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From idealistic philosophy to popular tales, from pure science to
padded dreams, from romantic landscapes to sports grounds,
the imaginary comes by surprise, along the long stroll from which
the art of Olivier Magnier has drawn inspiration in spinning.
A magnetised wandering, where wonder has not found any
rest area, fascination has not found any care, simultaneously
attracted by the infinitely small and the infinitely large, moved by
an equal passion for masterpieces and natural phenomena.
This omnivorous appetite seems to transmit a feverish desire for
absolute knowledge whose methodology would refrain from choosing
between rational thought and poetic ecstasy.
The New Scientific spirit is here resuscitated in a gently regressive
and solidly melancholic mood, but which, where everything has
already been clarified, where the least square metre of land and sky
has been discovered, has no other means for maintaining his
fantasies of revelations except by inventing new secrets and by
feeding the rumour of them by creating the proof for them.
Thus the status of these objects is quickly questioned when they
take the form of a cartographic survey or a sample taken, evoking
maliciously the practices of exhibitions of “site-specific” minimal art
during the 1970s.
Bile noire [Black bile] (2012) is a banal map of the sky exhibited
in a glass on which a new constellation appears in screen print.
Astride the Milky Way, it has the shape of the polyhedron depicted
in Dürer’s Melancolia. The gesture that gives birth to another reality
is simple and reversible, without consequence, like a tracing delicately
placed on the world.
Drawing, printmaking, modelling, multimedia sculpture, without
preference for a technique but continually expressing a taste for
experimentation, producing proof of what could be a parallel world,
if heterogeneous things which are born in the studio were of the
same species, composed the décor of the same fiction whose plot
dizzily escapes us. From which continent was the small raw earth
cactus brought back (Cactus, 2012)? What is this ecosystem from
which it was uprooted, in which the stones are more fragile than
the plants, and death more moving than life? Perhaps from the one
where pebbles contain autonomous solar systems, although under
these foreign latitudes it is more likely that a type of Météore
[Meteor] (2011) is found in a souvenir shop than during an expedition.
His moulded resin crust may show its false character, like that of the
flicker seen in its heart; the rare false stone succeeds in generating
a spell.
It is a bionic descendent of “Dream stones” collected in the Orient
whose aura and price are proportional to the accidental drawing
appearing on its section (a mountain or a fairy). The excitation of
curiosity by what does not hide its nature as an artefact and,
even more of an intentional work of art, the refore proceeds from
the reversed syndrome of the dream stone. Such a hypothesis would
see in these objects whose status is suspect, the accessories
of a behavioural study of which we would be the ecstatic guinea pigs.

Julie Portier.

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