January 20 · March 31 2023

Vip preview, by invitation, on Thursday, January 19

Public opening on Saturday, January 21, 2023

« Nous qui désirons sans fin » (We who desire endlessly) is the title of Karine Rougier‘s solo exhibition at Drawing Lab. Distinguished by the Drawing Now Prize in 2022, and presented by espace à vendre, Nice, the artist takes advantage of this invitation to propose a real collective stroll. From graphite drawing to gouache, from painting to watercolor, from film to dioramas, we propose you not to discover a story, but rather the stories of Karine Rougier and her guests.

His new drawings reinvent a nature where human forms mingle with animal forms, where bodies and invisible powers unite in the same bewitching embrace. Crossed by a powerful vital impulse, her compositions are the fruit of an emancipated gaze that infuses bodies with desire and power. Initially deeply inspired by the illuminations of the “Clavis Artis”, a manual of alchemy from the end of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century, Karine Rougier’s miniatures resonate with today’s world, addressing the climatic emergency, the power of nature and the relationship of living beings to symbolic elements. « Nous sommes les enfants d’un monde dévasté, qui s’essaient à renaître dans un monde à créer. Apprendre à devenir humain est la seule radicalité » (Nous sommes les enfants d’un monde dévasté, qui tentent de renaître dans un monde à créer. Apprendre à devenir humain est la seule radicalité) Raoul Vaneigheim.

At the Drawing Lab, Karine Rougier explores her worlds in new ways. She plays with scale and media, blurring the boundaries of reality and fiction. First with graphite on paper, then more familiar thanks to the colors of gouache and acrylic, each drawing is a profusion of details, icons and attributes borrowed from all the world’s civilizations. The practice of drawing has always been present in the artist’s work. The profusion of details encourages us to approach and explore all their meanings.

In this fluid exhibition, in which water and bodily fluids are linked, Karine Rougier revisits and gives new life to these ancient images, as if to protect ourselves from the terrifying reality of the world, in order to open our hearts to magic, tenderness, but also to make the monsters and invisible worlds speak. The artist also addresses the universal character of the embrace, of breastfeeding, the embrace of bodies as a source of love and personal or collective energy.

The drawing leaves the paper and comes to life in two short films made with Valérie Pelet. Produced with the help of the Mécènes du Sud production grant at the Centre de Conservation et de Ressources (CCR) of the Mucem in Marseille, the short films feature playing cards and divinatory cards. These actions symbolically bring to life the playing cards of the different centuries, carefully classified and archived in the shelves of the CCR in Marseille. The duo questions the aesthetic approach of the gestures that stage the very device of the archiving and the gesture of the game, the role of chance that one tries in vain to control. On land, in the water, the drawing and the films of Karine Rougier and Valérie Pelet play with the elements up to the stars and the gods.

In her exhibition Karine Rougier has also formulated two invitations. First of all, Stephen Ellcock, image collector, writer and researcher, notably the author of books from which the artist often draws images. Stephen Ellcock has selected images that echo Karine Rougier’s work, thus reversing the usual order of the artist’s work. Having in common a passion for cosmology, illuminated manuscripts, alchemy, magical texts and more generally everything that has to do with the mysterious and esoteric, it is therefore quite natural that the dialogue is born between them, like a cosmic dance.

Karine Rougier, a teacher at the Beaux-Arts de Marseille, has also invited the students to “tell their stories in small form” through the figure of the playing card and the divinatory card. This invitation will take the form of drawn and photographed slides projected in the exhibition.

« Nous qui désirons sans fin » is a dive into drawing, an invitation to play, pick a card and read a new world.

Steven Vandeporta
Director of artistic projects and coordinator of the exhibition of the Prize