Le donne con tre anime
curated by Marjolaine Lévy
exhibition views at Artopia Gallery, Milan
October 27, 2023 - January 12, 2024
Photos by Matteo Pasin
Artopia opens a new space, a new location.
The exhibition space, in origin a late 19th-century workshop located in the courtyard of the same building that has housed the gallery for over twenty years, was designed by the Martinelli Venezia studio.
Here, on Thursday, October 26, 2023, we will inaugurate the exhibition titled Le donne con tre anime featuring the two French artists Adélaïde Feriot (Libourne, 1985) and Seulgi Lee (Seoul, 1972), curated by Marjolaine Lévy.
The exhibition draws inspiration from the first feminist futuristic novel, A Woman with Three Souls, written in 1918 by the Austro-Italian artist Rosa Rosà. This novel addresses issues of women’s emancipation and introduces the concept of the “woman of the day after tomorrow” as a manifesto opposing the patriarchal discourse of the leader of the futurist movement, Marinetti. The book - considered the first feminist science fiction text - follows the journey of Giorgina Rossi, a housewife propelled into the future through a temporal acceleration and then undergoing three successive transformations. These metamorphoses lead her to become aware of her sensuality and desires in the first place, then to liberate her speech and oratory skills, and finally, the third and last metamorphosis involves the realm of artistic creation, projecting the protagonist into a cosmic flight.
Thus, Adélaïde Feriot’s imposing velvet Aurora on Mars (2023) could come across as a result of this third transformation. The artwork, with its delicate shades of blue and purple inks, is an informal translation of a recently captured by N.A.S.A. sunset on Mars, unique for its blue hue. On the opposite wall is displayed a textile work titled U: voir des éléphants roses (2023), by Seulgi Lee. It is a lively geometric composition that appears quite different from Feriot’s blue Martian horizon but crystallizes the same inclination to engage with words and colors. Each blanket in the U series, started by the Korean-born artist in 2014, is an abstract translation of a popular proverb chosen for its humorous tones.
Beyond their joint role as translators, the two artists also share a strong appreciation for craftsmanship. So formally divergent and yet closely related, the exhibited works - from large textile pieces to woven baskets and taffeta lamps by Seulgi Lee, to Adélaïde Feriot’s bronze sculptures - have in common the hand as a tool. Upstairs in Artopia’s new exhibition space, Adélaïde Feriot’s bronze hands (Sur la crête des vagues, 2022) inhabit the wall in a spectral gesture and face the hundreds of small abstract sculptures made from colored metal wires (THINGS), 2023, designed by Seulgi Lee to be manipulated and held in hand.
The dialogue between these two French artists of the same generation generates what the curator defines as a narrative and engaged abstraction, able to combine primary abstract signs with ironic, social, and environmental aspects, asserting its transitive and decidedly contextual dimension. The dream of artistic avant-gardes, where art and craftsmanship merge into one, seems to come true through these works.
Adélaïde Feriot (Libourne, 1985) lives and works in Paris.
Her practice is a poetic and meditative exploration of the relationship between living beings, objects, and natural phenomena. Intuition is a central element of her work, as is sound and singing, particularly the collective power of polyphony.
Characterized by radical multi-materiality and refined stylistic hybridization, her works take the form of tableaux vivants: sculptures of lead delicately suspended on colored cotton, sumptuous velvet cloaks, and ethereal installations of silk hand-dyed by the artist with a cocktail of plant pigments. The artist is graduated at ENSAAMA Olivier de Serres, Birmingham City University, and ENSBA Lyon, and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in France and abroad, including Gare Saint Lazare, Paris (2023); Fondazione Bally, Lugano (2023); Fondation d'entreprise Pernod Ricard, Paris (2021, 2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2021, 2015, 2012); Institut d'art contemporain IAC, Villeurbanne (2020, 2015, 2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019); Kunstwerk Carlshütte, Büdelsdorf (2019).
Seulgi Lee (Seoul, 1972) lives and works in Paris, France.
The artist explores everyday language and natural forms through her sculptures or installations, characterized by a simple and elegant formal aesthetic.
Realizing her works, Seulgi Lee collaborates with artisans, highlighting the connection between craft practices and the linguistic system, and producing anthropological objects that tend towards color geometry with a certain sense of humor.
The artist has collaborated with the Manufacture des Gobelins du Mobilier National for the Design Parade of Toulon and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in France and abroad, including MendesWoodDM Gallery, Brussels (2023); We Do Not Work Alone, Paris (2023); Fondation d'entreprise Pernod Ricard, Paris (2022); Kadist Foundation, San Francisco (2022); Galerie Jousse Entreprise, Paris (2022, 2017); Gallery Hyundai, Seoul (2022); Kunsthal Aarhus, Aarhus (2021); Incheon Art Platform, Incheon (2021); National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2020); Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, Paris (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012).
Marjolaine Lévy earned a Ph.D. in contemporary art history from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. She is an art critic and teaches art history, art theory, and graphic design at EESAV in Rennes. Lévy is the author of various essays and exhibition catalogs, including Les Modernologues (Mamco, 2017), and has curated the book 20 ans d’art en France. Une histoire sinon rien (Flammarion, 2018). She regularly collaborates with the Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne and the Interwoven magazine. Among her recent curated exhibitions are the comprehensive monograph Léon Wuidar, une peinture à géométrie variable at the Bonisson Art Center, Rognes Aix en Provence (2023); Histoires d’abstraction, le cauchemar de Greenberg (2021) at the Fondation Pernod Ricard, Paris; and Des mots et des choses at Frac Bretagne (2019). She also curated the traveling exhibition 26 x Bauhaus, which was presented in 2019 at French institutes in Berlin, Bremen, and Munich.