Animalia Exhibition. Mathurin Méheut – Damien Colcombet
From 6 May to 15 July 2017
La Fontaine would hope and pray for this exhibition: “Animalia”!
In other words, two great talents, of painting and sculpture, meet. The talent of legendary Mathurin Méheut, 26 original plates of an extraordinary animal ABC are exposed. The talent of Damien Colcombet, master of modern sculpture, his bronze sculptures have already joined prestigious collections.
“The eye and the mind of La Fontaine”
You have to imagine him coming back to us, and curiously pushing the door of the Center Cristel Éditeur d’Art… Already, at the first step, his eyes light up… He advances, savors and exclaims joyfully, as if struck by the obvious : “A bestiary!” Then, still advancing, he adds, as a specialist in literature and fauna: “Not only a bestiary, an alphabet book! An animal alphabet! And our visitor, of course, to rub his hands, delighted that we can still, four centuries after his own, convert and charm the world with tigers, lions, hippopotamuses, elephants of all kinds, a gannet, a cormorant, geese, a fox or the clear mass of a Charolais bull. Her name ? Anyone who will have understood it: it is Jean de La Fontaine… We therefore like to guess it “very easy”, while he contemplates one by one the twenty-six animal plates created in the past by Mathurin Méheut, an illustrious painter of the Great West. And “very comfortable”, too, while he strokes with his palm a draft mare skillfully modeled in clay by Damien Colcombet, a master of modern sculpture. Because this is the invitation offered by the Center Cristel Éditeur d’Art via this “Animalia” exhibition: a bath of youth and a wonderful safari! A call to dream, too, with a certain taste for a patient idea of form and beauty. “I use animals to teach men,” warned the immortal fabulist. What dreams did Mathurin Méheut feed on? His biographers, Roman Petroff in the lead, have regularly explained it: he thought beforehand of distant lands, promising because mysterious…
Then, from dream to dream, and from plaster to plaster, witnessing a slow maturation, were born these unexpected sculptures that the Cristel Éditeur d’Art Center is now happy to bring to light: according to the very expression of Hélène Jousse, “faces-ribbons”. Fine, high, high, fluid works, which one of the masters of contemporary art, the Dutchman Mark Brusse, immediately admired without reserve. Their secret? Eyes that do not see, lips that do not move — and yet this bewitching sensation of an indisputable presence…
Magician… For this rare gift, so powerful, so precious, perhaps Anne Limbour should claim a place of choice. This Breton visual artist, born in Fougères in 1971, is she not the author of a totally invented, totally dreamlike world? In a few words, fish, sometimes seahorses and jellyfish coming, not from the deep, but from the sky and the air! We think we hear another tirade from Cocteau: “The source almost always disapproves of the route of the river”… A way of saying, obviously, that a mysterious freedom and an inexhaustible magic were needed to transform his primitive quest – feathers of birds, remiges—in incredible swarms of fish. Mastery of goldsmith, therefore, where the chisel which cuts and the hand which disposes, are only the instruments of a singularly spiritual re-creation. We think, by association, of these marvelous innovators, now museums, that were and remain Line Vautrin, Simone Pheulpin, Bernadette Chéné, Jagoda Buic, Olga de Amaral… Anne Limbour is in their blood.