Paolo Topy, ‘Exotica’, 2014, Area35 Art Gallery

Exotica, from 2014, constitutes a major tuning point in Paolo Topy’s approach. For the first time, he toys with evacuating the representation of the body by introducing a certain doubt about its reality. Is that silhouette a pattern printed on the fabric, a shadow projected by a backlit subject placed behind it, or the shadow of the person beholding the work? The space created by those questions becomes a place of experimentation. Doubt is cast on our own perception of the subject represented by the silhouette. The space is increased. The boundary between internal and external becomes blurred. The space becomes complex. It might include the subject placed behind the curtain, or the viewer, who melts into the decor. The image becomes the site of a projection of the body: projection of the subject’s, who is placed beyond it; and of our own body, which is erased and becomes perceptible only by projection. We don’t know where the shadow ends or where the printed fabric begins. Shadows and leaf pattern intertwine and inter-penetrate. We no longer know who is who or where. In this confusion, this deliberately provoked instability of our thoughts and perceptions, we become the other. The collapse of our certitudes enables an unexpected expression of our humanity.

About Paolo Topy

italian, french, b. 1966, Tripoli, Libya, based in Nice, France

Solo Shows