Author texts

Christian Gattinoni, "The opera of outstanding performances"

Posted in, 2016

Corinne Mercadier is one of those too rare artists who, from series to series, evolve in their imaginary universe, forging it into a work. Her latest opus at the Galerie des Filles du Calvaire Here begins the sky invites the viewer to participate actively.

In 1995, I had been one of the privileged people she had questioned on this existential question, more radical than it seems: Where does the sky begin? (Editions Filigranes) If twenty years later she seems to want to complete a cycle by turning the formula around, it appears that by its tautological nature the response formulation actually invites us to ask other equally fundamental questions.

Some answers are provided by the artist in her exhibition Dreamt Images (Espace Leica, Paris), which takes place at the same time, the presentation of Polaroids, drawings and projects constitute so many scenographic indications for a show to come.

In the gallery, Corinne Mercadier builds through occasional approaches to autonomous scenes, a kind of opera made up of performances put together and whose libretto remains to be written by the spectators that we are.

In the last small room, a slide show invites us to leaf her workbook where the numerous stage directions bear witness to the various scenographic preparations.

She thus claims a wonderful continuity between the Suite d'Arles created on the roofs of the Musée Réattu and these recent performances on other institutional roofs including the Paris Observatory and the Domaine de Chambord.

This choice is no more innocent than that of Steven Cohen in the basement of the main stage of the Palais des Papes in Avignon. Corinne Mercadier remembers her scenic complicity with Daniel Larrieu when, over the past few years, she has given herself the freedom to include dancers in her nocturnal productions. With them she also plays the parade of materials and volumes in charge of dialoguing with the geometry of architectures and places.

Dancers are most often held back on the edge of the movement. While they can appear hieratic, they retain in the image all their energetic potential. Like the performer focused on most of his reduced action, the dancers here play at a minimum with a restraint that reveals a real commitment. The costumes with which the artist has adorned them contribute to this economy of gesture, even if the flounce of a dress sometimes betrays a more danced pass.

Each performed scene develops these baroque links between clothing, scenic materials and committed bodies for an opera still suspended in the magnificence of colors.