The crossing of disaster

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SYNOPSIS

Galerie Quynh is pleased to present The crossing of disaster, a solo exhibition by François Andes, curated by Luiz Gustavo Carvalho. Conceived in 2016 and expanded upon during two periods of artistic residence in Vietnam between 2018 and 2019 at Villa Saigon, this project features an ensemble of works: drawings, animation, sculptures, costumes, masks, and musical compositions commissioned from acclaimed composers Samir Odeh-Tamimi (Palestine/Israel) and Sérgio Rodrigo (Brazil).

How to discern in humanity what is essential when one finds oneself facing a wall on which is engraved the motto Vigilia Pretium Libertatis [1]? How can human society contemplate such landscapes ravaged by their organized genocides while hurtling into the 21st century in the throes of an ecocide of disastrous consequences? Faced with these questions, Andes and Carvalho’s creative process weaves together various beliefs to question the evolution of man’s relationship to nature, especially to the ecosystems of watercourses and forests, searching in several mythologies for the keys to reinvent our reality or allowing us, at least, to cross it.

The main curatorial axis chooses as protagonist a watercourse traversing different territories and cultures. Thus, the artist’s and curator’s research exposes analogies and further syncretism that can be found between representations of female and male deities attached to water and the forest in several cultures around the world. A passage between the realm of life and death, from an ancient world to a new world, a territory of infinite exploration, often carrying in itself the origin of life and being able to penetrate the most inhospitable territories, the rivers and forests in the exhibition also bear a reflection on the borders between the wilderness and civilized spaces, a privileged territory of Artemis in Greek mythology, Oxum in Yoruba culture and the Mother Goddesses in Vietnam. Moreover, it encourages signifying the transformations and disturbances of nature to the predatory behavior of man on earth. The destruction of natural areas, deforestation, atmospheric pollution, water contamination, waste oceans and overexploitation of resources radically upset our land and could become the breeding ground for new mythological figures as well as the appearance of new beliefs.

Andes presents us with a vast and fascinating imaginary bestiary, populated with dreams, struggles and ancestral symbols from different mythologies. The unveiled protagonists are archaic and timeless, and finally show us that what tends to become perennial dangerously approaches fatality. These monsters and gods of a humanized animality are ready for war, astonishment, silence and also love, revealing metamorphoses of desires and anxieties. The artist forces us to look around us and to focus on the beings that pullulate in bars, barracks, ministries, brothels, executive meetings and political palavers.

The artist juxtaposes our world with unusual fauna and populace thrust onto paper in a raw and visceral manner, thus joining a tradition which distances him from the surrealist formulas and brings him closer to the world of Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Breughel or Alfred Kubin. His universe of a maker of gods and devils offers us a work that transposes the limits of the conditions of existence as it strives after the clairvoyance of the seer.

As in Euripides’ Orestes, the superhuman in Andes’ oeuvre begins where the human remains. To immerse ourselves in this work is to approach our ancestry as well as our own bestiality – perhaps the only way to cross the disaster that is now very real.

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[1] Vigilance is the price of liberty – part of the heraldic coat of arms representing NATO.