In L’invention du quotidien Michel de Certeau, one of Pierre Vadi’s references, points out that on old maps both travelers and means of transportation were represented and indicated which routes should be taken. They thus constituted the beginnings of real as well as imaginary journeys in both the past and the future. Sas is the title Vadi has chosen for the journey he is offering to take us on here through the oddity of his world. It all starts out in the street, in an illuminated advertising support opposite the entrance in which Vadi places the poster reproduction of a drawing depicting a starry sky. Like a movie poster, the title, SAS, is written out. At which point the dream stuff that will guide us towards the sas, the airlock, of the art center’s entrance takes over.
The show brings together the recurrent motifs of Vadi’s work over the last ten years, including shelters, caves, vanitas paintings, climates, landscapes, mazes and cosmogony.
“I’ve set up a framework”, says Vadi, “in which the show functions like an arrangement of statements. Now it’s up to the viewer to move through it, in it.”
For his main material, Vadi uses soft resin, whose transparency and gradations of colors are charming while suggesting the fragility of things. The artist sets up scripted spaces in which the objects he creates produce strange relationships. Different elements are suspended in the space. Chains ranging from black to transparent glide down to the floor; a see-through chainsaw is hanging above a sort of atoll; odd things, as fine and delicate as skin and colored a synthetic green, introduce a changing vegetable world; while a black planet affected by a strange erosion floats in space. Landscapes laid out on the floor are titled Opera (like scenes in several acts). These are sugar “mountains” which Vadi soaks in blue-green resin. As it dries the resin encrusts the sugar, producing a kind of territorial plaque. It’s a sort of archipelago of ice floes and fragile icebergs, caught between crystallization and a meltdown. Like a series of still lifes or vanitas paintings, these elements remind us of the fragility of existence and suggest a certain climatic imbalance. Their formal beauty heightens the fear of destruction that steals over us upon entering the galleries. With cartography being a recurrent element in his work. “I’m turning the sky over into a territory.” Vadi divides the space with crumpled perforated black tarps of a regular constellation.
Fiction kicks in. The route leading through the show passes a fragment of architecture that is structured like a shelter or passage. The airlock of Vadi’s title.
What is the scenario written by Vadi?
Between what real world and what dreamed-up world has he placed this airlock?
What symbols are lodged here? What plot is taking shape?
Claire Le Restif
Film of the exhibition © Claire Le Restif / le Crédac
Born in 1966.
Lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland