Salle Principale, Paris
Claude Closky, Ícaro Lira and Dominique Mathieu
Salle Principale gallery has chosen to bring together three artists: Claude Closky, Dominique Mathieu and Ícaro Lira.
For this occasion, Salle Principale gallery is interested in the self-portrait. The contemporary self-portrait appears as a new genre, more open to the world; it generates an openness able now to interrogate the essence of humanity. Self-representation now serves a more general meaning and questions of greater current relevance, be they political, social, ideological or ecological.
Claude Closky’s textual work Portrait (1991 – 2022) also seeks ways of escaping from the ego. To make his self-portrait on commission for Salle Principale, the artist uses a strict protocol: a text counts down all the days of his life from birth to the day. The piece was made, on a framed 45 x 62 cm sheet of paper. This list of dates, which rejects interpretation and subjectivity, visualises the anonymity of individuals and the finiteness of human time. His specific vocabulary relating to a topographic nomenclature:
“the body, the eye, fat, character” provides a mischievous bodily analogy.
Dominique Mathieu, eager to prepare a simpler and more authentic future as regards our natural needs in a world centered on economics and finance, wants to “enact change” with Les hommes d’avenir (2008-2022). Set in enamel, a durable substance able to maintain the artist’s convictions over time, the six drawings depict him as a clown, a resistance fighter, a magician, a farmer, a troubadour and an artisan. The line drawings, the isolated torso against a neutral background, the fixed stare and the accessories reduced to their functionally expressive minimum (hats, a big bowtie, a rifle, a magic wand, a wisp of straw, a guitar, a bag) echo the effectiveness of the message and the simplicity of the function. For the artist, these highly symbolic figures, courageous and responsible for their choices and positions, express a form of resistance.
The selection of works by Ícaro Lira consists of a series of new pieces created during his 2022 residency at the Hangar art centre in Lisbon, tracing his artistic exile between Brazil and Europe. With the patience of an archivist or archaeologist, Ícaro Lira analyses the implications and consequences of political events through documentary or fictional works. Starting from the premise that history is a living matter constantly crushed by the weight of official narratives, Ícaro Lira, in a sort of counternarrative, collects objects, texts and images of historical events to produce sensitive and delicate works that contain all the power of his critical and independent witness.