YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE
Solo show - Goswell Road, Paris, France.
Opening 15 October 2021. Exhibition 15 October - 6 November 2021.
PRESS: TZVETNIK, ART MIRROR, AQNB, CONTEMPORARY ART LIBRARY
‘YWNWA - a solo show by Paris-based multi-disciplinary artist Cécile di Giovanni - an immersive game without rules.
The sculptural work ‘YWNWA Totem’ (2021), based on a mu ren zhuang which translated means “wooden man post”, stands as an ambient threat in the centre of the space. The works around it arm, protect, and modify our bodies. Inspired by real and fictional situations, Giovanni tries, not without irony, to reveal through the symbolic strength that these objects and materials induce, the power, the complexity, and the sides of the human mind when it is backed into its more extreme corners.
Childhood, its ruptures, nostalgia and innocence give way to the inevitable violence of things coming to an end..’
‘There is what happens to us that we can’t let go of. Our vital wounds: those that shape our relationship to the world, our stories, our losses, our impossibilities. Like the Hero who moves across the demarcated map of the world in which he evolves, in our realities we often evolve with the feeling of being locked in there forever.
Maybe one of the ways to get out of this solitary confinement would be to transform our experiences and tell their stories? How to find our place on earth? How to break the promise of an old-world where ‘everything will be okay’? How to invent ourselves in front of the vertigo of possibilities, when everything is fragmented, exhausted, prevented, immobilized?
After an intimate and personal emotional shock, I realized that my work was a way of taking back possession of what escaped me. By mastering the subjects I explore, I can dissect my anxieties and impediments and thus desacralize them. It’s a way for me, a witness of a disillusioned generation, to invent a new form of language.
Through the mediums I explore, I try here to offer an immersive and sensory adventure. By recreating a supernatural universe made from the remains of a culture in which I grew up, the viewer browses the various works of YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE, confronted with his existential questions. I appeal to a fantastic and supernatural imaginary by establishing an apocalyptic atmosphere. Our childhood, its ruptures, its nostalgia, and its innocence, give way to the violence of things that stop. Designed as a life-size game, the exhibition at Goswell Road provides a physical experience of emotional wandering. The insecurity caused by some of the works, modern Pandora’s boxes and receptacles of buried violence, coexists with the playful atmosphere of board games. For example, with the ‘YWNWA Totem’, a structure revisiting the traditional training mannequins of the Shaolin fighters, which evokes an obvious danger. Its structure which resembles some torture devices leaves room for an ambient threat.
The overall scenography is intended to be a large-scale reproduction of this game. This fundamental recreational element allows to set up a framework made up of rules and limits, in a space where everything becomes possible.
It’s because we play that everything can become true, and what is pretend then becomes more real than the real itself.
Here, ‘Final Curtain’, the curtain (evoking the theatre or the magician), hiding what lies behind, remaining unknown to us, emphasizes this mix of realities. A play with the extended reality, since it’s a matter of symbolizing objects from our everyday lives (sneakers, textiles) in a different way, and moving them by inventing new meanings for them. Reinventing a world for yourself is also extending your physical body to a new functional space, with new skills and possibilities. Like video games and role-playing offers. For example, with ‘The End coat’, a barely inanimate object, taking the shape of the one who wore it, becoming the perfect armor, giving the Hero the possibility of having a super-body, a strong and resistant armor, made of the weight of his existence and past trials.
Thus allowing the necessary distance to understand the different pieces presented here, the spectator is summoned by his feelings, his monsters, and confronted with his intimate fears.
It’s a complex adventure, made of strong emotional issues, where everyone comes to experience both their collapses and their dreams of power, where all our events freeze in us who we will become. And where the story of our soul movements could be a force of action, in a world where the loss of our ideologies, however, seems to leave us alone facing the void.’
Collaborators: Bankal & Decker (YWNWA Totem construction), Sophie Mill (YWNWA figurine totem 3D), Lucas Masini & Golgotha (graphic design & logo), Jerôme Valton (’Final toga’ screen printing t-shirts), Benjamin Roulet (figurine totem photographer), Agathe Mania (’the End coat’ designer), Paul Gounon (’Final curtain’ and ‘the End coat’ steel structures construction), Laura Thomassaint (YWNWA text).
A special huge thank to my super-heroes assistants on this project: Jordan Reclus, Morgane Vedrenne, Anna Vergnol-Slinckaert.