A solo show by Joël Andrianomearisoa
12 Apr - 27 Jul 2019
I still don’t understand why Joël’s steps bring an odd feeling of melancholy to the streets of Algeria. Hers? Mixed with someone else’s? From the Milk Bar, still present with mirror letters, all the way to Bab El Oued, which invented the pieds-noirs to more easily forget them. And going to RUA to swim at the chic club at the port, having some fun watching the kids diving all along the docks. No, it’s not the Nuptials in Tipaza Camus wrote about. It’s Au Biseau des Baisers, the 1959 Guy Gilles film which has been brought back to life for a time to cross over into the eternity of a now-imaginary country.
Why doesn’t this black curtain with ethereal transparency float in the wind in line with the Sirocco, full of red soil and the burning North African heat? Here in Madrid. With its popular streets far from the centre. The black curtain is a lace veil over reality, concern passing over the features of a loved face. A proclamation of a mourned love? a mourned friendship? a mourned memory? To better affirm a tomorrow that just doesn’t erase the freshly cut grass from the bed and that summer smell. A journey hoping to be tomorrow’s. A journey towards another love or perhaps the same love. One that still is not exhausted, one described only by its first traces, which don’t provide the keys to its future. And which remains mysterious. Almost like an unsuccessful triumph.
Tomorrow, tomorrow. Yet all the objects pile up in deep traces of memory. Old shoelaces, dead wood, Indian lucky charms that could be found in bullrings stained with the blood of the defeated bulls. “Tomorrow, tout morose” sang Jeanne Moreau who Joël loves so much.
The curtain becomes blue, a cloud that suggests the infiniteness of the walk through the gallery’s space and time. The random colour might remind of the tanners in Mali. But, no, there are just more or less dense pigments in the mixture where the white tissue is plunged, more or less folded or unfolded. It’s Joël, the tanner and the dyer, the master of all the colours he would evade as he could. Preferring the founding black of the depths and drama. A black that invites white rather quickly, to live together or to get married.
Rugs, collages, sewn and dyed textiles, neon and dispersed objects just like all the shapes of desire, just like all the proclamations of love. Perhaps that’s what art is all about.
“The impact strength of the work of Joël Andrianomearisoa, the tracing he left in space, his mark, has always had an ostentatiously present character. The energy it generates continually recalls its presence, emphasizes the lack of time, a space created from chronological laws, an incisiveness that shakes the monochrome. This aspect that constitutes the totality of the artistic production of Andrianomearisoa plays with the no-time, highlighting its repetition, marking the rhythm of a not before and not after, when using references that sink their roots in ancient rites and therefore they seem to look to the past; what they really do is bring to light, in visual and spatial terms, the visceral beginnings of humanity, the non-chronological but inextricably constitutive roots of human nature and its way of being in the world.
The use that Andrianomearisoa has always made of different expressive tools is presented here in all its wealth of details that highlight the procedural excellence and the basic meaning dictated by the fold, the meticulousness: aspects through which the space reveals the secrets of color, its evolutions and its density. The operation carried out by the artist for this personal exhibition may seem at first sight a contradiction with what has been said up to now, especially if the accent is placed on the expressive and almost pungent force of the presented works, whose invisible needles annoy the air, or perhaps they stimulate their retreat to make room for the advance of a trinitarian or destructive dimension of any space-time division.
In fact, the division proposed by the tour within the exhibition space is a real ironic position, subtle and profound at the same time with respect to the conception of time. The questioning in relation to the most hidden meaning of the past, the most appropriate meaning of the present and the most probable of the future is investigated even more deeply when the artist uses these chronological compartments considering them as different moments of his artistic career and, therefore, using himself as a guinea pig.
The entrance to the gallery consists of the presence of a work entitled Dark Sky (2013), which acts as a representation of the past, but which gives the impression of being a door to the revelation of the work itself. The visitor is faced with having to deal with a game whose purpose is to find the real entrance to the exhibition space, which underscores the intrinsic difficulty of coming into explicit contact with the work and, once the correct form of entrance is found, light is revealed, the revelation is fulfilled. It seems like to be entering the creative process of the artist, that process made only of moments in which the form is revealed in its dimensionality and in which Bergsonian duration finds its vertex of expression: a temporary absence in which the creative gesture lasts in its absolute manifestation.
The second part of the exhibition consists of an installation that refers to the present: through a set of works, suspended or not, the artist's most recent production is presented and what is visible here is not time, the work of art as such. The composite elements of mirrors, besides constituting the whole work, act as a visual game of reflections of the past and the future or, therefore, of their conjunction in a single timeless stage that develops in several directions.
The third and final part of the exhibition renders clear the artist's radical questioning of the most appropriate meaning of these temporal giants by ironising about the customary conception of the future term, as well as shared expectations towards this temporal dimension.
The future is now so visible and clear that it is clearer than the present. So clear as to be declared, to be self-declared: a true visual tautology. Finally, what in reality probably this textile wall and its repeated words “Tomorrow, tomorrow” want to represent is a space trampoline, an immediate reference to the space of the present that also includes that tomorrow or that includes it without naming it. And you, do you like flowers?”
Joël Andrianomearisoa was born in Antananarivo, Madagascar, in 1977. He lives and works between Antananarivo and Paris.
He represented the first-ever Madagascar Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2019. His most recent solo shows in institutions are at: the Dallas Contemporary museum (USA), the Biennial of Sydney 2020 (Australia), the Musée d'Art Clermont-Ferrand. On-going additionally, he composed a year long exhibition with multiples intervention of the artist at the Kunsthalle Praga (Czech Republic) and a solo exhibition at the Château Aigues-mortes (France).
Andrianomearisoa has participated in a number of group shows, including: Ce Qui s'Oublie et Ce Qui Reste, Musée de l'histoire de l'immigration, France (2021); Witness Afro Perspectives From The Jorge M. Perez Collection. Elespacio 23, Miami, USA (2021); Love etc... Musée Bargoin, France (2020); A Beast, A God, A Line, curated by Cosmin Costinas. MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Thailand (2020); Africa Remix, Rencontres Africaine de la Photographie in Bamako (2009); the Havana Biennale (2006); The progress of love, Menil Collection, Houston (2012); and Divine Comedy (2014) among others.
His work is in prominent public collections such as the Musée les Abattoirs (France), the Studio Harlem Museum in New York, the National Museum of African Art in Washington DC or Zeitz MOCAA in South Africa, to name a few.