For his third personal exhibition at the gallery, EVARISTE RICHER (b. 1969) puts in place a system that destroys our visual certainties. It undermines our benchmarks and the exhibition is interspersed by constant appearances and disappearances.
In the right-hand room, a large celestial atlas produced in the 1950s covers the wall. In a mirror effect, the artist has reproduced the pages the wrong way round, as if the viewer, gazing from orbit, was no longer seeing these stars from the Earth, but from the depths of space. The artist questions the heavens in their immensity, showing the northern and southern hemispheres, but decided not to show us here the pages of the Equator, leaving our gaze to look for the centrepiece of our reference framework of the planet.
This optical illusion is echoed in a screen print made with animal blood which traces the trajectory of our sight which has been tricked to an experience that is visible elsewhere in the exhibition. Here, the vision seems to be dissected like a muscle. The light diffused by a neon tube recalls the title of the exhibition in its universality, and is erased from view by a judicious arrangement of lenses precisely positioned on a base.
From three metres up, the dazzling gaze of two seraphim opens up the exhibition space while, as imperturbable as the sun and the moon, two silver-emulsion photographs of shiny beetles reveal in their shell the hole left by the entomologist's pin. On the neighbouring wall, "the planned obsolescence of silver-based photography can be found in a precision scale, showing the weight of two Kodak colour gradations. Both the infinite potential of all future images and at the same time, the burden of an old world which no longer wants to compete with the dematerialization of digital images", as Florence Ostende puts it.
In the two rooms, visitors find the rapprochement between natural wonder and human creation, between geological time (fossilized dinosaur egg, stuffed tortoise) and cultural time. In the left-hand room, three paintings are inspired by Carangeot templates, which are small plates used in the 18th century to measure the angles of crystals in order to classify them. From a technical tool which had an undeniable impact in crystallography, Richer determines abstract paintings which challenge minimalist art, while reminding us that the concepts of measurement and classification underpin his entire work. Likewise for the greatly-enlarged Kodak colour gradations, or the plans of the Rialto cinema in Alexandria which, although formally close, seem to be emanations enabling us to grasp reality and understand its representation.