Chloe Piene : Malpertuis - Drawings and sculptures

28 January - 23 April 2011 Charles Decoster - Brussels

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is pleased to welcome the first solo show of American artist Chloé Piene in its Brussels gallery.

After important exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Bern in 2004 and the Carré d'Art de Nîmes in 2007, this anticipated Solo Show brings together recent works by Chloé Piene, 11 drawings and sculptures made over the past three years. These works offer an indispensable counterpart to the much-acclaimed video work of an artist (You're gonna be my woman, Blackmouth, Self-Portrait) who has always declined her iconography and her mental universe on complementary media, digging with an economy of means and an intact power the same obsessions: sex, death, prison, madness.

From one medium to another, an intense psychological tension persists, allowing the deployment of a macabre theater of the intimate that sometimes stages the emotions of the body - in the charcoal drawings in particular - and sometimes shows the human figure in the test of time: these are the "memento mori" sculpted in steel, plastiline or cast iron. These bodies and figures express a primitive, animal, often violent gesture, set in a bare, sometimes absent, setting.

"What presents itself to us is first and foremost the line itself, always energetic, even when it becomes tenuous," explains art critic Barry Schwabsky in the reference text A Portée de main (Chloé Piene, 2007 Carré d'Art de Nîmes). "The bodies represented are often amputated of their heads, legs or arms, like fragments of ancient sculptures exhumed by excavations," he continues, speaking of an "abstract calligraphy that unites its drawn bodies to the space they occupy. The delicate momentum of the charcoal that plays with the transparency and opacity of the vellum paper is matched by the hollows and solids of the sculpted material: Chloe Piene asserts herself here as a master of ellipsis, constantly forcing the viewer's imagination to recompose the integrity of the figure or scene, which always seems to stop at the decisive moment.

For Barry Schwabsky, the works of Chloe Piene "touch on the dimension of myth through the fascinated contemplation of the kinship between man and animal, or through the existential questioning of the meeting points between eroticism and the apprehension of death. The medieval mythology, chivalry, within which the heroic event of the History lived by the Man merges with the intimate life of the particular is indeed summoned, giving to the work of Chloe Piene an essential literary component.