I had never met the artist Cat Loray before and visiting her exhibition at Galerie Fernand Léger, a municipal space in Ivry-sur-Seine, was a moment of pure joy. It is hard labor to get there either by subway (50 mns from Madeleine) or by car (the same length of time and you can’t park) but once you find the art space located under a concrete bridge, a few meters from the imposing Mairie, and surrounded by nasty smells in an abandoned shopping mall, the contrast is a relief. Her mobiles and wandering sculptures are very inspiring and appeasing.
Cat Loray is a true artist and speaks passionately about her art. She and husband Clément Borderie, also a talented painter, share a studio and have exhibited in Shanghai together. She draws large works in pastel or black charcoal, and uses the oven in her studio to bake the ceramics. Some are empty in the center and make a pretty sound like a bell as they choke, others like the “Wave” are full rings linked together and also create sounds when moving. The fragile ceramics make every movement more intense. The premises of the gallery are underground and perfect in size for the installation which was produced on the spot. Three large rooms with three large sculptures. And drawings hanging on the walls.
What I enjoyed in the work is the whimsical and poetic aspect of it. There are 1 100 handmade rings in the large “Wave” sculpture which includes three sets of irregular circles hanging from the ceiling on a metallic rail. The size itself (3,80cm by 59,5cm) is quite amazing. But the artist can adapt her art to the size of your room. For “Silencio”, there are approximately one hundred cones wonderfully lit from the side. A large red drawing in pastel, “La Tresse”, (the braid) was very attractive also at the end of the show.
Based on the natural shapes in Nature, each piece is inspired by a different phenomenon. “Virga”, the title of the show is the name given to (water) precipitations with a vertical or oblique trail. “Wave” is a representation of a tree dimensional aquatic space. As art historian Domitille d’Orgeval mentions in her introductory text, the works play on the contrast of lightness and tension, strength and fragility. Of course the lighting of each piece is primordial and while I was walking around each mobile, I had a different perception from each side. Neon is used in all the rooms, light from the ceiling or projectors from the side make the pieces dance.
There is a feeling of amazement when you face these moving sculptures which dance in the dark. The artist’s minimal art gives way to a forest of poetry. And it is very soothing.
The show will last until mid March and maybe longer? Since the gallery is closed to the public at the moment, you have to write to the artist at email@example.com, to get a private visit of her show and it’s really worth it. You will feel good for the whole week afterwards. Galerie Fernand Léger, 93 avenue Georges Gosnat, Ivry-sur-Seine.
And make sure on your way out to go and take a peak at the Mairie, in front of which a group of old men play pétanque. All around you will see a mix of horrendous 1970’s concrete architecture that we owe to architects Jean Renaudie and Renée Gailhoustet. And more ancient brick social housings which have now become classical, were built when Ivry became industrialized in 1900 with the famous Manufacture des Oeillets. The town was made famous culturally by Antoine Vitez who ran the Theatre from 1972 to 1981. Ivry -sur-Seine is in Val de Marne, just South of Paris.
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