With just a few pieces, like remains, Abel Jallais and Diego Miguel Mirabella suggest the existence of a primordial civilization of which our present would be an uchronia, a sort of paradoxical excavation field. It is no coincidence that the medium used is clay, a two-fold prime material, and that the human figure is absent. All that remains is what it leaves behind: material traces and existential questions.
It is no coincidence that the medium used is clay
Abel Jallais’ ceramics contain – and this is its primary use – in its flanks a kind of absolute autonomy, each piece turning on itself, closed, metonymy of men and their technique, representation of alterity. With its matrix-shaped, nourishing and zoomorphic form, the large jar embodies a multitude of possible uses and rituals. Besides, partially buried in the sand, complex ceramics inspired by civil engineering structures are composed of different cylinders and interlocking elements, diverse in shapes and scale. This set, Ollas, started during a residency in Latin America, transforms the person who discovers it into an archeologist exhuming miniature architectures. Neither a designer nor purely a visual artist, Abel Jallais offers to the objects he creates a whole new range of possibilities, playful and poetic, where his creations are free of any function.
With its mosaics, assemblages of hundreds of fragments forming a whole strapped within wrought iron, Diego Miguel Mirabella intends, in an very contemporary fashion, to seize and divert the artisanal know-how of the Moroccan zelliges. This hybrid work between ornamental art and polyglot semantics proceeds through the verb, the signs, including for the manufacture of the pieces delegated to a Moroccan craftsman having no common language with the artist. A few words appear on the mortar, evidence of the “anti-gesture” of the visual artist as opposed to that of the conservator-restorer, inducing a distortion of time and a beautiful hesitation between the provenance and the intentions of the piece. Those words seem half-erased, hidden in the motif, like a visual reference to the Moorish culture. Against a backdrop of geometric interlacing and abstraction, a poetics of language emerges, grounded in the rich and ever-lasting Orientalist tradition – one may think of Mathias Enard’s book, “Compass”, about the constant cross-fertilization between East and West. Sole three-dimensional piece, the column, archetypal form, finally returns to the human figure and the architecture that shelters it.
Those words seem half-erased, hidden in the motif
Know-how and How-to interact in this exhibition of two complementary artists. Their works seem like resurgences of ancient ceramic traditions in a parallel process of a truly inspired and acute artistic act of reappropriation.