Cryptide – Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil


Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil

Galerie Valeria Cetraro, Paris

07.03 – extended



Conjugating aesthetics of fragment and circularity, Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil’s pieces emerge through layering and collage, through the creation of new spaces and enlarged landscapes by means of installations, drawings and sculptures. It is because these works mix topography and architecture, minimal or conceptual expressions, that the two artists question the idea of the image’s surface and thickness, and they do it through clinical composition and assemblage which multiply the estrangement effect. If for Pia Rondé and Fabien Saleil the question is to «frame an imaginary»1, to orchestrate work around cutting up a volume or producing a two-dimensional representation, it remains a game, where duplications, vanishing lines or pull-out horizons occur: «the mirror, for us, is the presence of the image inside the drawing »2.

Echoing visuals, abstract structures forming a group of islands or geometrical modules, camera obscuraor recollections of constructivist lines conjuring up the Bauhaus, the duo’s pieces borrow from the pattern of labyrinths and from different techniques evoking the vocabulary of alchemy. Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil’s work takes shape through exploring practices such as etching or photography and goes hand in hand with an experimental, empirical attitude that is in the lookout for accidents or malfunctions in the treatment of materials. Through their interest in image’s mutation and status, its erotic and potential materiality as well as capturing them -in a photographical sense, both artists never cease to interrogate intermediary, utopic spaces or suspended narratives.

For their exhibition at Valeria Cetraro Gallery, Pia Rondé and Fabien Saleil present a series of unseen works called Cryptideswhich bring together, through a scattered distribution in space, assemblages and symbols, a group of heterogenous objects and signs. The word cryptide,literally a mythical beast, refers to the animal figure and to the relic, both present in one- or three-dimensional forms, ghostly visions and blown glass totemic statues. Just like the cobra andChimèresseries that evoke hybrid creatures and phantasmagoric incarnations, Cryptides-in the manner of photography or a time capsule- is part of both an interior and anthropological research, relating to the unconscious, memory and appearance and disappearance phenomena. Much as a memento moriand through a sensitive way of combining elements, Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil’s composite ornaments -objects and their molds, imprints and masks- remind us of bestiaries, household refinement, spiritualist settings and the uncanny.

As a point of view and a reflection given to the viewer, the artists reveal the notions of presence, absence, death and a certain fixity of time; through their pieces, made up from collected animal mummies, they insist on making connections between the living, animism and a mystical view of our place in the world.

If according to Moholy-Nagy,«photography means writing, drawing with light…»3, Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil’s works -in the shape of a screen, a photograph or a painting- offer backgrounds and prisms for the poetry of perception. Oscillating between notions of image and material organicity, Pia Rondé & Fabien Saleil’s pieces propose different graphic, chromatic and stylistic versions that multiply the drawings in the space we penetrate… with our eyes as mirrors.


Frédéric Emprou


Courtesy: Galerie Valeria Cetraro

Photo credits: Salim Santa Luca