GRADUALLY, THEN SUDDENLY
Text by Marion Vasseur Raluy
10/01/2018 - 24/02/2018
One Sunday evening in November, I entered the basilica Notre-Dame-des-Victoires located in the second arrondissement of Paris. This place of worship built in the seventeenth century is remarkable for its ornamentation. I was particularly struck by the ex-voto that cover almost all the walls of the church and more particularly the wooden hearts hung at five or six meters high like real offerings. Near the altar, the faithful were seated and followed the mass. When I got to their level, the sisters began to sing. Their intense voices enveloped the silence of the church. I settled on a bench a little behind. I then felt a state similar to the one I knew in front of certain artworks: a kind of completeness. For a few seconds I felt present in my entirety. For several years now, the power play between mysticism and art has intrigued me. I discovered artists who, like me, were interested in such forms of belief as deviant as art may appear to others. If in this context, figures like Aleister Crowley haunt the imagination of some, spirituality has taken multiple forms in the work of contemporary artists.
This is the case with Bianca Bondi who presents her first solo exhibition at the gallery 22,48 m2. Her work is tinted with a particular interest for forms of religion relating to her origins. Born in South Africa and currently living in France, the artists quasi-alchemical experiments sometimes bring to mind healers and conjurers. Notably, she uses salt, which regains its protective qualities as seen across various beliefs. This material when associated with water and other chemicals allows for the transformation of everyday objects.
Her combinations provoke reactions that become vegetation that she then places under glass. She creates ecosystems, discernable entities that shift and evolve over time. These showcases are a kind of debris belonging to another time. It is also a way for the artist to come into contact with a certain letting go. She works with the materials, as one would revisit a grandmother’s recipe, placing faith in the ingredients themselves. Remaining open to the result of their encounter. She attempts different combinations, causing chance apparitions. Each material has an associated energy as in witchcraft and with chemistry that lives and continues to evolve after her intervention. They are conductors of heat, or on the contrary, prevent its passage. Like salt, latex plays an important role in the artists practice. Here it is disseminated across part of the gallery floor. Appearing animated but in the process of decrepitude, its fetishist character enhanced by its brilliance. Symbolic of an ebbing force unlike the salt that allows for the emergence of new forms. As if everything was a question of apparition and disappearance.
In this back and forth between salt and latex a more mysterious role in the relationship of the artist to the materials is played out. Both serve to cover, protect and act as a second skin. They encircle us in order to preserve us. The properties of the chosen materials are transmitted in a way that can be both spiritual and libidinous. In Wicca, a branch of witchcraft, there is a belief in returning to the primary state. Gerald Gardner, founder of modern Wicca, has drawn on works by anthropologists, such as Mircea Eliade, who has written extensively on the idea of a first religion and the history of origin. For the artist, the obsession of beginning and chaos take meaning and form in a more or less mastered creation of the universes. It is the maternal body or more broadly spoken the Earth that gives life. Bianca Bondi makes casings in the form of salt circles and latex terrains to heal the wounds of creation.
With the partnership of "Centre national des arts plastiques"