June 25 – August 6, 2023
Solo Show – Valentina Canseco
Galerie Ars Longa
“Summer is the future of us all”.
Valentina Canseco has been collaborating with Galerie Ars Longa for over a year. Today, she has chosen to present her solo exhibition “Médusée”. Through an intuitive, introspective approach, she seeks to convey her vision of a singular summer atmosphere.
Here, the artist delivers a sensory perception of mist, heat and the invisible, in conversation with a floating, stranded landscape, giving, in her words, “an impression of the world that inhabits [her] at the time the exhibition takes place”. To do this, she leaves behind the architecture of urban space for a time, returning to nature and the organic.
Here, she reveals emotions and sensations, and turns her gaze towards the living, this time offering us more intimate landscapes.
The exhibition, vivid, colourful and at the same time strong with a restless intensity, deploys an analogy with jellyfish, their mythology and their tragic destiny. Can we not see in this the vision that Man has of nature in this same desire to tame, dominate and then annihilate the other, that seems to threaten or frighten? Revisiting ecofeminist thinking, the artist, through a play of reflections and contrasts, invites the viewer to dialogue and prompts us to reflect on our present and our future, which is certainly warm, misty and uncertain.
Artist’s statement: Abstraction, the sensory, the organic and the microcosm shine through in my new works like an introspection of the invisible. The influence of the world we inhabit is reflected in the new materials I choose and in the way I assemble them. The same applies to my painting style, which is changing. Abstraction is now seen as a possible spectrum for revealing the emotions and sensations that landscapes evoke in me, again and again. Here, colour gradations, pointillism and fluorescence are all pictorial effects that take us back to warmth, the organic and nature, which are the focus of this new series of paintings. At a time when the world is invaded by plastic, I choose PMMA, PVC or resin. Provocation? I prefer to think of it as extravagance. As if it were a question of ennobling materials, of perpetuating them, of extracting them from their future as waste. Activism in disguise? Distortion of value? A futile battle? Identification with the material? After all, aren’t the same materials that are destroying us, that are dragging our planet to its end, also those that inhabit us in the form of synthetic particles when we simply eat fish? The questions are pressing: why, so paradoxically, in this context, do we want to celebrate jellyfish, the sea and the whole summer imaginary? Perhaps to proclaim, almost like a psalm, that summer is the future for us all. That painting the light, erecting heat and water as the totems of our life to come is not incongruous. A light-hearted subject that ultimately slips into the reflection of a new world. Hence, at the heart of it all, black, which always returns to darken the landscape and establish it in a telluric reality. Like a patch of oil, a large puddle of solid water reflecting a changing world: we too melt under this heat. Is our destiny the same as that of stranded jellyfish? Can we, should we, embrace it? Paint it, sculpt it, show it? A shoal of animals takes its place. Jellyfish in colored resin inhabit the ground, heralding the arrival of summer. Among them are silhouettes of women’s swimsuits, floating and decomposing on a twisting support. It’s a scene reminiscent of carefree, joyful bathing, but one that can become disquieting with these discreet, threatening creatures with their abrasive sting. Yet medusa, in Greek, means “protector”. The jellyfish is even said to be a prehistoric animal that has survived all climatic catastrophes, and is still ready to embrace our uncertain future. It also evokes the image of the Gorgons, due to the resemblance between the serpentine hair of mythological beings and the animal’s tentacles.
Gorgons are those ferocious women you fear, who petrify you with a single glance. As for Medusa, in Hesiod’s myth, she is twofold: bearing the child of the god of the sea, she meets a tragic fate and ends up with her head cut off. Jellyfish thus raise both the question of our future and our reaction to that which challenges and terrifies us (will we continue to stand still?), and that of the place of women within the living world: is their power a threat or, on the contrary, the promise of a new, powerful, sublime radiation?