Philosopher and poet
I am back from a magnificent exhibition in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, “Le contemporain dessiné.” A rich and varied one, it was conceived of by Agnès Callu, its curator, as a journey. A temporal journey. Drawing the present, or rather, the current contemporaneity, currentness of the present that is projected, the capture of a movement in the heart of the relationship between being and becoming, there, under our eyes. Where it reconnects with the origins of drawing and of purpose, where the gesture frees itself from the intention, integrating the latter to the work that makes it come to be. But also a spatial journey. On a number of floors, from the 5th to the 9th and last, in the heart of the permanent collection of furniture and objects that are presicely contemporaneous. Both journeys are intertwined, one leading to the other, nourishing each other. To be, all along, surrounded by objects from a time past but next to come, and by works that draw the contemporary, give the latter the historical thickness without which it would be dissociated from the flux which irrigates it and contains it, in the sense of the Aufhebung, as Hegel would put it. Thus, drawing the contemporary does not mean being a passive spectator, it is to create it. And this is proven, physically and emotionally, it is permeated with the historic depth that turns the contemporary into, simultaneously, the fruit of the past and the occurrence of the present, an arrow pointed towards hereafter.
It is necessary then to take hold of time, to sink into it. One finds oneself in another place and inside (with Billie Holiday taking us by the hand). Works that come in a wide variety of techniques, measures, materials, content, etc. An array of the contemporary. And amongst these works, Alexis Yebra’s.
There, in a strong sense, a very big canvas, high up, which one can only approach from a variety of angles: in an oblique way, a baroque one, from up above, from down below, from the sides, trapped in the organized maze of the journey, driven by the extremity of the eyes. Baroque approximation, since the work shuns the face-to-face, disappears only to resurface, different, and when that is done, the vertigo prevails, the movement supports us, contemporary. The size is not, by the way, strange to what, differently from the beautiful, conveys the feeling of the sublime, of the surpassing of limits, not only of the imagination but of reason. Aesthetic effect, qualitative, of dimension, of quantity. When one is before the work, at its foot, after having made one’s way, having gone around it, in the narrowing of what is near and far, one is inside, drawn and pushed. I believe I penetrated the inaugural gesture of the drawing, I resumed with the original energy of every stroke, of every shape arising out of nothing, of the first drawing of a purpose, and of the “dance” of the spirit of which Bataille speaks in reference to Lascaux. Lascaux, contemporary. Magic. Reactivated origin. Life. Fluffy space, dreamlike while material, soft and potent due to its texture; universe in the making, breeding, birthing. On which the first gestures are traced, even cut, simultaneously a trace of creation and the creation of the trace, a search for and position of one sense, that operates in keeping with a rupture and an integration. Man as donor of meaning, thinking along the lines of Merleau-Ponty. Alexis Yebra enables us to partake, from the inside, in the emotion of the one who, at the same time the first one and always living, continues to vibrate the freshly-born contemporary.
Paris, April 27th, 2016.