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Ange Leccia

Jamais la mer ne se retire [The Sea Never Pulls Withdraws]
From 10/07/2014 to 06/09/2014


“The Mediterranean Sea: a natural, simple and purified motif. And yet it isn’t a landscape. Owing to a camera movement of ninety degrees during filming, the coastline is no longer observed in its privileged relationship with the horizon. Tirelessly it rises, insisting on the verticality of the shot. This overturn draws attention to the flatness of the image as a means of liberating the viewer from the centered point of view characterized by Albertian perspective. Here, the viewer is confronted with a quasi abstract representation, a physical movement, a material. He is no longer assigned a single position; if the viewer loses his bearings, it is to better reduce distances and regain control of the video space. The sea is de-territorialized and looks like it could have been filmed in a location other than Corsica. No matter. For above all, the sea opens onto an imaginary realm outside of any geographical anchorage or from gravity.

The sea froth paints shapes that shift in the wake of the backwash. Its regular movement acts as a palimpsest. The figures written by the white foam appear and are erased, almost in the same instant. They are but the measure of time. With no beginning and no ending, the video loop creates a hypnotic rhythm where repetition and change become one and the same. The sea becomes a recording device, an organic seismograph that registers nature’s infinitesimal variations. It tries to wear out the image that regenerates itself in its incessant rolling. Thus, the sea is similar to a wave; a back-and-forth movement, an oscillation. It is truly complicit with the energy that moves across the world. An allegory of life, the flow of the sea is reminiscent of the luminous throbbing visible in many of Ange Leccia’s works. This silent flow brings the course of existence and nature’s pulsations together into harmony. It is a pulse that is not heard but seen.

And yet, sound is not completely absent. Rather, it has been put on standby. It even impresses itself onto the retina of the viewer in a virtual manner. The sea calls upon all of the senses, not just the eye. For contemplating the sea would be to reduce it to a decorative motif. On the contrary, one must touch it with the pupil in a haptic perspective. This dimension is specific to substances that have an aura; “the unique appearance of a distance, no matter how close it may be”, to quote the philosopher Walter Benjamin’s canonical phrase. Thus, it is only on the condition that the sea should become fully animated. To metamorphose before the viewer’s eye into an envelope, a magnificent tegument.”

Fabien Danesi


Ange Leccia, born in 1952 at Minerviu in Corsica, lives and works in Paris and Corsica.

After fine arts studies, he embarked on a double activity as an artist and filmmaker and began his research as a pensioner of the Academy of France in Rome.

His work has been shown, among others, at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, at the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), at the Guggenheim in New York, at Documenta in Kassel, at Skulptur Projekte in Münster, at the Venice Biennale, etc. In 2013, MAC/VAL organized a solo show of his work. He is represented by the gallery Almine Rech.

Since 2011, he has been responsible for Pavillon Neuflize OBC, the Palais de Tokyo’s creative lab.

Curator: Chloé Fricout