Curated by Chiara Parisi
The exhibition closes the ambitious exhibition program conceived by Muriel Mayette-Holtz - director from 2015 to 2018 - which has seen great names alternate since 2017, including Annette Messager , Yoko Ono and Claire Tabouret , Elizabeth Peyton and Camille Claudel , Tatiana Trouvé and Katharina Grosse , without forgetting the numerous international artists who participated in the exhibition in the gardens, Ouvert la Nuit . These projects have been flanked by the two major exhibitions dedicated to pensioners, at the crossroads between research and production, Swimming is Saving and Take Me (I'm yours).
Anne and Patrick Poirer are among the most famous French couples on the international art scene: a creative symbiosis that took shape in Villa Medici, fifty years ago. The passage of time, the traces and scars of its passage, the fragility of human constructions and the power of the ruins, both ancient and contemporary, are the source from which their creativity draws, taking on the appearance of an archeology permeated by melancholy and game.
Anne was born in 1941 in Marseille; Patrick in 1942 in Nantes. Their work is characterized by the imprint of violence left by the time they lived - they who, from their earliest childhood, have been confronted with war and its devastated landscapes. In 1943, Anne witnesses the bombing of the port of Marseille, and Patrick loses his father during the destruction of the historic center of Nantes.
Winners of the Grand Prix de Rom and in 1967, after attending the École des arts décoratifs in Paris, Anne and Patrick stayed at Villa Medici from 1968 to 1972 - invited by Balthus. And it is precisely at Villa Medici that they decide to combine their artistic vision, jointly signing the works. Anne and Patrick Poirier belong to that generation of artists who, traveling and opening up to the world since the 1960s, developed a fascination for ancient cities and civilizations and, in particular, the processes of their disappearance. mysterious, imaginary archaeological reconstructions, the charm of the ruins, the investigation of gardens, the union of historical works and productions in situ, are the elements that give life to the ROMAMOR exhibition at Villa Medici.
Anne and Patrick talk about the love they have for libraries, intended as metaphors for memory; an attraction that leads them to create ideal museum-libraries, in this case an elliptical building that seems to be able to fly towards new worlds, carrying away its load of images in the face of a possible imminent catastrophe.
The oneiric space that the viewer glimpses from the portholes develops along the grand staircase of the ancient stables of Villa Medici, catapulting it into a "disturbing unreality". A luminous space, Le songe de Jacob (2019), composed of names of constellations, phosphorescent stairs, suspended serpentine shapes, white feathers scattered on the staircase accompany the spectator's step, step by step, until reaching the next space, of immaculate whiteness , where Rétrovisions (2018) appears, a three-dimensional self-portrait of the couple who is reflected in a mirror, surrounded by neon words that, speaking of utopia, illuminate the space, dazzling us.
Not far away, Surprise Party (1996): a deflated and faded globe resting on an old crackling record player, in turn placed on an old suitcase - another key element of the Poirier vocabulary - which evokes a nomadic geography, "a world that turns contrary. A land that screeches ". Between vertigo and vestiges, the viewer finds himself in front of Dépôt de mémoire et d'oubli (1989): a cross that stands out, made of footprints left on the paper of masks of ancient gods. With the work Lost Archetypes (1979), the gaze finds itself in front of the human-scale reconstruction of great architectural works: a series of four white models of ruined sites. Between past, present and future, fall, construction and elevation, Anne and Patrick Poirier shake the historical landmarks of the Roman public. In the next room, the collages: plant drawings fixed in wax, Journal d'Ouranopolis (1995), an attempt to fight against the deprivation of memory and oblivion. The feeling of vulnerability, which presides over the destruction of our world, is found in the images of Fragility and Ruins (1996).
The exhibition extends to the garden of Villa Medici: in the Piazzale, the artists draw with Carrara marble stones, the shape of a human brain, Le Labyrinthe du Cerveau (2019), with its two hemispheres. A “two-headed autobiographical manifesto”, which depicts the conjunction of their minds, a metaphor for a couple practice that evokes the theme they have explored over the last fifty years: the mechanisms linked to the passage of time. Their constructions are like big brains, a landscape that must be traversed. They like to say, in this regard: “The image of the brain, made up of two hemispheres, is what can best represent us; represent at the same time the unity and diversity of the symbiosis that we are ".
Not far away, in the Fountain of the obelisk, we can glimpse Regard des Statues (2019): anonymous eyes in plaster appear to us deformed by the water in which they are immersed. The eye that looks at the sky, time, the eye of memory and oblivion, the eye of history and violence, leads the viewer to the Atelier Balthus, where a mythical work emerges, created right in Villa Medici in 1971: stele of paper, built starting from the casts of the Hermes - the marble figures that dot the avenues of the garden of the Villa - accompanied by herbarium books, "notebooks bearing personal notes and drawings", and porcelain medallions on which the same funeral images are depicted.
The word that gives the exhibition its name, ROMAMOR (2019), appears in neon in the portico of the Atelier Balthus in homage to this city so important from an artistic and human point of view for the two artists.