On the Other Side of the Sea

Clément Bedel

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June 17th – July 3rd


What else is a painting if not a certain worlding (in Heidegger’s sense) on a piece of canvas? Clément Bedel’s worlding, that ontological connection to temporality and transcendence, allows the gaze to wander freely around the painting(s), to perceive the detached fragments of the biosphere and the remains of infrastructures in which human presence and logic exist only as phantom-like silhouettes. There’s no dominant object that will capture its attention, nor a master narrative that will hold it conceptually. However, it would be wrong to think about freedom at this point. Just like the deceitful blossoming of agave, the bonbon-like pastel and acid colour palettes of the paintings hide in themselves a treat of toxicity. It is of the same character as the one that is concealed in predatory capitalism. The beauty of an ornamental flower might be appealing, but for it to reach the stage of full blossom, the plant has to consume its entire energy: once its potential is achieved it has to die off, immediately. A blossoming without a reward. Nevertheless, getting on together, according to Donna Haraway, means that multispecies are meant to stay with the trouble. Cobbled together, abstract and realistic planes anxiously relate to a finite flourishing, while saluting, captivating and sedating the viewer (the consumers) in the not-yet. Bedel’s paintings hide a secret in their polyspatial knotting manifested even in different textures of the colours. However, having faith in the after and aware of this toxic and tense hybridity, it is by producing sympoiesis (making-with) that Clément Bedel captures the world against any normativity. He pacifies the little paradoxes and contradictions of growth. Strangely and despite the venomous petrol coloured water without reflection, he even succeeds to restore a trace of serenity and optimism. Atypical yolk-coloured sky and rose-coloured soil seem to make every entropic tension milder, and less of a treat.

The Other Side of the Sea is not post-consumerist, nor post-apocalyptic. It is a serene way of staying with the trouble that was initially provoked by the force of civilisational decline rather than by the force of nature. In this abolition of the perspectives of the world in relation to the dramatic blossoming, Bedel finds a new perspective. He does so by articulating the otherwise traumatic overlapping of antagonistic rather than complementary planes. Here, they demonstrate vitality and resilience rather than entropy.

Text: Maja Ćirić