Rust: Achille Bonito Oliva presents the work of Louise Manzon

Installation by Louise Manzon
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Isola San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia
From April 2 to May 17, 2015

An event by Advantage Première Art Fund


Yes… Sculpture!

by Anchille Bonito Oliva


Art?… Art! Sculpture?… Sculpture! Two questions and two exclamatory and emphatic statements. Both having a resplendent and fortuitous confirmation in Louise Manzon’s artistic practice. If technology has given rise to a production and consumption of images marked by automation – and thus, by indifference – art, through the recovery of manual adeptness, has restored the values of discontinuity and difference. Technology advances a visual world that is two-dimensional.
Sculpture re-establishes resonance and gives duration to the images.
Whether fired clay ceramic or terracotta, the use of the material – in its viscous sedimentary quality – responds to Manzon’s need to bring back to art the ancient dream of images that continue and endure, and which, in terms of expectations means reasserting the hope of
possible immortality.
So, this could well be the reaffirmed value for making art today, a nomadic and eclectic approach that draws from art history and from myth, recasting it in the present and
remodelling it in the unhurried material of sculpture. Duration set against obsolescence, matter in opposition to surface, all within a frame constructed to go beyond boundaries.
In this instance, reinstituting sculpture means to re-establish the intensity of art, the possibility to charge the image with the power of seduction, capable of transmitting messages that even involve ecology.
Manzon’s sculpture enfolds itself in the narrative iconography of myths, of both human and animalistic nature. Sculpture is what causes the artist’s phantasms to become real, transmuting the illusions into a concrete vision of works of art asking to be let into the world.
The sculptural language, however, is not utilized as an antiquarian means to fetishistically bring back the art of times past, but as a tool capable of giving substance to images that exist on three levels: below the earth, on the earth, in the air. Images that develop in both ascending and descending movement, each time corresponding with the motivations underlying the inspiration and the resulting composition.
The level below the earth is expressed through fish images that evoke water, moisture and plants. The undersea fauna, formed using terracotta, seem to gulp for air in a search for a
survival that is clearly threatened by man. The level of the earth is conjured up through the presence and configuration of a feminine essence that seemingly lives on the surface of the earth, arranged through complexly posed characters.
This female figure is Tethys, with the self-evident narcissism of a body depicted with extreme resonance. The third level, the air, is alluded to by a sort of fan adorning the mythical sea goddess’ head. A baroque structure supports the sculptural framework, the volumes of the body and the garments articulated within the enveloping shape. The curved line hints at an upward movement, climbing towards aerial settings and wondrous vertical ascents that liberate Tethys from the laws of gravity.