Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog

Press release

Wilfrid Almendra, Julian Charrière, Nick Devereux, Cyprien Gaillard, Adrien Missika, Claire Tabouret
18/09/2015 > 25/10/2015

Opening on 17/09/2015, from 7 pm to 9 pm

The exhibition Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog takes its title from Caspar David Friedrich's major work of Romanticism. Testifying to the movement's favourite themes—mood landscapes, introspection and the experience of the sublime—it has influenced the thinking of many artists up to the contemporary era. The exhibition marks Galerie Bugada & Cargnel's tenth anniversary, through one of its key activities, promoting the young French scene, and it will be presenting the work of six of the artists it represents: Wilfrid ALMENDRA, JULIAN CHARRIÈRE, NICK DEVEREUX, CYPRIEN GAILLARD, ADRIEN MISSIKA and Claire TABOURET.

JULIAN CHARRIÈRE's sculpture, a mass of metal and glass, is inspired by the houses in Drop City, a utopian, pro-technological artists' community of the 1960s in the United States. Precursory in the areas of solar energy and communication, particularly with its reflection on a network foreshadowing the Internet, Drop City inspired many of the artists' communities that followed. Its inhabitants lived in geodesic domes, many made of recycled and assembled car hoods. The artist reconstructed an identical geodesic dome, before undertaking the radical gesture of flattening it with an excavator. JULIAN CHARRIÈRE's sculpture carries two melancholies within it, that of the failure of the "American way of life" symbolised by the car hoods, and that of the impossibility of going back to the counterculture of Drop City. However, they do not mean the renunciation of utopia: for the artist the transition to two dimensions is a way of making a clean slate of the past, and these geodesic domes become a backdrop enabling us to imagine new contemporary utopias.

ADRIEN MISSIKA's rocks, to which he applies a motif by transfer, convey ideas of sedimentation and surging. The artist carries out material alterations on stones found in nature; on their mineral surface, he creates a vegetal microcosm: the represented cannabis plants suggest a calmed inner world in which a dreamlike mood mixes with intensified emotions and aesthetic transcendence.

WILFRID ALMENDRA presents a mural sculpture made of glass and plants. It evokes the communal space of an allotment, crystallising the artist's interest in pavilion and peri-urban architecture. The point is not to compare a disadvantaged aesthetic with noble architecture. Quite the contrary, in a latent suggestion, an almost ghostlike presence, WILFRID ALMENDRA composes a fluid, intuitive atmosphere, made up of plants and materials doomed to invisibility, destruction and oblivion. He reveals them for their own qualities, without totemism or symbolism.

Extracted from a monumental, immersive installation entitled Flakturm, Nick DEVEREUX's two oil-on-canvas paintings were made using the traditional "Sight-Size" technique used particularly in the baroque period. For this series, the artist based his work on a series of 417 archive photographs documenting paintings destroyed in Berlin's Friedrichshain bunker in May 1945. NICK DEVEREUX offers a reinterpretation of these images of images, celebrating memory as a primary creative tool.

CYPRIEN GAILLARD's readymade presents an excavator tooth, a metonymy of humankind's geological relationship with history. It is the signifier of the machine that excavates, destroys traces of the past in order to erect new constructions that will themselves also make history. The work highlights our ability to both embrace and erase our references, our history, in the manner of what JULIAN CHARRIÈRE offers in his work.

CLAIRE TABOURET cites German Romanticism as her inspiration. At the heart of her large painting, in which a female character stands in the middle of a desert landscape scattered with cactuses, the artist transposes the male heroic figure into a female figure. This painting, with its halo of misty light and its muted colours, carries out a reversal of gender roles, even going as far as turning around the walking figure to face the viewer. CLAIRE TABOURET offers a reinterpretation of that Wanderer who inspired her, while celebrating oneirism.

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog—the painting—might ultimately tell us a story about an angle, about depth of field and about a gaze piercing the fog, rather than about Romanticism. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog—the exhibition—highlights the notions of point of view, perspective and clear-sightedness. It draws the timeline that the artists follow, one entwined with influences and intuitions. It is, in short, the mirror of the gallery.