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RETURN FROM ICELAND. The drift of territories


Do you like to travel ? Go to a distant land. Stay there. Longer or shorter. Bring back objects, images and memories and, back home, activate your memories by taking again the images, by handling the objects?

This is more or less how Bernard Alligand, painter, engraver, traveler, proceeds. More or less… Japan, Egypt Morocco… these are some of the artist’s countries. And, in recent years, Iceland.

See. What Bernard Alligand brings back from these countries does not entirely resemble what we would bring back from them, nor does it entirely resemble the way modern and contemporary art treats the relationship to the landscape, to the country, to the territory.

To achieve the objective of rendering what we have seen, sharing a vision, impressions, emotions, we have two main postures: going on the pattern to bring back views (it is a model since the Impressionists ); or intervene directly in the territory and by modifying it (as proposed, for example, by Land art).

If Bernard Alligand shares the objective, his approach to relocating territory is notably different. Crates and crates, branches, palm fibers, pepper, saffron, cotton, fruits, vegetables, flowers, stones, sands, ceramics, vases and bottles from Egypt or Morocco. What about Iceland?

From Iceland, Bernard Alligand brings back - in addition to a multitude of memories and impressions - sands, gravel, stones, rocks, lava. Few manufactured items, few manufactured items. Raw objects, objects of nature, objects of the ground.

The artist thus transports hundreds of kilos of raw material crops to his studio. And the workshop is another territory, to its measure, to its hand, to its body, to its intelligence and to its sensitivity. He works there scraps of Iceland, transforms them, classifies them, prepares them, reduces them to gravel, powders, pigments.

Because the trips to Iceland have allowed the artist to radicalize his approach. Radicalize, that is, he went to the root of his relationship with a territory that dazzled and stunned him. He went to the origin of the origins: to the reality of the soil, to the accidents of geology, to the marriages of ice, fire, snow, water, rocks, lava, sand on which and by what originate landscapes, flora, fauna, images, mythology… impressions and emotions.

What you see in this exhibition is this transfer, this transport, this relocation of elements from one territory, Iceland, to another territory, the studio, to make them into other territories again: these works that he delivers to all.

The works: what remains. What you see in this exhibition, the formats, the canvases, the works on paper, the highly contrasted images, their density, their thickness, their very weight, the grain size of the surfaces, the dazzling whiteness, the sharpness of the compositions, the flight of titles playing as so many invitations to other trips, and books, these dialogues between the artist and the poets, books woven of words and images, in which is inscribed the choreography of looks and feathers on territories on the move.

Editor : Raphaël MONTICELLI

Raphaël MONTICELLI was born in 1948 in Nice, in the Italian language and in the immigrant community where he has kept the flavor of exile and a taste of tearing.

After having been trained both by the teachers of the public school and the Salesian Fathers, he followed the courses of the Conservatory of Dramatic Art and those of the University.

Agrégé de Lettres, he ended his career in charge of cultural missions through National Education.

Since the end of the sixties, he has participated in artistic and literary movements and has animated alternative magazines and galleries. He regularly works as an art critic, and collaborates with many artists in cross-works which are an important part of his writing activity in his eyes. All of his research is organized around "snippets" (stammering, spaces for learning language and text) to which he seeks to give shape, content or consistency ...

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