until 18.11. | #3610ARTatBerlin | Galerie aKonzept shows from 14. September 2022 the exhibition “à notre seuil ne veuillez point toucher” (> our threshold, please do not touch) by artist Emanuelle Rapin.
The pleasurable in-between
As if embroidered by hand but archaically stabbed with a nail, the word SEUIL appears on an anthracite-coloured concrete building block. SEUIL in French means transition, threshold, but also evokes the idea of the border as well as the anticipation of departure. The outline of the five capital letters consists of perforations carved by hand into the concrete: a message, an invitation, a warning and also an actual gravitational experiment. The dot above the “I” is a precisely drilled hole through which a thread of elegant green pearl cotton yarn is pulled. The narrow circular path through the hard stone forms the mysterious passage between the ball of thread and the lead ball that seems to have tumbled down from the “I”. The weight attached to the end of the thread creates an anachronistically fragile yet robust tension. The length of the thread as well as the position of the spool of thread are variable, depending on how the work is set up.
Meaning and suggestion of the materials as well as their intense relationship flow into each other. I think of the magic thread of Ariadne, which makes it possible to find the way out of the labyrinth and ultimately symbolises the harmony between soul and spirit. I think of the toxicity of lead, without whose heaviness the tight strength of the thread would not be visible – I think of concrete as a sharp-edged building material. The stone forms the core of the transition, the work as a whole is an event of orchestrated contradictions.
The Spanish poet and mystic John of the Cross, who died in solitude in an Andalusian monastery in 1591 and was canonised in the 17th century, should be mentioned as a source of inspiration. He writes of the threshold as the fine borderline between sensuality and spirituality. Emmanuelle Rapin combines these thoughts with the poetry of the Romanian avant-garde artist Ghérasim Luca (1913-1994), who tells of the echo of the body. SEUIL is the visual realisation of the essence of these writings.
SEUIL is a minimalist sculpture and concrete poetry at the same time. Embroidery patterns and thread belong to the traditional craft canon of women, while concrete and lead are masculine. Apparent opposites stand in a fruitful tension.
The work marks an actual transition and at the same time illustrates the intensity of human feelings in the in-between. The threshold is an ambivalent place of desire.
A similar vocabulary is found in the work La pesanteur de l’âme or the gravity of the soul. The steel plumb bob hangs from a string of crocheted hair attached to a nail. There is something innocent and guileless about the hair, even though it plays such a considerable role. This unusual plumb bob, just like its classical model, which has been used in construction since time immemorial, enables the certainty of the perfect vertical, which in turn determines the earth’s gravitational pull. But I am also thinking of the fairy-tale princesses Petrosinella, Persinette or Rapunzel, whose long hair serves as a climbing rope and ultimately leads to happiness in life.
Both works evoke the spiritualistic power of thread as well as the legendary magic of long hair as a feminine habitus. Here, the thread enables the abstract connection of soul and spirit. The weave of hair resists gravity and thus the weight of our bodies.
Helen Adkins, August 2022
Vernissage: Saturday, 17. September 2022 – from 5 p.m.
Exhibition dates: Wednesday, 14. September until Saturday, 29 October 2022 – ATTENTION: extended until Friday, 18 November 2022to the gallery
Image Title: courtesy of Galerie aKonzept
Exhibition Emanuelle Rapin – Galerie aKonzept + Raphael Lévy | Zeitgenössische Kunst | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Galerien Berlin | ART at Berlin