The taste of stones
Nothing is more admirable than an artist’s obstinacy in working out possible variations of ‘things’ which, at first sight, seem utterly mundane. It is a process of parsing these elements, so as to illuminate their tiniest differences; it is a matter of grouping them, or setting them apart; it is a practice of following the objects’ potential right into the folds and creases of a piece of paper, onto the harshness of a stone, or into the transparency of a piece of crystal…. Why should our gazes only be sensitive to the spectacular efforts of some, and less concerned with the outline of a rock, or the shape-shifting of clouds? It is to this kind of attention that we are compelled by Lucia Bru’s work: it sharpens our vision and leads us into a universe of shapes and gestures. Its apparent simplicity is, above all, attained through an exacting process of distilling what is essential.
Here, all energy is dedicated to the ‘things’ themselves, to their particularities, each object being first imagined, and left to its own expansion, out of control, then kept for what it is. No mastery here wishes to intrude on the process of its evolution, if only a savoir-faire that confines itself to a sense of experimentation and a surrender to chance. Shapes that are simple and always asymmetrical, a diversity of materials chosen with an implacable logic, such as salt glaze, porcelain and crystal, clay, cement, paper, plaster and graphite, are the substances of an elementary geography of which the results, miniscule or voluminous, flow into the secret of the gestures and a need for imperfection.
Thus, a mineral world composes itself, in which figures of a recomposed ‘nature’ cohabit. It is a voyage into the thickness of things, of their weight, and their minutest qualities, where any attempt to name what we think we recognize would be as vain as trying to extract all of their meaning, or to distinguish their categories. It is to the domain of sculpture that these ‘things’ belong: placed on the ground or disposed on the walls, they keep sending us back to the same preoccupations: their common existence and their possible gravitation.
But beyond the objects, these shapes so patiently established, that exist for their own sake, the energy is dedicated to their disposition, and the possible arrangements in the space in which they appear. Every element has to find its place, and every combination is painstakingly explored to compose the ephemeral landscape of an exhibition.
Like Japanese gardeners who ‘borrow the landscape’, Lucia Bru borrows the places in which she works, without constraining them or plying them to her arrangements. They are the supplementary, necessary elements of her passage. She uses them, for a given time, to unleash the unprecedented qualities of the expression of ‘things’ in which it simply remains for us to participate.
text by Joel Benzakin
translated by Kate Mayne