Deep Sand Bed

January 08 - February 26, 2022

The bluish light irradiates the entire glass surface of the aquarium like a screen or a stained-glass window. Resting upon the sandy bottom, it defines the contours of a geological cross-section. At the interface of this iridescent line, the above and below are distinct: two opposed worlds – mineral and aqueous – are in dialogue. The boundary is porous and intermediary like the surface of the epidermis. In the density of the mineral floor is a terracing of sandy beds with heterogeneous granulates hosting a multitude of living strains. Under the inert appearance of this material, thousands of microorganisms participate in the active and natural filtration of this aquatic ecosystem, passing from one milieu to the other.

The fluorescent yellow line that surrounds the canvas traces the contour and marks the boundary with the external world. This fluorescent yellow line – a deliberately tinted watertight seal – is the first stroke of all Clédia Fourniau’s paintings in large or small format. The artist, who recently graduated from Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts, experiments with a kind of painting that refers to painting. In the protocol of her approach, everything is created through thickness: colour upon colour; material upon material. A point of erasure or an overpainting, the layers are superimposed, completing one another as they blur the above and the below. Through a double movement between sedimentation and infiltration, the paints react. Living, controlled and uncontrollable, the different layers – traces of each stroke – provoke through this colourful sensation a reversal of the figure and the ground, disturbing our perceptions. Thus, the result, in the form of an archive of strokes, absorbs us.

The law of Dalton, published in 1802, states the impact of pressure on an ensemble of perfect gasses and allows us to explain the effects produced by the pressurisation of azote when a diver plunges into the abyss. Alone, confronted with the immensity and the intoxication of the depths, a new fantasy takes shape. During the descent into the landscapes of the submersible, the colorimetric system alters. Since rays of light can only partially penetrate to the bottom of the sea, the colours disappear. Red, orange, vermillion – so many shimmering colours that compose the finery of the fauna and flora – are diluted in the infinite blue of the depths, an irresistible monochrome, a poetic aquarium.

Here before us is this large canvas that looms over us, summoning us. Its surface is a land of contrasts: both liquid and resinous, both matt and rugged like coral on a rock. The material is haptic, the colour abyssal. Clédia Fourniau’s paintings, presented here for her first solo exhibition at the Galerie Paris-B, engage and invite us. Exploring a variety of formats, the artist calls out to us from a great distance – to our eyes, to our bodies. To look at Clédia Forniau’s paintings is inevitably to project oneself upon them; to approach them is to be confronted with one’s own reflection. Because it is as much about our body as a spectator as it is about its own. Clédia Fourniau battles with her canvases in order to offer us a sensorial experience: a submersion into the infinite, whether it be material or colour. Let us take the plunge.

Thomas Havet