NÓS E ELES (US AND THEM)
With Nicolas Bourthoumieux
Show on view from November 21st until December 8th 2018 at Projeto Fidalga, São Paulo
A timeless place, without borders, the infinity of the horizon as perspective.
Nicolas Bourthoumieux’s art uses simple elements to create immersive environments. While reactivating visuals forms and concepts, the artist confronts us with our meaninglessness in front of the immensity of the universe. Lost in its contemplation, we merge within it. Today we live, soon we’ll die and will turn to dust again.
In this transitory place, the artist develops space-time apparatuses to emphasize the tensions between the consciousness of our weakness and the consciousness that there’s something bigger than us, blurring the linear concepts of history and geography.
In the exhibition Nós e Eles, a vase contains the melted snow collected by Bourthoumieux in the backyard of his studio in Brussels during the winter of 2017. Now liquid, it waters flowers that bloomed on the other side of the ocean. By doing this, the artist takes a role similar to the one of an alchemist, underlining the passages from one state to another, from one place to another.
A beam of rough wood, exposed to the sunlight through a magnifying glass, shows on its surface the traces left by the sun. The burns are straight, swift, different, yet similar to the ones the artist once collected under the European sky, stressing again the notion of displacement, essential in Bourthoumieux’s research.
Steel bars frame and cross the exhibition rooms, creating an infinite perspective and simultaneously punctuating the space’s cardinal points. Like this, the artist highlights our place as a viewer: place of immersion and cohabitation or place of observation and exclusion; according to choices made in front of these anti-monuments. Time also takes on different qualities, reflecting the exhibition spaces: controlled and measured through the marks left on the wooden beam or left to its natural course, through the flowers that will fade during the show.
A painting, made of an accumulation of oil paint applied without following the classical protocol, refers notwithstanding to its legacy and welcomes our gaze in a luminous mist. The canvas, hanging in the courtyard of the house and exposed to nature’s elements, seems bottomless, alluding to timelessness and the fragility of our existence.
Through singular narrative spaces and using a minimalist formal language, Bourthoumieux interrogates the traditional structures, erasing the difference between the artistic gesture and the viewer’s point of seeing. Considering his artwork as starting points for new artistic propositions and creating new functions without dismissing the classical art codes, the artist fully adopts the game of contemporary art, always in movement, stimulating a global reflection.
In this perspective, Bourthoumieux uses art and the sublime as tools to go beyond the banal, the differences and divisions. Us and them are, in this sense, defined as indivisible bodies and not as groups of distinct individuals. The ego dissolves in a comprehensive grasp of the human being and of the universe, bringing up the essence of being and things.
The choice of raw materials, transformed, recycled and given new significance, reinforces the attention out of our vulnerability, capturing life’s frailness, freezing the moment preceding the imminent decadence. Nothing remains, everything transforms, in an infinite spiral.
This acute awareness of the passage of time, of the world and its cycles, alleviates the violence of daily life and delivers us of the need to judge to define ourselves. Nós e Eles reminds us, in a timely manner, that life exult in the middle of the chaos it is made of. Joy can be deeper than sorrow and what brings us together can be bigger than what divides us.
Nicolas Bourthoumieux (1985 Toulouse, France), lives and e works in Brussels, Belgium and Bagnères de Luchon, France
Multidisciplinary artist, Nicolas Bourthoumieux works with painting, photography, video, sculpture and installation. His research revolves around the concepts of time, space and borders, whether physical or abstract. Between minimalism and figuration, his work refers to the codes of the history of art, philosophy and the history of humanity. He studied sculpture at ENSAV la Cambre in Brussels where he also taught video art. His works were exhibited in Belgium, France, Portugal, Germany and Serbia. Among his individual shows, the following exhibitions stand out: Ailleurs, 76,4 (Brussels, 2017), Der Tag der doppelten Morgendämmerung, Fugitif (Leipzig, 2016), Le dernier second, B.A.D. (Brussels, 2015), Farewell spit, SKREI (Porto, 2015) and Nicolas Bourthoumieux, Catherine Bastide gallery (Brussels, 2015).