AUDREY NERVI - DIDN’T HURT ONE BIT
From April 23rd to May 22nd 2016
Cutting iconicity, pictorial softness
Audrey Nervi paints in series, or rather by burst. For painting in series does not refer here to the technique of reproducing images made impersonal by the multiplication of canvases. And consistently, the painter prefers to use the word sequence rather than “series” to describe the way she works: by intensive and exclusive sessions every two years. First session, she lives her life. Second session, she paints. From her life, she takes pictures in order to keep what needs to develop an expression, and to take part in some sorts of polyptychs, which are pictorial sequences composed like short films with no beginning nor end. The painted images become allegorical visions with textures, with a kinaesthetic quality to them. The grassroots of Audrey Nervi’s painting are slices of life, her slices of life, she says. Slices of life taken from real life, cut from experience, and saved in photographic images having the in nite capacity of capture and storage. And then, after a thoughtful selection, the saved slices of life are submitted to the chemistry of paint, and are inscribed in words on one of the thick edges of the canvases.
Audrey Nervi’s world and her affirmation of the plenitude of this world,fund the iconicity of her painting. Fleeing the opportunistic and hollow figurative painting, this iconicity makes in return her world an inflexible reference. It is reminiscent of Pieter Bruegel the older who, within the mist of his world and his time, chose the rural classes as his sole motive and context, revealing their humanity within an objective and realistic vision which resisted at, and even opposed any idealization, in which painting you can sense the call for human swarming and business, the fascination for crude reality in contrast with norms of good taste used to be an ornament and a sign of political and social power.
Audrey Nervi’s world is on the road. A world where caravans know to balance. They learnt it from tightrope men walking on cars gone o the road, become useless, transfigured in tall grass under acrobat human feet.
A world where the Humans, giving way to their vulnerability, let them fall under protective heavy trucks.
A world of thin, energetic bodies, a world of Youth criss-crossing the earth and sleeping sheltered by vehicles, sleeping with dogs. A dog world, where primary freedom expands, imposes its right, gives the finger.
A world threatened when the world of order extends its domination, sending its armies of shadows. Under pressure of reinforced concrete environment that imprisons Humans like fawns, neurasthenic, neutralized by deprivation of liberty. Not even hungry any more.
Red nose of a clown, goldfish bowl on the head, arms wide open ready to embrace, here is the man rejected from our cities, who says come on let me hold you Paris. The world is inhabited by unwanted people. They would be expelled readily. They get expelled readily in fact. But the unwanted people are thick-skinned. Humanity thus represented, reveals its fakir nature, having its skin speared by butcher hooks, having its cheeks pierced by iron rod. Having heavy and thick chains hanged from the chest. If there will be blood, well there will be blood. At night alcohol creates super heroes. Girls, boys, everyone the same. Crowned with the halo of their self-inflicted stigmata. Looking for a path from hell to heaven, straight, with no stop in the normal life. Choice is made: rather be in the limbo than wait in Purgatory, or in the brainwashed antichamber.
The man who lives with the dogs remains the centre of his vision, of his quest. Look, without human concern, animals fade away and objects fall, like Icarus, like this couch fallen in a canal in Berlin, almost entirely sunken in the glazed blue water on a bright winter day making nature radiant even in the heart of cities of junk, of naked concrete and graffiti: wild berries with vibrant red orange colour, a dashing naked tree diving into the shining mirror of the canal water, looking like a reversed tree from a Brueghel’s painting. The appearance and sensation of this acidic opalescence of the icy water covered with shimmering reflections is a creation of painting. Painting works on images of this world, and affects them. Images crystallize in acidic colours, being harmonized and sweetened by the pointillist delicacy of Audrey Nervi’s manner. Her manner gives to the paintings the texture of felt and blurred effects, stopping the moment in its vibration and conveying the sense of the strength of these pictorial means surprisingly soft. Audrey Nervi’s painting has the softness of purplish skin, violently exposed to the world’s winds, made drunk by the tenderness of men’s flesh.
By Mériam Korichi