is in this sense also that of geographical, earthly places. It is the song (the song lines) of the earth, it is made of natural materials (the original ochres), it is the loving, intellectual and sensual gaze cast on places, as are also other artists from other cultures for their ancestors or for their close environment.

No one can hang without knowing the secular history of this medium whose heritage he perpetuates through a contextualized personal language but in resonance with that developed over millennia by other children of the earth. Garo in fact transcribes the same love of the primordial forces that engendered us. His look is unique at the same time common and different because he is different, coming from an urban culture, but which has never lost its roots nor abandoned its search for harmony with its environment in perfect harmony with the imagination of “ dreams” and in correspondence with primitive cultures and their connections to the spiritual world from the earth.

Bernard Garo’s painted work explores the concept of boundaries and our identity at the heart of nature. Raw materials – volcanic sand, marine sediments, bitumen of Judea, asphalt, latex, rockdust, soils and natural pigments – are joined on the canvas to build monumental compositions.

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SARA MASÜGER

Press Release

Sara Masüger’s sculpting revolvees around the representation of bodies and body-fragments in tin, aluminium or acrystal- a composite material that results in a plaster-like appearance. Her sculptures are never preceded by drawings or preparatory sketches, for the simple reason that the source of her artwork of her artwork is her own body, and the casted body-parts – hands, face, ears, fingers, etc. – from the molds out of which the works are created.. The legacies and filiations are quite obvious, and the artist has overtly expressed her admiration for the work of Alina Szapocznikow, Louise Bourgeois and Mendardo Rosso. Beyond the conspicuous formal analogies between these artists and Sara Masüger’s practice, it is undeniable that her sculptures also pursue other routes – or to put it more aptly and consistent with the French homonyms voie/voix, “other voices”, seeing as language is pivotal in her works. The corporeal representations set up echo chambers inside of which words reverberate, and the body is merely an emanation. The omnipresence of language is significant, and comes across in the choice of titles, such as I talk to you later, Dictation, or Longterm Translation which achieve the reunification of body and mind via an ongoing oeuvre that projects countless organs into space. These organs are repetead and ricocheted within a flow that has much to do with stammering and babbling as with brouhaha, interference, discord and dissonance. And although the body is sometimes represented in its totality, this is merely as a transition from stillness to motion, as indicated by the ambivalence of the titles used to designate the works where the body is seemingly motionless: Gehende (“walking”), Stehende (“standing”), Liegende (“lying down” in both the active and passive sense). The body, as expresses in Sara Masüger’s sculptures, is a body of language, a body in flux, a body in repetition, with its own rhythm.
Sara Masüger’s works underscore the rift between body and mind that occurs in the history of philosophy as well as in how, more prosaically, our intuition recognizes the challenge of delineating what defines the very essence of our own body, or our corps proper (“object body”). The expression corps proper appears late in the history of philosophy. It was coined in the early 19th century by the little-known French philosopher Pierre Maine de Biran, who paved the way to the phenomenology of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. Maine de Biran affirms, contrary to Renè Descartes’ cogito ergo sum, the primacy of the body as an essential site where the self is aware of existing.
Masüger’s sculptures are always spatial projections of sculpted organs and lay emphasis on the body’s sensorial dimension. The sensorial dimension is simultaneously conveyed by the sculptures themselves, by the organs they embody, and by the centrality of language as indicated by the titles: Longterm Translatation, I Talk to You Later, Dictation convey this sense of wavering between duration, memory, memorization and reminiscence, which are the basis of the sensorial world. It thus becomes clear that Sara Masüger is by no means seeking to focus her practice on any sort of pathos, but rather to tackle her own body, to delimit its resiliency, to experience it as pure sense-perception, like the embodiment of a set of potentials, like the site for an action mingled with intellect and language. Consequently, when viewing her sculptures, one must take into account the processes by which they were made. For instance, the tin ear, or the aluminium hands arranged in a cluster, or the agglomeration of black acrystal arms, should not be regarded as strictly arising from the sculpture work, but as outcomes of a series of performative acts. The body is in action, as a preliminary to all of the sculptures. The body twists, knots, grisps, clutches in order to take its own imprint. The face is coated into a viscuous substance so as to be molded and reproduced, cast in rubbery material, in tin, in acrystal, and during the duplication process loses the features correlating it to the original model. However, the performative aspect is not rendered visible, but remains confined to the intimatesphere of the studio. Sara Masüger has never sought to publically enact this practice. The performance which comprises the set of gestures required for the casting process and by the phisycal constraints she applies, can only be grasped a posteriori, when her sculptures actually go on display and are exhibited to viewers. The performance is thus relegated to its repetition, like theather rehearsals which take place away from the public eye. The hidden performative aspect inevitably elicits a notion that, beyond the boundaries of intimacy, connects to ceremony and ritual.
My body is not another0s body and if, paradoxically, Ican perceive another’s body with relative clarity, I can never fully grasp my own body; it remains an enigma, both joined and foreign to myself , even if I have no troble perceiving myself as a thinking subject. Sara Masüger’s sculptures highlight the inevitable gap, the irreducible distance that overrides any attempt to understand and delimit one’s body. Our own body is always the starting point towards understanding it, and this observation stumbles across the opaqueness of how what constitutes us remains irremediably distant from us. It is both from and with my own body that I attempt to grapple with it, and this operation requires setting up a distance that undermines the entire venture. The endeavor to understand my body is always accompanied by an outwards motion: I view my body as if it were another’s body, and this distance – a sort of mirror duplication – inevitably leads to an impasse: my body is not quite my body if it is envisaged as being analogous to another’s body. In line with Jean-Paul Sartre, instead of “I exist in my body” one should say “I exist my body”. This implies that although Sara Masüger’s artwork consists exclusively of body-parts molded from her own body, her oeuvre is not an enterprise based on self-portraiture nor an inner exproration with psychoanalytic intentions, and even less so a realm of pathos. Rather, it entails a contortion act that seeks to bypass the paradox of grasping one’s bodily self, and to find the linkage between corporeality and thinking subject. The challenge ampounts to reducing, as far as possible, the zone of alienness and indiscernibility separating the artist from the very body that belongs to her, “so enmeshed and intermingled” as Renè Descartes puts it in Book VI of his Metaphysical Meditations.
Sara Masüger attemps to straddle this incongruity about the body – neither utter inwardness nor a simple interface with the world – while avoinding representation of bodies other than her own.

Galerie10 – Exhibition view
Galerie10 – Exhibition view
Galerie10 – Exhibition view
Galerie10 – Exhibition view
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