• Ludovic Sauvage, Escougnou-Cetraro, SCANDALE PROJECT, artist, contemporary artist, emerging artist, art installation, visual art, photography, photographer, art exhibition, exhibition view, creation, artist, contemporary art, Interview, groupshow, group show, art scandal project, scandaleproject,

MINDLESS PLEASURES

Ludovic Sauvage

at Galerie Escougnou-Cetraro

.

Ludovic Sauvage, Escougnou-Cetraro, SCANDALE PROJECT, artist, contemporary artist, emerging artist, art installation, visual art, photography, photographer, art exhibition, exhibition view, creation, artist, contemporary art, Interview, groupshow, group show, art scandal project, scandaleproject,
Ludovic Sauvage, Sparkling Water (Marble), 2017 Print on fabric, aluminum 8 strips 18,7 x 300 cm Variable dimensions Unique, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Escougnou-Cetraro, Paris

.

Appearances and disappearances of opaque and shimmering forms, allusive and elliptic images, wrapped in an orange red light… “Mindless Pleasures” is about being seduced by the game of looks, in their simultaneous absence and presence, both sensuous and senseless. As the challenge of a real that offers and withdraws itself in the same motion, the seduction which operates here comes close to the notion of aura, both of them pertaining to an elusive phenomenal substance, that of beings and things. An aura induced by what would ostensibly terminate it, namely the copies of copies of a world saturated with symbols, gutted from its substance due to overrepresentation. This world with no aura is undoubtedly the world of « mechanical reproduction » as defined by Walter Benjamin, disrupting the perception of works of art and more broadly the conditions of human experience. What is aura? Aura is this presence the work of art has, based on its uniqueness and on its inseparability from the “place where it is located”, de facto discarded by photographic reproduction. A disposition that, according to Benjamin, would therefore weigh in not only on the works of art, but also on any phenomenon deprived from its “uniqueness by assimilating it as a reproduction”1. The German aesthetician thus prefigures a world where the aura is forgone, where “all that once was directly lived has become mere representation”2, where the “substitution of signs of the real for the real”3 occurs. The Pictures Generation artists will later give voice to this in the 70’s and the 80’s, reproducing identically artworks or images found in mass media, therefore willingly discharging any form of uniqueness, originality or authenticity from their production. Ludovic Sauvage’s work follows the footsteps of this generation, not to question its pertinence but to dislodge its horizon: whereas the confusion between the real and its representation were often synonymous with alienation and derealization, in his work, it is a way to inhabit the world, the only experience that can possibly made of it. Therefore, the point is not to re-engage with the notions of originality, uniqueness and authenticity, but to retrieve presence in the representations themselves, to retrieve immediacy at the very heart of mediations. Yet, if “presence is not effaced by a void, but by a redoubling of presence that effaces the opposition between presence and absence” 4, meaning an overexposure eluding the shadows of the real, then the operation will consist of restituting things to their elusiveness. An operation which, for the artist, consists of cutting, pasting, superimposing and juxtaposing images from his collection of anonymous photographs and slides, images that are both archetypal and stereotypical in their subjects as well as in their framings. Various types of images are found here, including sunsets, “cliché” indeed, seen time and again, to the point of virtualizing the real experience. Printed on pieces of fabric, cut in vertical strips sewn together so as to form the panels of ventilated curtains, they are here turned into fragmented images, restoring the pulse of the visible, both material and immaterial. At the bottom of these “curtains”, placed on the floor, are the blurred and reflective images of sinks and luminaires printed on yellow mirrors, arising while withdrawing themselves. A chiaroscuro we can find in the chemically induced iridescent blue slides of a water source, projected on the back of mirrors fixed on metal tripods. Displayed at various viewpoints, these pieces therefore induce an optical progression, a back and forth journey through the shadows and gleams. A from of kineticism, the very same one that belongs to the living, also brought up by the image of a car cut in two parts, tipped over vertically and printed on mirrors. In this exhibition, we move around pieces that are consistently in a double or even quadruple configuration (four curtains, two slides of the same water source…). Their symmetrical display in the two gallery rooms heightens their multifaceted nature. From one to the other, the mirror and duplication effects build up, while hearing the soft crackling of a chimney fire. The sound comes from a video found on the Internet and projected behind a mirror, at the back of the gallery space. Although this video has a single occurrence, it is nonetheless dual, as it is the simulacrum of a phenomenon turned volatile by the translucency of its mounting and the overprinted image of a river bed. Sunsets, water streams, automobiles… As many hackneyed images Ludovic Sauvage materialises and spacialises as if to trigger a “tiny spark of chance, of the here and now, with which reality has, as it were, seared the character in the picture”5. Yet, the point for the artist is less to reincarnate memories of which the various archives would be the trace, but to generate a new situation, a groundless experience, always pre-interwoven in representations. Carpeted in an artificial red light, the whole and every parts of Mindless Pleasures are therefore the vectors of a paradoxical presence, simultaneously close and distant, performative and mnemonic. This is also what is called “aura”, something that doesn’t set against “representation” but that takes place in its creases and crinkles. An interlacing of times and spaces, both real and fictional.

.
– Sarah Ihler Meyer

.