Florian de la Salle’s aim is to create a strong bond between gesture and matter. The bond is characterised by a flexibility that reconciles thoroughness and ease, resistance and momentum, centre and periphery. The gesture assembles, engraves, sculpts, moulds, coils, kneads, combines, cuts, glues, pushes down, folds, draws, restores, lengthens, colours, wraps – and the list goes on from one action to the next. It concentrates the vital thickness of the body, carries the power of thought, releases energy in various modes of emanation and inspiration, and forces both research and quick understanding. Matter carries within it both compactness and benevolence, euphoria and toughness, uncertainty and yearning, assurance and transparency, appeal and promise, the shine and insistence of wood, beeswax, paraffin, copper wire, Plexiglas, concrete resin, mirror, blotting paper, salt, enamel, porcelain, and many other invitations. Without dropping its guard, without ignoring dangers or illusions, it lends itself to all sorts of incursions, reacts to anything that displaces it, surprises it and takes it to its most elementary degree, where it resonates with itself and asserts itself most ardently.
Gesture and matter only open up to one another, only surrender to one another fully when they are allowed to mutually interpenetrate. However, this can only be achieved through a continuously redistributed relationship based on values of welcome and exchange. The result is the constant presence of a plural experience, which undermines the established order, causes and intertwines the appearance of differences and the evidence of correlations, and triggers the process of their necessary mutations. Thereby, the gesture acquires its own materiality and, without losing its clarity, harmonises with the substance that generated it. Matter contributes to a better knowledge of the gesture and yields to the requirements of the strain it is put under without losing control of its resources.
What ensues from this singular alliance is a form that eludes rigid determination. The diversity of its orientations produces the strangest juxtapositions. This form brings into close contact reality and imagination, sensibility and rigour, fluidity and roughness. It does not depend on any disorder or fantasy, but instead claims an independence that frees it from any narrowness. Sentinel, tool, echo, architecture, reverie, circulation, vestige, draughtboard, ghost, addition, reminiscence, vocabulary, surprise or pact – it manifests like a pure passage from one level to another and unfurls like an incentive to investigate, a yearning for light, but can also retract like a forbidden shadow, a closed space or silence. It requires sustained attention – not to be understood but to give it time to let the interplay of convergences and full range of bifurcations and flights of fancy rise to the surface of its uncertainty. In this sense, Florian de la Salle’s indirectly echoes René Char’s burning question: “How can we live without the unknown before us?”
"Facing the unknown", by Didier Arnaudet, 2019
Commissioned by Documents d’artistes Nouvelle-Aquitaine