Tourbillon by Anish Kapoor, Black Moon: Contemporary Art in Bonifacio’s Summer Quarter

Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 6:45 pm

From the ‘hypnotic’ whirlwind of Britain’s Anish Kapoor to the fictional moon of China’s Mao Tao, from street art in California to video creations in Corsica or Marseille, Bonifacio, on the southernmost island of the Mediterranean, is hosting its first international biennial of contemporary art.

In total, about fifteen French, Moroccan, American, British, Brazilian, Dutch, Turkish and Chinese artists are exhibiting their works until November in six mostly emblematic sites that have “remained closed to the public until now”, presenting a heritage and artistic rediscovery of the city”, explains to AFP Dominique Marcellesi, 30 years old, one of the founders of this biennial.

In this city of 3000 inhabitants which receives two million visitors annually, especially in the summer, this first exhibition, called “Rouge Odyssée”, refers to the Homer Odyssey that passed through Bonifacio and immerses the visitor, through videos, installations, and graffiti, in the Mediterranean and themes of exile, uprooting, immigration or slavery.

Dominique Marcellesi comments, “We wanted to present a cultural offering to a rural and island area usually limited to large and globalized urban spaces,” while also highlighting “Corsican artistic production.”

The exhibition is designed in three parts, the first part evoking “the movement of the elements, time, nature,” he explains.

The route starts from the chapel of St. Roch, which usually opens its doors only once a year, for mass, with Lavezzi, a film by Corsican artist Melissa Ipamenunde, showing the Mediterranean shot amidst the foam and calm. Or unleash it, then adorn it with a red filter that evokes “desire as much as danger,” notes Prisca Misler, co-founder of the Biennale.

– hypnotic –

Then, in the bastion garden, gazes slip from the breathtaking panoramic view of white limestone cliffs falling in the blue of the Mediterranean to the work of “Descent” by the famous British plastic artist Anish Kapoor: a whirlwind of black liquid three meters in diameter that seems to disappear in Earth, to infinity, with ghoul noises.

This work has already been shown, notably at Versailles and New York, “this work is the most emblematic of the exhibition, and it required enormous architecture to incorporate it into the protected Bonifacian architecture”, asserts Prisca Meslier.

“It’s impressive, scary at first, completely hypnotic, and hard to get out of,” enthused Natalie and Xavier Solmont, two architects from Lyon on vacation.

For the second part of the exhibition, on “Movement of Bodies, Individuals in Space”, a walk in the upper town leads to the old cinema, closed in 1965, which hosts the creations of two artists: “The Cheetah” by British Isaac Julian about immigration in exile and visual work To 84-year-old French-Turkish feminist Neil Yalter, born in Cairo and raised in Istanbul: “The Mediterranean is hers,” sums up the curator.

For the third part, which examines the “meeting stage”, the trend of the closed Montlauer Barracks since the end of the eighties, the site receives six artists.

Young Marseilles Sarah Sadek shines in particular, with two works, one of which is a movie, shown on a giant screen, based on the graphics world of video games and tells the aspirations of Zain, a young man from the working-class neighborhoods of Marseille.

The Chinese Mau Tao also features a “hunting moon” which is a luminous and liquid illumination to project a black moon at the end of a corridor where “two seven-hertz speakers emitted from the earth broadcast into the universe, as well as the human soul in the meditation phase,” explains the founder.

(In the evening until November 6, 2022, www.derenava-art.com)

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