January 14 - March 25, 2017
I do not know whether Nicolas Momein considers himself a specialist in gravity, but his latest works seem to tend towards a striving for equilibrium that is always skilfully disrupted. There are sometimes large structures with the appearance of a lame dancer, formed of pastel tones of pleated Bulgomme* and sometimes flows of polyurethane elastomer whose creamy surface has been invaded here and there by wavy hair which naturally suggests the evocation of a body that is more human than animal.
And then in the other space in the gallery there are the Sculptures par exemple. A funny name; I thought for a while that it would be possible to replace the word “sculptures” with “ça”: “ça, par exemple!” (“Well I never!”). For while there is much sculpture, there is also little “ça” in this series that has been expanding for the past few years. The materials follow on from each other without any resemblance between them: the rigidity of steel can appear alongside the suppleness of rubber and the dryness of hair with the brilliance of resin. Industrial materials – Bulgomme, soap, synthetic foam – sometimes appear less artificial than the filaments of wool or the leather circles that the artist uses. But we should not be deceived: there is no easy acceptance, but rather a repertoire of mastered studio gestures that end up connoting the concretion of stalactites here, and the emergence of a drop of water from a tap there, or the methodical nibbling of rodents. Made in the studio between two projects, and agglomerating recycled materials, the Sculptures par exemple could well be qualified as freed. Freed from hardness, stability, from finish and from the pedestal, they escape definitions and categories, with their acid colors and seemingly precarious gravity. The recruits of this excellent team, with their familiar but single forms, stand there waiting to be surrounded, in expectation of those observing them allowing themselves to turn around them, to see them from every angle, without shame: ça, par exemple!
* Translator’s note: a brand of plastic tablecloths whose name has become synonymous with the article.
Photo : exhibition view Débords, Zoo Galerie, Nantes.