From February 25, 2016 to March 26, 2016
Opening on Thursday February 25, 2016
The presence of Clara Saracho de Almeida (*1990, Pampelune, Esp.) in France is a form of artistic Odyssey that has led her from Porto, Portugal, to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris including other European cities. « Odyssey » because her work as an artist takes an interest in space, in geography and its role on history which is sometimes active, sometimes passive. It is from France that she has rediscovered Portuguese culture, particularly through film, and she examines history and the myths of Antiquity with a great sharpness of perception of territories and cultural sensitivities. In her work, phenomena and natural elements are not just tools or elements of plastic language. They are the true forces of her art. Whether it is earth, sand, decomposition or in a more abstract and poetic way, light, wind and the invisible, these elements are just as many presences that she incorporates in her works which come with a poetic load largely charged with historical connotations that are discreet but profound at the same time.

For example, if Clara Saracho examines in a 2014 installation the La Rosa-dos-Ventos na tempestade, a site created in Sagres, Portugal, in the 16th century, and rediscovered in 1919, it is because this large ground print with a 43-meter radius, a disproportionate sundial, nautical learning tool, or even mystical symbol, reminds her of that essential combination of what a work of art can be : the manifestation of an inspired phenomenon that pushes us to become aware of what we are through time and space. Because despite her young age and the power of her intuition, it is as a philosopher that the young artist approaches these fundamental questions which she sends out to the spectators with poetic strength and extraordinary plastic efficiency. When she mentions Strabo, the geographer (64 BCE – c. CE 21) who said in his third book called « Geographica » and dedicated to the Iberian Peninsula, that the Sacred Promontory in Portugal’s far South-West « is not the end of Europe, but that of the whole inhabited land », she shows the limits of knowledge but also its relativity.

These examples allow us to understand the essential role played by the perception of space in the work of Clara Saracho de Almeida, not only from an experience point of view, but also from a narration one. Very early on, she integrated in her work the historical and political roles played by territories, and the evocation in “Cais” her exhibition in the STUDIO of the galerie laurent mueller of a naval catastrophe in 3rd century China as well as a tragic event that happened in 1809 during the Napoleonian advance towards Porto is not innocent. In this tragedy little-known by non-Lusitanians, a panic reaction in a crowd caused the death of civilians who fell from a bridge made up of small boats tied together. The spectator who looks at the weird moving shape and the boat bridge, as if it was projected, cannot remain indifferent to the contrast between the vertigo of an aerial suspension and the rocking of the boats, and their own confinement, sheltered in the enclosed space of the studio. The moving flippers which could just as well be the helices of a boat or the reels of a film are as frightening and ironic as the contradiction between their movement and the immobility of the air in the room.

Wind is a fundamental and recurring element in the work of Clara Saracho de Almeida and one that is central in her video « Manche à Air » presented at the ENSBA in 2015 and in which she shows the movements of the air in the Parisian metro. Here, the ubiquitous wind that will usually bring life to her photos and videos shows the fragility of these small boats meant to connect two banks but which could wobble anytime, like a disturbing echo of the recurring tragedies in the Mediterranean, more precisely that deafening echo of the fear of drifting, leaving and the uncertainty of landing. The moving of people, the passing and giving up of oneself through departure are recurrent themes in the artist’s work. Her fascination for « Continuar a Viver », the ethnographic-political documentary by Antonio da Cunha Telles about the shifting of the inhabitants of Meia-Praia in Lagos, illustrates pretty well the intellectual and political commitment of Clara Saracho de Almeida, under poetic and deceivingly ingénue guises.

DIFFRACTION, a guest of the STUDIO at the galerie laurent mueller
The galerie laurent mueller has chosen to entrust Matthieu Lelièvre (DIFFRACTION) with the commissioning of the STUDIO in the early part of 2016 for a cycle of three successive exhibitions. Originating in his knowledge of the young generation of artists, the commissioner has chosen to invite several artists who recently graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts (National School of Fine Arts) of Paris.