At the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Enki Bilal unveils a new installation: Inbox. This is a bold artistic project designed specially for this international event that will be freely accessible to the public. With this installation, Enki Bilal plays with spectators’ senses and their perception of reality. He pushes his artistic approach to a new level, continuing to deconstruct visual imagery.
He offers a new experience: to become aware of the disturbing but captivating pleasure of obscurity. « We are delighted to be supporting this innovative project, conceived by a great artist. It is important for Artcurial that we assert our strong commitment to contemporary creation and culture, at an international artistic event such as the Venice Biennale. The exhibition will be freely accessible to the public who will be able to learn more about this work that transcends the boundaries between different art forms. » explained François Tajan and Francis Briest, Co-Chairmen at Artcurial.
Eric Leroy, Comic Strip expert at Artcurial, commented on the initiative of the project : « Enki Bilal at the Venice Biennale confirms the international stature of his work and the reach of his reputation beyond our shores. He has surprised us once more with this installation, and demonstrated he can have an impact in all mediums». Enki Bilal will take up residence in the heart of the convent attached to the famous church of San Giorgio Maggiore, opposite the Piazza San Marco. His show is part of a group of exhibitions hosted by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini during the Venice Biennale, that includes artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Matthias Schaller, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Liu Xiaodong.
In an enclosed, minimalist and darkened space, the spectator stands alone in front of a large screen displaying a continuous stream of indistinguishable colour images. This creates an uncertainty designed to mesmerize and unsettle the viewer. After this initial hypnotic phase, the visitor is faced with a diptych that never completely reveals itself, subjected to alternating effects of light and silence, emphasising the relationship between the discontinuity of light and the sensuality of the body. This is where we find the dark and passionate romanticism that characterises the work of Enki Bilal.
The artist concentrates on the fragility and uncertainty of our visual memory, on the contradictions and the material nature of the images. He draws on the need to focus on the present moment and to rely on one’s sensibility and intuition. In this way the spectator is able to immerse himself totally in the work, in a poetry that is both physical and mental. « It is a play on the senses, and the withdrawal of these senses, but also on our assessment of reality. The visitor experiences the frustrations of his visual memory, faced with the impossibility of focusing on a conventionally hung piece of work to take a particular viewpoint. Then, he must move on and leave the box, the after images still haunting his retina. This is an ephemeral and solitary experience. » suggests Enki Bilal.