The poetics of French artist Cyril de Commarque are infused with references to memory and research on collective memory in the meanderings of history. Through the masterful use of new technologies, the artist creates installations that aim at the emotional involvement of the public, stimulating the senses across the board. Images, sounds and a powerful symbolic component create an immersive atmosphere that sends messages straight to our consciousness, stimulating recollection of terrible events of the past, first and foremost the Holocaust, to reawaken attention to the tragedies of the present. The powerful autobiographical component in monumental works like La racine perdue le pe?re de mon pe?re dissolve in a universal humanitarian parable, aware that an understanding of the present, especially in our “liquid society”, is only possible through the responsible rereading of the past. The artist uses a meta-narrative language that makes use of the expressive potential of the means to “represent”, in various ways, the collective drama of Exodus, from the Biblical departure of the Hebrew population to those of today’s migrants. In the installation Migrants, bottles are on the one hand a metaphor for the forced voyage in the desperation for survival of the African populations constrained to travel the waters of the Mediterranean,

to cross the invisible boundaries of Europe in a makeshift way and, on the other hand, the symbol of a limbo, a condition at once both uncertain and hopeful. In a composition organic in tone and emulating the vascular system, glass bottles, resting on a rusted metal plate from a boat, contain throbbing forms similar to a heart or lungs that fill the room with the sound of voices, anonymous and confused messages, vocal and no longer written, that create a sensation of disorientation, a state of precariousness, of tension and finally of personal involvement in this collective drama.

Mario Codognato
Curator
(chief curator 21er Haus, Museum Belvedere, Vienna)

Fragile? Fondazione Cini, Le Stanze del Vetro, Venice 2013.
Analog, Blain Southern Gallery Berlin 2013/14
Frontiers, Macro Museum Roma 2014/15