« When entering the GALERIE CHLOE SALGADO, imagine a cloaked figure that enters the space, constrained in its movements by the multiple layers it bears. Its head is covered with a sieve-like mask, deformed and perforated, leaving no facial features nor expressions visible. The figure moves around the gallery, holding ceramic jars in both hands, from which two distinct voices emanate, sometimes intertwining. “I discover the weight of your absent body as the warp and weft threads rest on me,” says one. “Open the way. Your body anchored to the ground provides mine with a sentinel rise,” replies the other. The silhouette progresses through the gallery and proposes to the viewers who are there to carry the voices that continue the narration of their own ascension. Gradually, it strips off the clothes covering its body and places them delicately on the multiple pegs that adorn the walls. Through the gesture of undressing, the figure constructs four sculptures made of tulle, fleece and thermoplastic polyurethane fabrics surrounding it. “In the ascent, I found a memory of you crossing the lines in a mountain range,” concludes one of the two voices. The figure leaves, dressed in simple trousers, its clothes left behind for future visitors to see.
“Un souvenir qui se porte” [a wearable memory] is a journey to the past. A story that we forge through the objects that surrounded our relatives and ancestors – objects that we wear from generation to generation, like the successive layers of clothing worn by the performer slowed down by their accumulated weight. Côme Clérino invites us to shed them, not as weights to be disowned or abandoned, but as a way of leaving memories for others to reappropriate. The ghostly figure becomes the intimate figure of a loved one who has disappeared, a familiar presence accompanying each stage of our lives.
Côme Clérino perceives absence as a blank page from which to rewrite his personal narrative. He thus captures an imprint of his great-grandmother – one of the emblematic figures of his family – through a flower from a blouse of hers. Blur after blur, this abstract image holds the story of his grandmother and the possibility for the artist to reconnect with his childhood memories – memories intimately linked to the Italian dishes lovingly cooked by her father, as a tribute to her own grandfather who immigrated from northern Italy to escape Mussolini's fascist regime. Invited to repeat the same Sunday culinary choreography, Côme's father cooked the classic Bolognese spaghetti for the exhibition, which was then left to the mercy of time and decomposition inside a glass sculpture created in collaboration with artist Hugo Servanin.
Sixteen hands came together for the rest of the exhibition. In the second space, an open suitcase-sculpture with distinctive curves reveals several objects that could be found in the luggage of an immigrant, regardless of the continent or the time in which they may have undertaken the exodus. Côme invited artists and designers to propose one or more objects that would reflect their memories and that symbolise family histories marked by the stigma of departure and absence: Ulysse Sauvage selected a glass that she herself created for her grandparents many years ago; Pablo Jomaron left behind the portrait of his father holding the portrait of his beloved; Marius Perraud presented his own jewellery and creations modelled with thistles gathered around his family home in Corsica; whilst Valentin Vie Binet contributed ceramic cutlery in homage to his grandmother and the great family meals she hosted. Luz Moreno’s candy tastes like clementines and roses, flavours from her childhood. In the poem written by Florian Cochet, distant songs and plural memories intermingle as a common heritage. Each object here carries stories. Returning to the essence of their material – photography, glass, cooking, writing... – pushes each of the artists to reconnect with their past stories and to transmit the vivid emotion that an object can possess. These objects, which are seemingly commonplace, become true works of art, through the sentimental charge they carry and the transcendence that their creators bring to them. Côme Clérino's suitcase becomes the beating heart of stories that are as unique as they are universal, carried by a choir of artists that he himself has constituted as his own family. »
Joséphine Dupuy Chavanat
Translation by Katia Porro
Graduated and honoured from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2016, Côme Clérino (1990) develops a multidisciplinary practice mixing drawing, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and installation. In 2017, he presents his first solo exhibition, Voir au verso, at the gallery Les Gens Heureux in Copenhagen. In 2018, after a new solo exhibition, Emulsilfy(ing), at Castellana 22 gallery in Madrid, he is nominated for the International Painting Prize of Vitry-sur-Seine. In 2019, he presents his first two solo exhibitions in France, Et si on passait les meubles par la fenêtre? at the Double V gallery in Marseille, and Que devons nous y faire at the GALERIE CHLOE SALGADO in Paris. In 2020, he participates in the 69th edition of Jeune Création at the Fiminco Foundation in Romainville, and in 2021 in the 65th edition of the Salon de Montrouge.
For his fifth solo exhibition, Un souvenir qui se porte, Côme Clérino has imagined a new proposal around the theme of memory, and has invited a dozen of his peers to collaborate, including Florian Cochet, Pablo Jomaron, Jeanne Lieffroy, Luz Moreno, Marius Perraud, Ulysse Sauvage, Hugo Servanin, Anna Ternon, Sébastien Thill and Valentin Vie Binet.
With the support of the Fondation des Artistes of DRAC Île-de-France.