Ne me retiens pas
AT 75 FAUBOURG GALLERY, PARIS
FROM SEPTEMBER 9 TO OCTOBER 7, 2022
For her first solo exhibition at the 75 Faubourg gallery, Inès Mélia presents her latest series of paintings in parallel with her book sculptures which centre around La Prisonnière, the fifth volume of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. Whether enclosed in totems or spread out on canvasses, the text is present throughout the exhibition, as a formal motif and a narrative material. The artist plays upon the mistranslation in the Gospel according to Saint John in which Jesus, resurrected, adresses Mary Magdalene and says «Noli me tangere», which was translated by «do not hold me back» rather than by «do not touch me». The exhibition questions these notions of loss and fading traces which always go hand in hand with the desire to hold back.
The two mediums, stemming from the artist’s plural practice and chosen for this exhibition, oppose and complement one another. The paintings allow the text to be free, to make it resurface when the sculptures testify of the entrapment of words, in tension, stuck, prisoners of the books that enclose them. Between scholarship and spontaneity, she sets the object and its content free by isolating them from their bourgeois or elitist context. The book, which has become an item of bourgeois decoration and which is condemned to seclusion in a library, is here redesigned as a stroll-through display.
«For me, the book is a graphic, minimal and reassuring medium which allows me to organise and sort out my inner world». By means of this speci c organisation, Inès attempts to get the words out of the structures which enclose them.The creation of compositions and formal combinations such as sequences, space, void, and ellipsis, leads to new contents induced by the attention and the life experience of each person.In between emancipation and entrapment, Inès Mélia reveals an ambiguity inherent in reading: the liberating intimacy of the book, similar to a journey, allowing for a global outlook, sometimes even leading to the only possible escape from a forced or suffered isolation.
«Don’t hold me back» could in the end be translated by other expressions: Let me go, leave me alone. This injunction does not condemn the artist or anyone else to seclusion outside of the world but is rather an invitation to leave the world in order to be stronger when you return to it. To be an artist is to assert one’s freedom, to come and go as one pleases. Don’t hold me back, I will be right back, I may come back, I will never come back.
Jérôme Sans, March 2022
Photo : Nicolas Brasseur