Qu’est-ce qu’on fait maintenant qu’on est contents
Galerie Valeria Cetraro, Paris
25.01 – 22.02
The Valeria Cetraro Gallery is pleased to present Diego Wery’s pictorial work. Born in Belgium in 1993, he met the gallerist while he was still a student at La Cambre in Brussels in 2016. He was at the time showing his installation Construire une ruine, an ensemble of seven standing paintings, of which he said: “Every painting is the mental image of a sculpture, and the arrangement as a whole is the mental image of a painting.”
His paintings, albeit figurative, build up through a skilful blend of solid colour swathes and further defined places, aiming to free its characters from the scope of representation. They are windows opening to another world. The subjects, stemming from classic art history – with a distinctive fondness for Italian mannerism – as much as present-day pop culture, pertain to a sensitive intuition. His “collages” of references find a coherent space in the painting work. The combination of images tends towards a form of unreality, the use of vagueness and the mastering of imprecision contribute to the construction of a more poetic vocabulary. The artist enables a free interpretation of the enclosed symbols and gives room for the viewer’s impressions.
For his first solo exhibition, Diego Wery invests Valeria Cetraro’s gallery space with a selection of paintings of various sizes, from where characters with an unsettling look on their face loom out, either staring at the visitors or looking away from them. This choice offers a perspective on the artist’s work evolution around human figure, in between dreamlike world and metaphysic space. Each character, with their gleaming body, seems to come straight out of a dream, a dream made sweet by the harmony of the chosen colours and their round pictorial touch, but also tortured by the inclusion of elements disturbing the image’s quietness. Here, a plant coming through the trachea of our blue-faced observer, there, a dog on his master’s lap, considering a floppy phallus overhanging the stick the latter is holding in his hand, or else this unicorn hybrid being pointing at the artist’s self-portrait. We are lost, led astray between lust and dismay. Henceforth, everything happens through the gazes cast upon us, and upon these objects of an eerie strangeness, reflections of our roles as social actors, the evolution of our condition throughout the ages, as much as the gaze we cast upon them. Diego Wery invites us to a reflection on time, to the contemplation of a past reflection in a present mirror, as well as to rethink the convergence between the worlds of representation and presentation.
To tag along with his paintings, Diego Wery chose a poem by Belgian poet Werner Lambersy, whose reading enlightens us on his concerns as much as on what is at stake in his paintings. The exhibition’s title, the poem’s first sentence, whose blatant irony only accentuates the interpretative ambiguity between satisfaction and reconsideration, drives us to cast a new gaze upon our own identities and the way we show them off for the world to see… and therefore to think.
Nicolas de Ribou
Credits : Salim Santa Lucas, courtesy of Galerie Valeria Cetraro