Pierre Mazingarbe Emmanuelle Lequeux
Dans quel univers Pierre Mazingarbe, réalisateur et dessinateur, nous conduitil ? Dans celui du conte, assurément. La fantaisie des titres de ses films – Ce qui me fait prendre le train, le Roi des Belges, les Poissons préfèrent l’eau du bain –, leur contenu à la fois mélancolique et joyeux plongent le spectateur dans un monde flottant, rugueux. Retrouver la texture du rêve sous le regard expert d’Alice au pays des merveilles : ainsi pourrait-on définir cette oeuvre qui a récemment été exposée à la Maison européenne de la photographie et à laquelle a été attribué le prix StudioCollector 2013.
Vit-il dans le présent, ce jeune homme d’à peine vingt-six ans qui conçoit des oeuvres comme on tanne des peaux de chagrin ? Vit-il dans notre monde, cet artiste qui semble à mille lieues des préoccupations de ses pairs ? Il y a une infinie singularité dans l’oeuvre de Pierre Mazingarbe, et ne serait-ce que dans son nom, quelque chose dit l’ancien temps. Rien de passéiste pourtant dans son oeuvre, constituée d’une constellation de films, dessins et sculptures répondant à des liens organiques. Mais des racines dans l’outre-tombe, qui le projettent hors du temps. Rien de bêtement sépia dans son univers si particulier. Mais un refus concerté de céder à l’esthétique dominante, un usage obstiné du noir et blanc, une poésie revendiquée. Sa forêt de signes fourmille de mille références qui font d’ordinaire peur aux artistes contemporains : Pierre Mazingarbe pourrait être l’enfant de Lewis Carroll et de la nouvelle vague du cinéma coréen, le cousin lointain du lapin d’Alice au
tional effect. Artists are always asking themselves these kinds of questions: how to compose a piece, or how to balance an installation? This series is all the same: a central object surrounded by white, always the same size, as if we were always looking from the same focal distance. From the beginning, anything that could simplify this project was welcome. What is this matter we see made of, since what we see is an image of matter? Are there any referents, anything that might have been scanned, that you found in the material world? How were these images constructed? Nature, on the human scale, is comprised of the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. I mainly explored the mineral kingdom, because I could. Lately I’ve been taking up the animal kingdom, and after that, doubtlessly, I’ll start on the vegetable kingdom. I’m entertaining the idea of working at the Rungis wholesale market. I’d like to record a corpus of images of fish, to photograph them, but it’s not exactly photography, it’s something else, a strategy of subversion, not manipulating the images either, just a new way to make images.
A sequence of textures? For example, this (he shows an artwork) is made of crumpled tissue paper and 70 tracings, each made separately and then compressed to produce a computergenerated image, an invented planet, but a planet nonetheless. It’s as if each tracing was like a particular stage in the chemical or geological evolution of this fictional planet? Yes, or a glaze, as it was called in the fifteenth century or the Renaissance, when a finished painting was covered with a glaze to refine the image in the chemical sense of the term. Your work is often testament to your affection for old objects, objects with a patina, a bit like Diderot’s old dressing gown. Even when you started this new series you didn’t abandon this texture of old objects. I’m not into rupture. My evolution as an artist has been more like a slow drift. I don’t forget things, I recycle them. The concept of recycling is very much in conformity with the Asian tradition. Nobody ever invents anything. We recycle things others have made. We reread things. Artists don’t abandon their basic principles. If they did, that would be very bad sign for their work. They just learn to see things differently. That’s exactly what’s going on in this project. It’s a process of poetic, mental and intellectual construction, made possible by a lifetime of work. A little while ago I tried to figure out how Pan
theo-Vortex arose and matured out of my previous work–what are the elements of continuity.
A ECHO OF THE COSMOS
In that regard an image came to mind in looking at works of yours like L’Invention du monde and Le Principe du monde made in 1996, which are more sculptural, more like objects. It’s almost as if for this new Pantheo-Vortex series you had zoomed in on your sculptures. As if, in the end, these images arose more directly from sculpture and objects than from painting. To be sure. L’Invention du monde was one of my first sculptures. It was an attempt to resonate with the cosmos, with that mysterious quest for equilibrium that could describe its expansion. And it also contained a bit of Pantheo-Vortex DNA. A bit like a basic motivating principle. A little suspended planet closed in or protected (whichever you prefer) by a glass limbus that holds up large positioning ribs. This little piece is a cosmos all by itself, seeking, in its own way, to capture the world’s mystery, the breathe at the beginning of time. Perhaps it signals the coming of the greatest cosmic event, the appearance of life amid its mighty forces. These early sculptures nourished the
Pantheo-Vortex. Your remark was like holding up a mirror in front of me; it made me realize just how much my work has unfolded around a single logic. But in taking about the origin of this project, you compared it to a pear, which of course is a sculpture. It’s a 3D piece, a hot piece, reconciling and at peace. You really can look at the world like that. You can struggle against its hardness, complexity, concentration and shrinking not only with your body, but also your mind. You can embrace other people, look at others as if you were seeing yourself, look at a fruit as if it were a Brancusi, celebrate the prodigious genius of nature. All great artists are aware of nature’s genius, its unsurpassable invention of forms. The greatest artist is a dwarf in the face of the pantheist power. I’m fascinated by Roger Caillois’s famous mimetic octopuses that constantly change