JEANNE VICERIAL, From Margin to Center
Between her soloshow at Templon and her presence at Lafayette Anticipations, this month of February was placed under the sign of Jeanne Vicerial and her black thread silhouettes. Following a shared moment with the artist at the beginning of February, it is a whole reflection that presents itself to you.
How to characterize these shadowy mannequins, sometimes standing, sometimes lying?
The question is legitimate since Jeanne Vicerial is first of all a fashion designer by training. Are we in front of clothes that models would wear or in front of autonomous sculptures? Thin is the nuance as it was confirmed by the artist for whom the only limit is the “possibility for the sculptures to be invested by a body”. “A year ago”, she continues, “I was making clothing sculptures that were, for some, wearable: today at Templon, I made sculptures.” The body is both determining and constitutive of the work of the artist.
“This word of body is very equivocal” says Descartes for whom the term refers as much to the matter as to the soul. If we continue this thinking, the body is an empty vessel that one would come/wish to dress with meaning, it is as much a symbol as a tool.
With the exhibition Armors realized for the gallery Templon, Jeanne Vicerial “wanted to equip the body of women with an armor”. “The primary desire”, she reports, “was to “protect these ancient wet-draped-Venuses”, represented vulnerable as she saw it during her residency at the Villa Medici in 2019. Rome has many examples heroic men’s sculptures with projecting muscles, so why not redistribute the cards and arm all bodies? “The question of the relationship to the female body”, the artist tells us, “is something I have experienced in my personal construction”, reminding us of the universal part she places in her creations. The body of these naked Venuses is at the same time the body of the artist but more widely the body of all women.
With Armors, the artist insists on “the representation of the female body but especially of the different states of the female body misrepresented in the Art History as the topic of pregnancy, childbirth, abortion…”. It is as much about protecting as making these bodies visible.
The artist also reminds us that “the human presence of the body is intrinsic to the technique of knitting and weaving.” The technical process of Jeanne Vicerial is quite unique, it follows a partnership with the MINES ParisTech. It is a robotic tool that places the artist’s work at the level of digital craft.
Coming back to the body, Jeanne Vicerial’s artistic process was created on the basis of the made-to-measure and ready-to-wear involving obviously a pronounced taste for anthropomorphism. She creates silhouettes as a negative of the human body that would be in search of their opposite, their soul mate. In the work of the artist, the place granted to the research of the other can only lead to more profond pieces.
For Sartre, the presence of the other precipitates a new dimension of the self. In the same way, the presence of the visitor/spectator (the other) fully activates the artistic and poetic potential of these armors since “the true bodies are those of the visitors”. The other is also the dancer, the performer who activates the pieces. Jeanne Vicerial recalls that her creations are only “traces of bodies” which make the echo of the visitor or the model. By this resonance, the artist has created universal bodies beyond gender, associating both male and female in a perpetual “mutation”. It is thus a question of silhouettes that refuse to be classified by gender in favor of the visibilization of universal images.
It does not seem too ambitious to say that we all have a body to which these armors whisper hypnotic words, looking for the ideal host body to put on, as one puts on a glove on a hand. These armors are intended for the other, but especially for the Other, the Second Sex.
Coverphoto (Home) : Joseph Schiano di Lambo
Photos: Andrien Millot
Text: Raphaël Levy
Translation: Raphaël Levy
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