Une partie indivisible de sa scénographie aquatique

The title is taken from Mantra, a novel by the Argentinian writer Rodrigo Fresán. Mantra is a meta-fiction that attempts to encompass Mexico City. It revolves around stories of swimming pools, experiences in a non-existent Fourth Dimension, films that do exist, Aztec legends, and Maria-Marie. Maria-Marie has a theory: one day all girls will jump into all swimming pools at exactly the same moment, and the world as we know it will end’.

The sculpture, conceived as an apparatus, modulates the body. The body is one of several elements, each issued from a different context, which come together in a relationship of balance and proportion. The action unfolds into a loop. It produces impatience in a space that has begun to feel haunted. La nageuse, the swimmer, wanders without becoming and asks for contemplation. She begins her routine, charms us, and we follow her. She abandons herself to her short adventures with the sculptures and tames them. She is caught in an arrangement of mysterious actions, a mystical routine performed for someone we do not know. 

A swimmer in a red swimsuit crosses the space, slows, she goes about her business, alone, every so often she smiles or looks around – and the character exits the fiction. She approaches and discovers the patterns. Her foot touches the tip of the pebbles and explores them. The gesture brings her to a memory that is not her own – she has no memories, she also is a state of being. 

Resin covers the pieces of marble. Closer still. The marble devours the resin. The blue absorbs. Blue – unctuous, almost creamy. It is called Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. Maria-Marie was born in Argentina.

Maria-Marie shifts her weight onto one hip. Maria-Marie moves across the space. Maria-Marie has a theory, the Quantum Theory, a matter of the multidimensional terrorism of swimming pools which she explains using Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The variations open into the aria in a series of subtle possibilities, some very similar, others radically different – different versions of a same story that do not distort the frame. 

I love water with an uncontrolled passion.

The modernist architects wanted to put the swimming pool at the center of everyday life. In his Bailey House, the American architect Pierre Koenig builds a partition from the master bedroom to the entryway and it becomes the wall of the swimming pool. Fall asleep to the rhythm of water. Water modifies movement, gravity. It’s the possibility of a different reality. We can see the space above, and the space below. Water deforms. We have to dive in in order to see clearly.

Une partie indivisible de sa scénographie aquatique [An indivisible part of acquatic scenography], 2013–2014

Installation composed of six sub-parts or action-sculptures and a performance. The synchronized narrative splits into two levels: the spectacle (that of artistic representation) is above the water, while the camera’s occasional dive lets us discover another level, that of physical effort. The water line represents the surface-limit, or the precise moment of the shift between two states of being. At the beginning of 2013, we began shadowing Lyon’s synchronized swimming team. We produced a catalog of images, gestures, materials, sounds, and stories. The catalog-tool box would serve as the base of this project.

Performance: Laura Giacomini, Amélie Giacomini, Lucie Riothon Pannetrat, Laura Sellies.
Réfectoire des nonnes, Les Subsistances, Lyon, France
Pictures: Laurent Basset and Karolina Krassouli

A body arrives, surreptitiously, a swimmer or a dancer. Her swimsuit is red or midnight blue. She crosses the scene, caresses a spine, moves along a side, calms the chamberlains, organizes the apparent disorder along a new goal that is gripping, inescapable. The sculptures begin to breathe.

— Bastien Gallet, juin 2014Read more