"L'Âne Rouge" (The Red Dunkey)
Pelly Angelopoulou (Belgium/Greece)
November 20, 2021 to April 20, 2022
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Organizing this new exhibition « L’Âne Rouge » (The Red Donkey ) for The ONE Museum Permanent Artist PELLY ANGELOUPOULOU has been a real challenge !
Arthur Rimbaud wrote:
« I say you need to be a Seer, make yourself a Seer. The Poet becomes a Seer by a long, immense and reasoned disruption of all the senses. All forms of love, suffering, madness; he searches for himself, he exhausts all the poisons in him, to keep only the very quintessence of them. … »
PELLY ANGELOUPOULOU is this SEER, this POET, this wonderful ARTIST.
So how to transcribe to an exhibition, and this one in particular, all the lyricism, the wind of truth, the revelation of what we are blind to or fail to perceive in the unfathomable and that Pelly's unique work conveys? This was precisely the challenge.
At The ONE Museum, we listen to the artists, we try to be as close as possible to their concerns, in a word, to understand them and to try, as far as we can, to be faithful to their philosophy. We do our utmost to stage their creative genius, their background and career, their humor - even if it is black - their humanity and their commitment in the most faithful way.
For an exceptional person, because Pelly Angelopoulou is a truly exceptional person, both humanly and creatively (and we will come back to this), the exhibition had to be exceptional in every way! So we have built an exhibition that is tailor-made and beyond measure:
- An exhibition reflecting all aspects of her Work,
- An exhibition of an unprecedented size (over 3200m2)
- A spectacular staging
- A narrative construction in 3 distinct but connected parts:
1/ The Obscure Objects of my Desire" - a section devoted to Pelly's Contemporary Art Mosaic which is absolutely remarkable and unique.
Indeed, throughout her career, Pelly Angelopoulou has been able to trace the total and very modern renewal, we could say visionary, of the mosaic, a historical two-dimensional mural art, to take it where no one had yet succeeded in taking it, by making it, tremendously and insanely, a very contemporary, innovative, poetic three-dimensional expression that virtuously can combine in the same time allegorism, metaphorism, surrealism and hyperrealism which, when you know Pelly's work, is not at all contradictory; in fact, that is exactly its very unique and surprising strength!
Alchemist, here is the completion of the Grand Oeuvre!
First of all, the « Oeuvre au Noir ». Starting from the historical bases of the art of mosaic, having ingested, digested and redirected them, Pelly has been able to transcend the barriers, conventions and prohibitions of tradition, atomizing them to keep only the abaculi, the smallest common denominator of Mosaic, which is nothing in itself but a small piece of insignificant matter, but so precious to the « Oeuvre au Blanc ». Finally, it is the « Oeuvre au Rouge » that she accomplishes, concretizing the union of the signifier and the signified, the reconstruction in embodied construction, that is to say the greatest common denominator, the one of the universal language for all, the one of Art in its total completeness and plenitude, in order to install it in our modern world, preserving at the same time the know-how, the mastery and the sacredness of the original technique, while revolutionizing matter, form and spirit, to end up embodying the feeling and emotion, the dialectic and the philosophy of the Artist-Creator, a sensitive and sensual transcendental messenger, who knows how to touch all subjects without taboos, and move each of us. Magnum Opus !
2/ « Souvenirs du Futur, π+A » - This section is devoted to the latest evolution of Pelly Angelopoulou's work, the Collages.
There is no rupture in this work with her previous period on Contemporary Mosaic, as Michael Paroussis rightly analyses. On the contrary, it is a natural and logical evolution. What could be more natural than to take up the image that overwhelms our daily life in the 21st century, an ultra-symptomatic object of our society, its expression and its content, and take it even further? This has precisely been Pelly's artistic approach since his very first Mosaic works. What could be more logical than to see in them archaeological fragments, specific abaculi of our daily life, of its richness, its craziness and all its symptomatology, tiny congruent parts of a Whole so gigantic that we struggle to realize it and that Pelly, extralucid, comes to reveal by their assemblage!
Arthur Rimbaud, himself again, warned us: "And that doesn't mean nothing!
Here is the perfect illustration. We are constantly under the assault of legions of images, so numerous, so crude and vulgar that we end up not looking at them anymore or, at best, looking at them almost indifferently. And yet... If we were more careful, if we took the time to analyze them, extracting the frightening conjectures, the shameful entanglements that they betray! They are terribly revealing! So Pelly Angelopoulou takes it upon herself to awaken a reaction in us. We will certainly do with it what we want, but at least Pelly will have warned us!
For this purpose, what better 'material' than the photographs of Axel Leotard! Axel Leotard is a particularly intelligent man, and among other things a very talented photographer with a discerning eye, he already knows himself how to detect what many others do not see, a man with a unique past and a life rich in experiences, a sensitive and responsive human being. So when Pelly and Axel met in 2016, it was artistic love at first sight, full of respect and admiration, and it didn't take much more for the two beautiful souls who had become accomplices to see in this meeting, which, as we can understand, never owes anything to chance, the opportunity for a formidable cooperation that would prove to be intellectually and artistically fruitful, to the great delight of art lovers. They will trust each other unfailingly. Axel gives everything, Pelly distinctively assembles.
Axel's unitary elements are like pieces of a puzzle, of which only Pelly knows the final image and the ultimate meaning she will give to her combined choices. Axel knows that he can trust her, that she will never betray his own ideals because they are in fact the same.
This cooperation gives rise to new hyper-contemporary, committed and even militant "mosaics" where tragedy and humor, sometimes very grating, coexist for the better. Pelly's knowledge of mosaics is once again evident here, because collages — an art that we sometimes forget is extremely complicated, hazardous, even lethal if it remains scholastic or amateurish, and even if it is made by well-known artists for other media, it stays often shaky and unconvincing. It is not enough to put words together to write a poem. You have to be willing to say something, something of interest, and you have to know how to say it, at the right time, and say it well. The same is true of images, which can easily fall into a sudden aesthetic peril in their conjunction — which she achieve are implacable both aesthetically, plastically and philosophically. I personally know very few artists, even among the most famous in the world, who have succeeded in this exercise with such brio, verve and panache! Thank you very much to you, Axel Léotard and Pelly Angelopoulou, for your amazing collaboration, we are definitively very grateful for this magnificent lesson of humility and insight that the collection of collages that we present here conveys, it is a great privilege and a real honor!
Thank you both for your trust in The ONE Museum!
3/ "Pelly's Little Red Boudoir" – This part of the exhibition is exclusively reserved for The ONE Museum's "Privilege Members », who have registered on the Museum's website (registration is, of course, free since, as always, everything is free at The ONE Museum). For this very special exhibition, all of Pelly's humor and sensuality are expressed in a very cozy place where his works are peacefully displayed in a way that reflects Pelly's natural discretion...
At the beginning of this introduction to the exhibition, it was said that we would return to the exceptional personality of Pelly Angelopoulou.
I cannot express my immense personal admiration for both the Artist and the Woman.
Pelly is a beautiful soul in every sense of the word!
She is a terribly endearing Woman, true, without artificialities, without detours, with a lot of humor, joy of living and energy. Faithful and very respectful in her friendships, she is also a soul imbued with a deep humility, always available, listening to others and ready to help. Passionate and spontaneously committed to the causes that are dear to her heart, she is also a free person who has been able to go beyond conventions, apriori and prohibitions, becoming indignant and taking action against injustices, fighting with all her strength the preconceived ideas that sclerotize society.
Highly cultured and with an exceptionally rich life, her work brings together all her qualities, resembling her qualities.
Daughter of a minister of the "Colonels' Regime" in Greece, although very young, she did not hesitate to rebel and actively participate in its overthrow. She then chose to leave Greece and never return.
Pelly quickly achieved international artistic success. Her works were acquired internationally by major private collections. Her works are also present in a multitude of national museums. This does not prevent her from dedicating herself in parallel to her career, by choice and commitment, to artistic teaching, she also wants to be able to transmit.
Her character and her commitments also explain why, without fear, and in defiance of the dangers that this could have represented for her promising career, she never hesitates for a moment, after each decisive monographic exhibition within a national museum, to definitively question her work and to take a radical turn in order to take it to new spaces and new challenges. However, at every stage, she is always successful because she is not pretending, she is genuine and passionate; exciting!
To have worked with Pelly for this retrospective show at The ONE Museum was a great joy for me!
I hope the visitors will feel the same energy and heart that Pelly and I have put into giving them a truly exceptional show...
Curator of The ONE Museum