'Sentimental' in Paris

Revue Noire at the rhythm of Joel Andrianomearisoa’s heartbeats

Sentimental, a six-month exhibition held at Maison Revue Noire from May 1st to December 31st, 2013, explores with a certain coldness the various aspects of the emotional paradigm: the desire and the body

Joël Andrianomearisoa, 'The First Hours', photographie, Magnat l'Etrange, 2013

By Charlotte Okito

Dark and sensitive at the same time, Joël Andrianomearisoa’s work reveals the contradictory aspects and troubles of sentimental relationships. Sentimental, a six-month exhibition held at Maison Revue Noire from May 1st to December 31st, 2013, explores with a certain coldness the various aspects of the emotional paradigm: the desire and the body.

Through a scenography directed by himself, Joël Andrianomearisoa invades the large space of the Maison Revue Noire (250 m2), a gallery where he feels free to expand himself and unleash his talent, one that mixes architecture, design and photography. The Maison Revue Noire is aptly named. More than just a gallery, the Maison Revue Noire is an artist’s house. Moreover, the artists exhibited are part of the family. It is clear Joël Andrianomearisoa feels at home, as his strong relationship with the gallery shines through his latest project. Sentimental is an art piece in itself. With sincerity Andrianomearisoa bares his feelings and questions ours.

From the beginning of the show, Joël Andrianomearisoa presents himself and sets the tone. He invites us into his Maison sentimentale (Sentimental House), an autobiographical work, a fresco that explores the depths of the artist through visual cues, moments that have punctuated both his work and his life. Firstly, the work reflects Madagascar, his origins and looks at the country he has left but to which he is deeply attached. By the age of twelve, he attended the fashion academy of Antananarivo as well as the Institute of Fine Art. He soon allied practices, materials and styles so that he stood out and in 1996 won Antananarivo’s young talent award. Then came Paris, where he studied architecture and has created strong connections. The flyers of Rotimi Fani Kayode and Bill T. Jones presented confusedly in two frames symbolize his admiration for these two artists. However, these flyers are on one of the first covers of the magazine Revue Noire. It shows how deeply he is attached to the Maison Revue Noire, a well of knowledge and a place of recognition of his work, but also of friendship. Gradually, Joël Andrianomearisoa asserts himself as an artist. He shows his love for the work of the material, his talent for photography of the body, for writing, and his ability to work with various mediums that he perfectly combines.



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The artist reveals himself in six rooms spread over the two floors of the gallery. He invites the viewer into his sacred space, which one enters through a dark curtain called Dark Sky. Indeed, Andrianomearisoa wants to let the works speak for themselves. Installations, photos and objects are presented without artifice. The explanatory literature is absent, in order to let the visitor immerse himself into the exhibition. Defining Sentimental is a challenge, as the word means at once everything and nothing. The artist questions, offers, and negotiates a definition of feeling.

Love can shift, it can be traded, apprehended, it is tortuous and hesitant. Is love eternal? Certainly not if we refer to the Labyrinth of Passion, a work made of draped black paper, fragile and doomed to disappear. However, this does not matter, as it is beautiful and alive like the large tarpaulin that invades the garden of the Maison Revue Noire. It breathes and changes over time. Then, from passion and its internal dualities found in Les vestiges de l’extase (the remains of ecstasy), a set of photographs of boys and installations, we move on towards the expression of love.

With his Lettres d’amour parisiennes (Parisian Love Letters), Andrianomearisoa expresses his desire to create sentimental bonds. Twenty Plexiglas boxes containing love letters are exhibited. They will later be spread across the twenty “arrondissements” (boroughs) of Paris. The love letter symbolizes an act of emotional generosity. One indulges one’s feelings in black ink. It is a freeing act. One gives oneself. This gift of oneself is also found in friendship. The table that serves as a display for the letters will also serve to host dinners with friends or strangers. Friendship is at the heart of this exhibition. Artist friends will make their contribution in the context of the exhibition over the course of the year. For instance, the artist Benjamin Sabatier will offer an installation with cards which have “See you soon… I hope” written on them. In addition, Elise Atangana will curate a female spin-off of the exhibition: Femmes Sentimentales – through the lens of women.

By Charlotte Okito

Maison REVUE NOIRE, Paris
1st May – 31 December 2013
from Wednesday to Saturday – from 1pm to 7pm





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