Galerie Quynh is pleased to present Carne Vale, an exhibition of new work by Nadège David and Sandrine Llouquet. The two-person show comprises drawing, sculpture and installation that reveal a poetic dimension to our human condition, through disconcerting yet strangely familiar imagery.
Carne Vale can be literally translated from Latin, according to folk etymology, as ‘farewell to meat’. In the exhibition, the adieu is to the flesh, to our human physicality and materiality. The artists also make reference to Carne Vale as ‘Carnival’, the costume festival of religious origins (where masks are obligatory) occurring before the start of Lent, during which eating meat is prohibited. Providing a visual diary of the tensions between human and nature, and of esoteric and imagined rituals, the exhibition digs into the very core of our existence.
Nadège David addresses the distressing and intense manifestation of the ‘other’ or the ‘elsewhere’ – the ‘unknown’. As during Carnival, when people escape reality by transcending and concealing themselves behind masks and costumes, while impersonating an alternate self, David confronts her drawing process as an evolving, transformative ritual on paper. The ink sinuously flows slowly revealing shapes, and in turn concealing others, developing like an exploration of the unknown and the unimaginable.
Familiar images cross with eluding shadows, as in her series La Communauté des Sentiments (2014) where realistic faces gradually dissipate/recede behind a black veil of Chinese ink, giving way to the formation of organic shapes as if their entrails were becoming visible. The darkness of uncharted and unfamiliar territories seems to envelop all, until it erases any trace of our physical being. David gives shape to the ‘farewell to flesh’, where human flesh is progressively replaced by what is left: the nucleus of its invisible essence and our animalistic, biological nature.
Sandrine Llouquet has created a personal syncretism that results from her in-depth reading and research into ancient Greek philosophy, Foucault, Nietzsche, Deleuze and Jung, and the exploration of Alchemy, through to the study of religion and rituals – and especially paganism and animism. Her work is “a marriage of the uncanny and the familiar” – Freud’s Das Unheimliche – with recognisable images from a variety of different sources combined to create dream-like tableaux.
Llouquet explores ritual transformation and the transmutation of reality, which is composed of archetypal imagery. By juxtaposing recognizable elements with strange and eerie surroundings, Llouquet, much in the same guise as a psychologist, hypnotist or guru, stimulates the deepest recesses of our unconscious and memory. Drawings in the shape of mandalas mounted on plinths stand solitary in the exhibition space, pointing to the sky, as if maps of both the unconscious and the starry void, or visualisations of ceremonial predictions and trances. Recurrent characters populate her scenes, faceless, masked, half-animal. Referencing myriad ritualistic and cultural traditions, the compositions exude an illusory higher knowledge of the world and of our place in the universe.
Although David’s and Llouquet’s processes are essentially opposite – from visualization to intellectualization and from research and conceptualization to visualization respectively – the two artists both engage with notions of transformation, transmutation, and transcendence of our physical being, spawning a skillfully fabricated parallel dimension to our human existence.