« The point of departure for this exhibition was an encounter between five young woman in Italy. It begins as a novel, the start of an artistic friendship. Invited by Lulù Nuti, Léa Dumayet, Katya Ev, Mara Fortunatović, and Joana Zimmermann came together in 2017 on the charming banks of Lake Como for the inauguration of the Bikini Art Residency. From the beginning, their discussions sparked inspiration for their respective practices. But what makes this unique is the crystallization of an unrestrained community, for a collective that would never really be, but rather a meeting, or a linking of existential singularities which identify themselves within a particular, horizontal, and significantly feminine context of emancipation. Lulù Nuti insists on the point that « after twenty years under the yoke of Berlusconi which stifled culture, confusing the star and the artist, success and quality of reflection, the new generations– now broaden within a European context– respond in chorus. » Yes, it moves from a song of several voices, to one of multiple resonance. It should be noted that these artists were each trained at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, despite their various backgrounds: while Léa is French, Katya is of Russian origin, Mara has Croatian and Moroccan roots, Lulù is Italian, and Joana, Brazilian. One could think that Paris, because of its artistic vitality and moving networks, is still a breeding ground for possible artistic adventures, and that is reassuring.
So what is this « point zero » that gives the exhibition its title? When I met these artists gathered together at Katya’s on February 13th, 2019, I was surprised by the fluidity of the circulation of their words, the discussion taking side roads and short cuts to arrive at a point of concentration. I feel that it is this very point that is in question here, because the point zero is the starting point, where something gains momentum, the decisive moment where the crystal of the encounter is formed. The point zero is also, as they told me in unison, « the absolute zero of matter, » « the geographic point where paths intersect, » « the landing point of an explosion. » As for me, I think of the point of origin where distances can be calculated, and of course, the « degree zero of writing, » this blank space, a page to be written. On this blank page, freedom, the dialectical conjunction and the sharing of gestures, is always imaginable. Hence, the practices mobilized here in the freshly inaugurated GALERIE CHLOE SALGADO (also a young woman) are united through their sculptural dimensions, their embodiment in space, all while accepting a necessary, heterogenous form.
To enter the gallery, one must pass a certain threshold: the visitors take their first steps on a work by Joana Zimmermann. « In the low relief of the smooth concrete floor today rests a floormat that I will replace with the top of a palette whose slats are covered by golden survival blankets, » explains the artist. The in situ work recalls the project Lieu polysémique in the slum of Murs-à-Pêches in Montreuil, a work that is aware, politically active and engaged. With makeshift materials, possible living spaces are created, « the Third Landscape » as described by Gilles Clément, that is, interstitial spaces of resistance. A visit to Montreuil will bridge the gap between the gallery space and the Parisian suburb. Continuing the visit of the gallery, we discover the work of Katya Ev, echoing an « infiltrated performance » that first took place at the Musée Zadkine in Paris in January 2019. For the performance, (Le plus objet des objets), the performers replaced the museum guards, imposing behavioral rules on the visitors. « Building on the usual restrictions within a museum, they pushed the rules to the point absurdity, increasing the intensity of their comments and creating a physical sense of control, » the artist explained, referencing the non-necessity of rules and their powerful transparency, implemented by structures that are no longer able to question them. Heiress to institutional critique, the gesture of performance is thus a way to elude disciplinary devices and question the exercise of power.
More three dimensional, Mara Fortunatović, presents white panels measured for the space in which they appear. Loyal to her exploration of the spatiality and negative space of a canvas, we are confronted with one meter by one meter squares that explore the possibilities of the point zero of painting. The frame, the mat, the very surface of the painting becomes critical, not as immaculate as it seems, as none of this would exist without a careful understanding of the material or of the multiple stages of layering and sanding. What connects each of these artists is based on a unit of measure, a measure that is physical, to the extent that it is the body at question. Nearby, Léa Dumayet plays with the precariousness and fragility of a meticulous equilibrium in which a stainless steel line seems to float gracefully in space. It is lightness, apparent simplicity, a slight displacement, faithful to the attempts of the minimalists to « do a lot with not much, » as Léa describes with malice. Finally, Lulù Nuti, engaged in an alchemist relationship to sculpture, has chosen to work with a bee’s nest found in Tuscany, of which four holes sculpted by the bees are confused with the orifices of a face, similar to that of a mortuary mask. This creation by nature becomes a bronze sculpture, the original irreversibly disappearing at the moment that it is casted, « as a gesture of protection that involves risks, an urgent operation. »
The urgency and desire to create is what connects these young artists. »
Translation by Katia Porro