Leone Contini - Maria Laet - Kate Newby

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The IAC, placing research at the heart of its activities, occasionally presents itself as a place of Otium, an interval which favors thinking, meditation and awareness. The gardens, like the interior spaces, are thus opened up in order to initiate a different space-time.

Otium #4 groups together solo exhibitions by three artists from the same generation, coming from three continents: Leone Contini, Maria Laet and Kate Newby.

With simple and measured gestures, these artists share their desire to initiate other ways of being, in porosity with the environment, to which they accord their attention and their care. They propose a re-centering, an intake of breath, more often than not in connection with the earth, somewhere between germination, collection and reparation. In this slowed down temporality, Leone Contini, Maria Laet and Kate Newby, work to initiate or re-establish links between humans and things, often the most ordinary, that are no longer looked at or that can no longer be seen. Their practice is synonymous with organicity and the infra-thin.
Leone Contini, trained as an artist anthropologist, lives and works in Tuscany. His practice, which falls somewhere between artistic activity and research, mixes lecture-performances, collective interventions, texts, drawings, videos and long-term collaborations with territories where he operates, in direct contact with a given historical and social context. Intercultural conflicts, migratory flows and their effects on the anthropological and natural landscape are at the heart of his thinking.

A cultivator of the Post-Anthropocene era,  Leone Contini sows, harvests and distributes seeds and plants that are for him tools for exploring questions of movement, hybridization, of enrichment between autochthonous and allochthonous cultures and also symbols of sharing, solidarity and exchange between different groups.

Leone Contini’s project for IAC progresses along two lines: on one hand, his encounter with members of a large Italian community, originally from the town of Roccasecca, who settled in Villeurbanne in the wake of the great wave of Italian migration at the beginning of the 20th century.
On the other hand, the artist grows seeds of different origins, particularly Baobab seeds which are planted both inside and outside of the IAC, as if to somehow allow, ultimately, nature to recover its place, and perhaps even to uproot all human and urban activity.

Settled in Rio de Janeiro, Maria Laet, through a process of sedimentation, builds up a sensitive universe which mixes simple and precise human gestures with organic materials and their surfaces.

She explores the physical and symbolic properties of materials, often fluid and volatile, such as sand, milk, ink and breath. These materials echo the flow of time and have the malleability required to accompany different forms of reality. And so Maria Laet is more interested in their presence than their potential transformation by her hand. By choosing breath as her subject, she accepts that it is not possible to completely master the process, leaving room for unpredictability.

In an economy of means, her performances incite one to slow down, to become aware of what usually escapes us. Intimate, almost ritual in nature, they focus on what remains: the imprint, the trace left in the wake of the gesture, the silence which follows the breath. They are sometimes acts of care, of reparation, like when the artist fills in cracks in the ground with milk or when she sews the earth closed with needle and thread.

Sewing can be seen then as a way of linking elements and their surface. The notion of skin, as a transmitter of her intentions, is primordial in the work of Maria Laet. Skin both separates and connects. Associated with breathing, with breath, and with touch, it is like a zone of encounter and interaction, and allows the artist to link the inside and outside. From soil to light, via breath, Maria Laet’s work expresses an awareness of a heterogeneous living whole, at the heart of which one finds nature and the human, elements whose co-existence is essential.

Kate Newby, an artist from New Zealand now living in New York, focuses her attention on the small objects found in our every day environment, in order to slow down time so as to appreciate the value held within a moment or a detail.

Employing simple gestures and materials, which often involve her own body, she is interested in ephemeral situations, creating encounters with objects which are usually neglected, that she deploys in space with precision and sensitivity. Once she has intensely examined a space and all of its elements, Kate Newby imagines and creates these sensitive environments. Her work blends into the place where it is made. One must accept the possibility of not seeing, unless one is prepared to actively engage with the space. One might then gain access to a number of micro-revelations and experience the cohesion that the artist has shaped between the place and the artwork.

For IAC, Kate Newby blurs the frontier between interior and exterior, creating a back and forth between them, linking them through different procedures, like a line of tiles or via a golden or silver thread. Her work, both floating and anchored, invites one to become detached from oneself in order to turn one’s attention towards the outside. And so she offers a double impression, one of permanence through her adherence to the place which hosts the work, which is then almost immediately contradicted by the ephemeral sensation provided by her outdoor interventions. Changes in luminosity, and variations in the weather are then shown to be an integral part of the work, which is affected by these fluctuations.
Kate Newby’s work becomes a tool for creating everything that can be seen and felt, it is the environment itself.
IAC → EXHIBITIONS → in situ → OTIUM #4
printed on June 25, 2024 [10:04] from IP address :
© Institut d’art contemporain 2024