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Air de Paris: Shimabuku // Monica Majoli - 21 Mar 2014 to 10 May 2014

Current Exhibition

21 Mar 2014 to 10 May 2014

Air de Paris
32, rue Louise Weiss
FR - 75013
T: +33 (1) 4423 0277
F: +33 (1) 5361 2284


Artists in this exhibition: Shimabuku, Monica Majoli

Du 21 mars au 10 mai 2014 / March 21 - May 10, 2014
Vernissage le 21 mars de 18h à 21h / Preview March 21st, 6-9 pm

City in the Sea

Intrigued by his discovery of kuchiko, dried sea cucumber ovaries, Shimabuku decided on a trip to Noto, Japan to see the delicacy being made. During his stay there he met women who work for hours cutting up sea cucumbers and men placing the light orange strips on wooden frames to dry. Making kuchiko is seen as a battle against the forces of nature. As part of City in the Sea a video and a sculpture showing the preparation process will be on show, and at the close of the exhibition a farewell tasting will be organised before the works continue on their way.

Shimabuku's oeuvre hinges on specific encounters between people and the elements. Born in 1969 in Kobe, Japan's second-largest port, he is particularly interested in the sea: as it happens, the first of the two Chinese characters making up his family name means 'island'. City in the Sea also exists as a slide projection portraying a form of marine life suggesting a mysteriously engulfed city whose buildings are made of salt crystals. The artist was so struck by the regularity of their arrangement and their resemblance to the Pyramids that it became evident to him that this harmonious work of nature had influenced the architecture of our ancestors. City in the Sea works with memory, notably in the Super-8 film Children Playing in the Sea, in which the children of Noto are seen challenging the sea by defying the waves and throwing stones: moving moments that take us back to those distant, carefree times when the sea seemed like a dream. This dreamlike feeling pervades the exhibition, notably in Stones with Code, which transmutes simple fishing sinkers found on the Noto beaches into secret, magical bearers of fishermen's prayers; and Fish Spin-drying Device, an astute implement for doing exactly what its name says, made out of bicycle wheels that remind us of the one that stood in state in Marcel Duchamp's studio well before it entered the history of art. City in the Sea urges us to take the time to look at the world around us, especially with the work Sea and Flowers, inspired by the observation of a red flower floating among the waves just off the coast of Noto. Here we find Shimabuku wondering about where the flower came from, and how it got there, and deciding to illustrate its voyage by offering the sea petals without knowing if, someday, they will make a landfall somewhere. As we are well aware, though, it is not really the arrival that counts.

Monica Majoli

Pam is an exhibition comprised of four paintings of the same woman over the span of twenty years. Three recent portraits on view recall the Black Mirror series, which Majoli developed from 2008-2014. The series was based on photographs of former lovers as reflected in the black mirrors which line the bedroom of her Los Angeles home. Here, however, the visual interference is less pronounced, so much so that the artist sees these works as a distinct body of images. For her, in this group of paintings, the return to employing oil paint as a medium is also a return to a face she associates with the history of European painting. The three new portraits are juxtaposed with the artist’s first autobiographical painting, made in 1992 and included in her first exhibition at Air de Paris in 1995. This lapidary painting on pentagonal panel documents in a devotional mode the artist with Pam in her bedroom as it was then. Rife with symbolic imagery, Majoli explains that she was challenged by the intensity of the format and sought to paint an image that held the power of the shape itself. She identified Pam with a bird and in this domestic shape she cites a birdcage. In bringing these paintings together for her fourth solo exhibition at Air de Paris, she examines not only her subject, Pam, but herself in the form of the paintings themselves, a depiction of the artist’s divergent and related concerns over the course of two decades of painting. Most of all she is reasserting her work’s affinity with a personal, domestic history and an ambivalence - the exhaustion/permanence of desire – which her pictures succeed neither in resolving nor truly revivifying precisely because they share its fetishes.

Air de Paris

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