Loo & Lou Gallery - Haut Marais
12.01 - 02.03.24

Through the mask bird

Leaving the studio, a lingering, ambiguous sensation. The pleasant imprint of a luminous, colorful universe. Flowers of acrylic and oil pastel. Laces of color. Attractive pinks, blues, greens, yellows and bright reds. Sunshine. It diffuses into the soul and body. Sweet, lively, boundless, like love radiating from a child's imagination. And at the same time, the sensation of a shadow covering everything. Cold memories down my back. A black wall built between the eye and the heart. It freezes. It keeps you at a distance. It doesn't seduce. A disturbing, angular charcoal line. A fossilized white presence, two gaps to plunge into.

That's where SylC's universe is headed. Right on the edge of flight and bottomless fall. Revealing what lies beneath. He is the bird and the death mask. One and the other mingled. As the taste of heaven and earth mingle in our mouths.

Intuitive, SylC's art explores the unknown fire we carry inside. Don't look for ultimate truth or fixed meanings. From painting to drawing to sculpture, his art is all about ambivalence and clashes of polarities, breaks and sutures. Aesthetics of fragment and hybridization, embodying the facets of life and interiority. Between the power of life and fragility, freedom and hindrance, desire and fear.

SylC's hybrid universe is above all characterized by an ambiguous realism that navigates between reality and imagination, observation and fantasy. Of course, there's a certain taste for the classical realism of the Flemish and Italian Renaissance in his work. An attraction to the abundance of nature, to anatomical detail, to the transparency of skin and its light. But we could also speak of a Baroque, Surrealist or Expressionist sensibility: non-finishes and the vagaries of matter, anatomical oddities, an imaginary world populated by mythical creatures, Narcissus, Centaurs and other hybrid bestials.

The most striking works are those that do not seek seduction, and that free themselves from the mimesis of the image. Where the unfinished and the imprecise remain. Where the flow of matter instinctively springs forth, through which the eye may or may not reconstruct a form. When fragments of legs sprout from a black drop. When the presence of a very realistic piece of face floats in a barely sketched shapeless mass. When the sharp, precise line suddenly stops, drawing only armless bodies, unfinished hands and eyeless faces. When the softness of round, flowing forms cohabits with the dry hardness of angular line. And when realistic beauty gives birth to all manner of monsters and other expressionist deformations. When the white reserve proliferates and says nothing but its great despairing emptiness.

Osmosis, Otherness, With or without rider, Reflet(s): in SylC's universe, the question of identity predominates and always arises in an unconscious, ambivalent way. One body walking with another. A body that reflects another. A body that carries another. A body that grafts itself onto and merges with another. A shapeless shadow floating in the air. What do we see in these figures? An indestructible bond, family love, amorous fusion? Or hindrance, dependence? Are they presences or losses, mourning? Survivals of recumbents and Pietas grafted onto real models? What do we see in these figures? A beast, an animal? A child, an adult? An angel, a demon? Are they vibrant comets, eternal flowers, odes to life? Or are they carriers of death, with their half-open mouths and black orbits? Are they present, beating in the depths of our bellies, or remnants of a past lost in our heads?

No one knows what's being represented.

Us and the others or the other "I " inside us?

We and our ghostly memories that we carry in our bodies, with a thousand beliefs and a thousand disillusions. We and our multiple lives, which turn our souls into ashes, where new fires are constantly rekindled.

What does it represent, SylC? Perhaps the in-between. That mysterious passage through which we all pass, on the edge of which something always comes to an end and something new begins. Just like the ambivalent nature that takes shape in our works. Here, an ode to life, nourishing, fertile nature. A vast expanse of water in which our reflection is reflected, giving birth to the form of the living while at the same time making it disappear, caught up in its bottomless mirror. There, incandescent light beyond a verdant forest, whose glowing beauty we don't know whether will be a heavenly refuge or an apocalyptic end.

Often there's a mask. Here sometimes emerges from a black envelope, long-beaked and menacing. Or a skull face with fixed eye sockets. Here, often, a fragile circle encircles the white face. Like Ophelia's face on the surface of the water. Like those ancient masks molded on the faces of the dead, a plaster spectre floating in the void.

The mask is what remains and what has passed. What was and what will be. The mask is what we see and what's behind it. It's the mask of death, but also, and above all, of metamorphosis. Like the masks of those strange, hybrid gods with horse or dog heads who have emerged from distant magical rituals. Like the mask of all the winged beings we carry within us. Beings of passage. From an imaginary beyond the grave, endlessly reborn in our heads. Leaving reality behind to help us explore other worlds. To open doors within us, to all those other "I "s that inhabit us. Children, adults, old people. Ageless beings in constant evolution. In whose arms we merge matter and spirit, joy and sorrow, inside and outside. A taste of heaven and earth.

We're just firebirds in black masks.

It's up to us to see through it. Otherwise. Something else.

- Amélie Adamo, May 2023