Dominique Blais — La fin du contretemps


Installation, sculpture, sound - music, mixed media

Dominique Blais
La fin du contretemps

Past: February 10 → April 7, 2018

Dominique blais exposition paris xippas galerie 14 1 grid Entretien — Dominique Blais Dans « La fin du contretemps », sa quatrième exposition personnelle à la galerie Xippas, l’artiste français compose un parcours audacieux, jalonné par une sélection éclectique des pièces qu’il a réalisées durant ces quatre dernières années. Avec nous, il revient sur les idées, les oeuvres mais aussi les flux qui traversent cette exposition.

The artworks by Dominique Blais, always technological in the sense introduced by Umberto Eco1, can be situated in between two paradoxically linked (and, as usual, historically associated to one another) polarities — magic and science. They explore potentialities of sensible entities, such as sound, light and movement and search conceptual and poetic cores inside these phenomena.

For his forth personal exhibition at Xippas gallery, the artist seeks to exhaust these sensorial and technically complex reflections which he has been developing for a decade. He invites to rediscover the artworks, produced between 2014 and nowadays, as well as to take a look at his new productions, which, although inspired by the same poetical obsessions, open up towards new horizons and experiment with unexpected mediums. This two-fold thought, which consists of a glimpse behind turning into a look ahead, creates a mise en abyme and embeds the exhibition in a cycle of exhibitions insisting on its encyclopaedic character (in the etymological sense of the term as in Ancient Greek, enkuklios means “circle” or “circular movement”). Thus, the circumference of a reflection, developed through years, is being sealed. The very image of a circle, joining the idea of a temporal cycle or of an obsessional loop, becomes crucial here: after going through several levels, those of a spiral which gradually expands on the turns, aiming to achieve its palindromic form, the artistic research is about to come full circle.

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Dominique Blais, « La Fin du contretemps », Galerie Xippas, Paris, 2018. Photo: Frédéric Lanternier

The idea of a circle first appears in a phantom, voluntarily interrupted form in a new artwork of Revolution series, of which the forth version was shown at La Sucrière, at the exhibition entitled Les Mondes Flottants of Biennale de Lyon in 2017. The lights turn on briefly one after another followed by a pronounced period of extinction and form an ellipse, visible only partially, as its other segment remains invisible, extending towards the exterior. The artwork invites the viewer to participate in its activation and reconstruct its form either from a fragment by the geometrical necessity to complete a figure, or from the memories of its previous version, letting him shift from what is seen (or have already been seen — a sort of déjà-vu) to the unseen, so that he can virtually seal the circumference of a semi-present semi-hypothetical ellipse. Here the circular movement — _revolutio_ in literal sense — is completed only in imagination and gives the piece a particular status, making it similar to a phantom or a fantasy which is about to escape from the fiction of the white cube towards the exterior, or supposedly “real” world.

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Dominique Blais, « La Fin du contretemps », Galerie Xippas, Paris, 2018. Photo: Frédéric Lanternier

The idea of the circle reappears in Entropê (one of the artworks produced during the artist’s residency at CIRVA2 in Marseille between 2013 and 2015 and presented in a personal exhibition “Le Temps matériel” at Frac Franche-Comté in 2016) in which the shape of the sculpture made of glass repeats that of a spinning top and makes reference to the concept of rotation already suggested in the title: etymologically, entropê means “turn”, “get to turn around”, “worry about”. Its base — a table of a refined form and made of solid oak — adds a timeless touch. The movement is suspended, fixed in a form and creates a parallel between the artwork and a famous antique paradox thought backwards: as Zeno’s moving arrow3 remains motionless, likewise, the spinning top does not move even though it keeps potentially spinning, delicately suggesting that the movement is not conceivable even less definable in a concept other then in its motionless form.

Running in circles suddenly stops and transforms into something different with Empyrée, a series of four “pictures” created with the use of mosaic tiles made of plastic reflective material chosen by the artist for its iridescence. The light reflecting on the surface explores its own limits and, depending on the movement of the viewer, gradually unveils all colours of the Newton disc. This piece, similar to a puzzle, seeks to capture the unity, or the very physical nature of the light, through the multiplicity, that of the parts but also of colours. It invites the viewer to pull himself out of the loop sculpted by the previous artworks in order to metaphorically ascend towards the heavenly skies, the empyreans, which are spheres illuminated by the creative force, where the poets find inspiration.

1 Umberto Eco, “Science, Technology and Magic” in “Turning Back The Clock”, Mariner Books, 2008.

2 International Research Center on Glass and Visual Arts.

3 Aristote, “Physics”, VI:9, 239b5.

  • Opening Saturday, February 10, 2018 3 PM → 9 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

108, rue Vieille du Temple

75003 Paris

T. 01 40 27 05 55 — F. 01 40 27 07 16

Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Tuesday – Friday, 10 AM – 1 PM / 2 PM – 7 PM
Saturday, 10 AM – 7 PM

The artist

  • Dominique Blais