The Endless millimeter is Evariste Richer’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. Richer explores places; to comprehend the world, he discerns, divides up, classifies and maps out. As it were, he establishes a nomenclature incorporating a poetic vision with scientific rigour.
In the left-hand room, visitors first encounter Le Déluge (The Deluge), a monochrome triptych representing a world map on which
the continents have systematically been erased. We witness a disappearance of the land which is replaced by water covering the entire surface of the globe. This relationship between solid and liquid can be found in many works such as Le Bleu du Ciel (The Blue of the Sky) showing a hand pinching a piece of flesh grabbed from the sky, or Tout l’Univers (The Whole Universe) with a plastic bag (which appears to oscillate between liquid and solid states) containing its exact volume in plexiglass.The large depiction of clouds also forms part of this relationship between the various states that rule our lives. Starting out from photos of
clouds classified by scientists, Richer reproduces these vaporous shapes on enamelled sheets using a dice form. By reproducing a photo of a cloud, he brings us a frozen random image, a fossilisation of clouds.
The openness to the sky becomes more metaphorical with Cornucopia, a scan on a 1:1 scale of a recycled cardboard package.The mythical name Everest is used here by the energy industry (packaging of zinc-carbon batteries) but confronts the viewer with numerous ambiguities (exploitation of natural resources, global warming, pollution of the tallest mountains due to excessive tourism, ...). Richer constantly creates parallels between transformation of materials (carbon into diamonds) and artistic movement from one field to another (a carton becomes a work of art).
The work which gives the exhibition its title The endless millimeter is a slice of meteorite on which a measurement of one millimetre has been screen-printed. A fine tribute to the relationship between the smallest measurement for the human eye and the extremely distant, thus creating a clear link between space and time. We know that meteorites tell us about the beginnings of the universe, the start of the infinite in a manner of speaking.
You Die IfYou Do /You Die IfYou Don’t is a pair of works consisting of real dice, which reveal these two slogans casting an amused gaze at the human condition. Whatever we do, the inevitable will still happen.
The right-hand room reveals a false symmetry of other clouds made of enamelled sheets as well as two hands which, in a suspended gesture, are offering a gift to visitors. Either hand-made dice perforated with a single dot (no loser, no winner), or a survival blanket held between the fingers like a wad of banknotes. The reference to contemporary society and political issues are clear. Migrations concern people and places.
Richer has incorporated the survival blanket into his work over many years. We find an abstract, unfolded vision of this blanket with canvasses that use gold and silver pigments to reconstitute the exact folds of a standard blanket. Minimalism that takes the human body as a reference. Nevertheless, our gaze can feel disturbed by the grid or even prison-like appearance of the structure represented on the canvas.
Alongside these canvasses, The abscissa and the ordinate (x and y axes) is a limestone sheet graduated like a tool, in the same way as a set square; Richer has used natural infiltrations (known as dendrites) which seem to have a geometric pattern. Measuring the world is a constant in Richer’s work, as we can see in the series of photos Les Promesses (Promises).The artist positions a Kodak colour chart in front of Zhangye Danxia geological park in China.The pictures of the mountains come from the Internet, and Richer explores the falsification of colours perpetrated by Internet users.The title comes from his desire to travel to this place in the future, and the potential disappointment when seeing it in reality.
Finally, in two cosy locations, we see En attendant la Foudre 2 (Waiting for the lightning 2) and Sublimation (Sublimation). The former sets a fossilized tortoise dating back millions of years against a copper tube placed vertically on its shell like a potential threat, as if the sleeping animal could be awoken by some electric magic. Sublimation covers the full width over the doorway.This metal strip lists every pole-vault record, without any information other than the heights achieved. It is a stripped-down ruler that examines Man’s determination to surpass previous exploits. Where are the limits to that urge? Of course, the laws of gravity are real, and continually impose a degree of humility on Man.