David Raffini’s main aesthetic concern manifests itself in his use of painting:
“In addition to what I have called disfigurement in my painting, I am interested in the border through which forms are born. Although the origin of representation can presumably be dated historically, it stems from the need for language combined with the survival instinct of ideas and practices. All in all nothing has changed since the day before yesterday, when humans were born. Technology has certainly evolved but we are still at the dawn of humanity, geologically speaking. In that sense I am a primitive painter working in his 21st- century cave-studio.”
The starting point from which this first solo exhibition at the Galerie Papillon was developed is a video in progress shown “as is”: unfinished and duplicated on multiple monitors. The exhibition bears the same name as the video (INSULAE), and is to be approached by having an exploratory wander and letting oneself bounce from one piece to the next, through the filter of this romantic video. The installation makes us come across paintings-
landscapes and site-specific pieces. The way the works inhabit the space thus becomes the direct manifestation of a dissected studio practice, where events produce other events by stratification, which generates borderline works lying between figuration and abstraction, abstract landscapes produced by the studio experience. INSULAE comprehensively presents an ever-changing field of experimentation. To this end the video is to the exhibition what Ariadne’s thread is to the Palace of Knossos. Although the exhibition may seem heretical, it harbours mystical ambitions: the word Insula is the etymology of “island”, but also the area in the brain where memory and taste take shape.
If the works are, from this perspective, islands formed in the studio by various accretions, the artist’s practice in general, secularly defined as the practice of a creator, could be considered through the filter of geology: in strata. It would then have existed since the birth of the Insula that lies in the brain.
Against the backdrop of sublime American landscapes, a character roams aimlessly in the film, carrying a box that seems to be empty. This box calls to mind the myth of Pandora. The artworks would then be the words – rather than the evils – that came out of it. The box represents the very foundations of David Raffini’s practice. It is a metaphor of the studio itself. The object is related to an idea of the world built empirically through various journeys/adventures, which then become pretexts to create in the arena of the studio. The works try to interact with stories linking the individual to a vast history: the history of Art and Civilisations.
In a way, the Pugnaire/Raffini duo already accustomed us to this process with installations that made the viewer swing between material reality and the videographic fiction that its very creation caused. The “archipelago-exhibition” INSULAE would like to reveal a tectonic movement, or deal with a nothingness from which forms still emerge beyond apparently established borders:
“Art is nothingness: the gap between the piece and the viewer the suspended space that connects two distinct particles so that the manifestation of Poetry be born. Practice: an empirical science in which the artist’s work follows a desire to fully control neither the works nor those who receive them.”
DAVID RAFFINI: Born in 1982 in Bastia, he lives and works in Nice, France. After graduating in Applied Arts at the University of Corsica in 2004, he continued his studies at the Villa Arson where he was awarded a DNSAP in 2007. In 2009 the duo he forms with Florian Pugnaire presented “In Fine” as part of the Modules programme of the Palais de Tokyo, and returned to the museum in 2010 for the exhibition “Dynasty”.
More recently, on the occasion of the exhibition “Le coefficient de Poisson”, they presented a site- specific installation in the patio of the Maison Rouge. The Pugnaire/Raffini duo was awarded the 17th Fondation d’entreprise Ricard Prize in 2015.