[February 2 2018]
For his first solo show at MAMO, Théodore Fivel presents his series Alpha, originating from his large ensemble of works, Charges. Alpha shapes a dialog with the Mediterranean sea. This series refers to Tethys, primitive ocean, slowly dismantled by the drift of continents, maritime myth of waves engulfed in the origins of the world. It is a source of inspiration for the artist’s futurist mental projections, as if he were redrawing the sea and its depth, as if Tethys were hiding in us and carried inside the sediments of salvation from all waters of our planet.
Charges is a large molar ensemble which sublimes nature in an alchemy of strangeness, smoothing the frontier between sculpture and painting. The shapes are carved in wood and then covered with multiple layers of paint charged with different minerals and slivers of material that the artist then remodels. From this technique emerge polychromous sculptures of shifting materiality, almost incandescent. The compositions of colorful precipitates give birth to a reflection on abstraction and the components of any work of art, its materiality and the context of its exhibition.
A first glance, Théodore Fivel’s work evokes geology: figurations of deserted spaces, minerals, plants, chunks of earth immerged at the bottom of our seas, unknown islands, fragments of mountains – an entire cartography, both hypnotical and anamorphic, of faraway planets, futuristic or primitive. Observed through a topographical prism, they become heretopias – utopian spaces which the artist gives life to. But that it is only a first glance. What Théodore Fivel truly represents are pure abstractions, of anisotropic nature.
He thinks the shape, and captures it, making it new to the eye, to the touch, to the sensation. To elaborate these new thoughts, a new language is required, similarly to Martin Heidegger’s holzweg, these forest tracks meant to lead nowhere, but whose hitherto unseen structures signal new worlds.
“Téthys” is on view until February 4th, 2018 at MAMO, Centre d’art de la Cité Radieuse, 280 Boulevard Michelet, Marseille.
Text Colin Ledoux and photo Stéphane Aboudaram