17th November 2016 – 9th January 2017
Tristan Hoare, London
Tristan Hoare presents Cell-estial, an exhibition of new works by French-born Lebanese artist Flavie Audi.
Audi is best known for her gem-like glass sculptures, but for this exhibition she also includes photography and film as a means to investigate the points at which the natural and artificial worlds meet. In essence, glass is a naturally occurring, organic material, yet through its modern usage in mobile and TV screens it has taken on technological significance – as an interface through which real and virtual worlds are mediated – and it is this collision of realities that is at the heart of Audi’s practice. To explore how these realms interact, the show has been divided into two distinct installations, one representing the physical, the other digital, chaotic nature placed alongside the rational and man-made.
The first installation, the ‘Physical Realm’, is displayed in the gallery’s rear viewing space. Here the viewer finds an array of sculptures mounted on cylindrical black plinths. The titles of these works – Bubbles Of Space and Fluid Rocks – are apt, for they look like fantastical gems from another cosmos. In fact, they are blown glass to which Audi has introduced colour pigments and precious metals, sparking chemical reactions that are simultaneously scientific and open to chance. The alchemic processes intrinsic to these works create undefined edges and fluctuating colours, which in turn suggest a feeling of liquidity and tactile sensuality. In the wall-mounted installation Cloudscape 7, glass sculptures have been arranged to evoke a galactic journey through an imagined cosmic nebula, with the resulting clash of beautiful, unpredictable matter. These sculptures are juxtaposed with analogue photographic work.
The second installation, the ‘Virtual Realm’, features Gemscape, another wall-mounted sculpture that brings together synthetic and natural materials to represent a fragment of an imagined planetary landscape. This seamless combination of real and artificial materials – fake marble, semi-precious and synthetic gemstones, minerals, resin, and pigments – invites the viewer to ponder the relative merits of each. This room also includes three puddle-like glass sculptures placed on the gallery’s floor. All entitled Slice Of Water, their vivid gemstone hues replicate what the artist refers to as ‘the wellspring of existence, water, the origin and source of everything.’ Arranged according to Euclidean perspective, Cloudscape 8 is displayed in this room as the organised and rigorously geometric counter to the chaos of Cloudscape 7.
The final room, located at the rear of the gallery, features a video work entitled Landscapes of Mass Replication, which was made in collaboration and co-produced with Samantha Lee of UniversalAssemblyUnit. In this surreal animation, Audi’s sculptures and photographs are set in a futuristic virtual realm: a context of cultured geology and artificial land formations.