A young girl contemplates a canvas in a museum. The painting – a rough sea – merges with her hair, blue too. The scene, a priori, is ordinary. As part of the exhibition currently being held at Espace Valentin 61, this photograph of the artist Myriam Ziehli reminds us how much we miss cultural places. This is the reflection that the plastic surgeon and commissioner Marie-Christine Gailloud-Matthieu made one morning.
“It was the end of January. Everything was closed, we couldn’t see the end of it. I thought of these artists deprived of their sources of income, and of audiences who, like me, were overdosed on television series. ” This is not a fad of confinement: since 2005 and the opening of her medical practice, she has already organized around fifty events on the walls of her workplace.
That day, she activates her network launches in a few hours February blues, a collective and evolving exhibition that brings together 62 artists. It is also one of the rare events accessible to the public this month, made possible by the specific status of the cabinet, which, by its medical function, escapes health closures.
The works, hung as they are received and published on the internet, are available for sale and the proceeds go directly to the artists. Already in April 2020, distraught by the fragility of their situations, Marie-Christine Gailloud-Matthieu had created a first support fund supplied by the online sale of some 120 pieces.
On the walls of February blues, there are known or familiar names: Alain huck, Sylvie Fleury, Maya rochat, Simon Paccaud, Andreas Hochuli or Anne Rochat. Others are the artists to follow on the young French-speaking scene. Their productions betray the ambient uncertainty without ever stopping the eye. We can spot, among other things, Gaia Vincensini, 28, Manor Cultural Prize 2020 whose exhibition at MAMCO has just been postponed. His Floating well, a pen drawing on paper of a character facing his double, is a direct response to the current situation: “We reach degrees of surrealism such that we must be able to get out of ourselves to accept and digest certain information.”
Paradoxes, social imbalances
In Crazy Time, Selim boubaker, 29 years old, shows a ransacked game of chess: “The pandemic highlights all the dysfunctions of the system. At this stage, the madman is the most sane, the only one who can keep his line. ” With its two skyscrapers on a fluorescent background and glitter, the Suicide dream of Caroline Ventura, 26, has something euphoric: “My work is nourished by paradoxes, social imbalances. So the confinement, the health policies, the omnipresent fear and the apocalyptic energy that it generates, despite everything, that inspires me. ”
She is not the only one, the walls of Espace Valentin 61 seem to tell us, at the same time as they remind us that artistic creation is a formidable catalyst for our collective unconscious.
“February blues”, Valentine 61, until February 28.