Etienne Tilman

Memories / Mementos

By Etienne Tilman, art critic and exhibition curator, Paris, France

This work, conveying a very formal appearance, even formalistic, refers to small as well as to very big history. It evokes, on one hand, the work of the quarrymen, the miners, the roofers, who for instance, integrated stony roofs into the landscape of Anjou. But it also evokes the mists of time, there, where these minerals come from, which, at first under the form of vegetables such as wood, were compressed by the weight of the elements of time, to end up petrified.

The biggest particularity of this mineral is its faculty, its power to be divided in a series of strata more or less numerous and more or less thin, to the point that it can have the thickness of common slate.

Memory and Earth’s temporal boundaries are also part of Marie-Noelle’s work. Indeed, besides her interest for stones, her work includes another material which, at first sight, misleads on its texture and its identity: whales’ bones. Found on the banks of the world, they were in fact the first material which fascinated Marie-Noelle de La Poype. Contrary to minerals, bones allude to life. From a purely formal point of view, whales’ bones are the only organic materials which can be best put in connection with stone, by their size and by their structure.

To connect both elements in unique material, Marie-Noelle had the idea of making a footprint in order to bring out a positive image of this alloy and creating in three dimensions in bronze. These sculptures are then an image of the non-interpreted reality.

The subject constitutes a terrestrial witness and the bronze preserves the relief and the volume, both elements being then united in the same material. Bones and stone used at the beginning of this process are not identifiable anymore making us enter in another universe, the one of sculpture : cast metal.

Stones, bones and metal are then connected in their formal and global resemblance, and the intrinsic differences can only be detected in the detail of this masterpiece.