Teorema, Nice (France), Musée Masséna

2019 November 21 - December 1

When Victor Masséna, Prince of Essling, ordered the construction of his villa in Nice at the end of the 19th century, he imposed for specifications to his architects, Hans-Georg Tersling and Aaron Messiah, to focus on the Villa Rotschild he admired in Cannes and the large Italian neoclassical style villas. The idea to exhibit Teorema video series at the Villa Masséna is based primarily on the architectural identity of the building. The Milanese villa on Via Palatino which serves as the main setting for Pier Paolo Pasolini’s homonymous film in which all the scenes reworked in the video series take place could indeed have inspired them very directly. Its rectangular plan on three levels, its colonnades and its masterful opening on the park develop striking analogies.

The distribution of the different videos in the rooms on the ground floor of the villa Masséna works to emphasize the close relationship that develops between the architectures. It not only plays on the reflection effects that the spaces presented in the videos are likely to engage with those used in the exhibition (architectural style, room configuration, scale and volume ratio, links between interior and exterior, traffic, perspective effects) but also on the analogies that are built between the functions of the rooms represented and those of the villa (dining room, library, winter garden), their structural elements (doors, windows, columns, fireplaces) and their furniture (tables, commodes, armchairs, bookshelves, etc)

One of the main challenges of the show is to use the architecture of the building as an additional dimension to the already complex stratifications which are shaped by the images that are introduced into it, embodying in the same movement, through cinema and painting, the house of ghostly presences that have taken place in the villa in the past. In the same way that are exposed for the film the pictorial references on which they could have been elaborated by involving the art of Caravaggio, the image becomes a fictional testimony of what may have taken place between the walls of the villa and built its identity. It digs up space temporally to mark a form of permanence in what is likely to occur there and to signify the propensity of codes (aesthetics, behavioral, social) and forms to regenerate in it.

In this superimposition is played a kind of vertigo of space and time that is similar to what is built in the works of Caravaggio and Pasolini associated in the video editings and the relationship that their respective universes engage; a special attention to space and a form of time suspension that shifts and enriches the composition and representation code issues implemented in each of the videos of the series.

By redefining the field where the representation is played and by serving directly as a filter for the perception of visitors, the architecture of the building highlights the very construction of the images and sensitizes the way in which the discourse proposed therein is structured. It frames the gaze to better highlight how it is directed and manipulated within the representation.

The parcours from room to room in the Villa Masséna involves a form of construction similar to that used in the film by the montage between the different narrative blocks. Left to the free appreciation of visitors, it constitutes a proposal to forms of re-articulation of its elements and an invitation to re-travel it literally through new modes of organization and perception.

The work of the Caravaggio participates of the same type of complexity. It proposes other threads to follow in the arachnean network that weaves the resumption, from canvas to canvas, of certain themes of motifs of the painter – combined to other painters of the Italian school of the Renaissance (when it comes to reconsidering a scene of conversation in a park through the filter of different versions of the Annunciation), or from more recent periods (when it comes to discussing various evocations of Descent from the Cross in the methodical exploration of a photographic album). The gaze then opens to other universes and is lost in constantly renewed perspectives. The geographic and temporal field is redeployed indefinitely.

Solo show.
In collaboration with OVNI video festival.

Musée Masséna
65 rue de France
06000 Nice
Mo – Sun: 11AM – 18 PM
+33 (0)4 93 91 19 10

Copyright © 2016 Laurent Fiévet