Dio Horia is pleased to presentTime Οut, a new series of works by Paris-based artist Laure Mary-Couégnias. Marking the artist’s first solo exhibition in Greece, “Time Out” opens on October 7, in the presence of the artist. The exhibition includes new paintings by Mary-Couégnias, two of which were created in Mykonos during her participation in Dio Horia’s residency program.
Time Out, Mary-Couégnias observes, was set in motion with a moment in her Parisian studio when there was “a promise to meet and an invitation to escape”:
Alone in this house, emptied since this morning of an imaginary visitor, I watch the solar prism of an invisible window. The heart embarrassed by a wind that has blown away a Parisian memory that thousands of luminous points dance and finish in dust. Some correspondence with the silence settles, creating the definition of the limits to be able to run away, and to abandon itself in a conversation that we didn't have. Everything crystallized around a dream coming from an immobile disorder that physically represents the infinite, as if we could escape the laws of absence. Beginning an unknown journey, whose path we have lost, reminds us of how far we have been from ourselves. This way is liberating.
The exhibition begins with her signature motif of depicting familiar objects and spaces in surrealistic arrangements, reminiscent of Magritte’s pictorial and linguistic puzzles—making the familiar disturbing and strange, posing questions about the nature of representation and reality. With a pictorial non-judgmental communication, the thematic terrain it addresses is presented as an inevitable continuation of Mary-Couégnias’s ongoing observation ofthenature of the civilized world, the traces of life on the planet and the spectacle of it all.
Time Out is the profoundly moving attempt to zoom in on the story of a journey. It boldly imagines a world in which no humans are portrayed, and no two creatures are shown together sustained by their love. In Time Out’s pieces, unified landscapes and various couplings of objects are pictured in uninhabited spaces clearly suggesting that someone was once there but probably isn’t anymore. Small traces in the works, such as the scorching hot coffee in Nobody’s Breakfast, 2021, or the clean water in the fishbowl of Lonely River, 2021, seem to suggest that the person who was there has escaped voluntarily and is now willingly somewhere else. Awesome in the totality of their vision, the works of Mary-Couégnias are an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that is needed to keep people [or love] alive in the face of the world.
It was late summer when the artist arrived in Mykonos for her residency with Dio Horia, so she encountered a landscape that was mostly parched and windy. Being confident that she could find new dreamlike inspiration in the country’s rich history, landscape and architecture, she set out looking for living ruins to connect with. It only took her a couple of days to invent new silent spaces with uneasy encounters and add local elements and colors to her work. The Ancient Greek columns, the Cycladic windmills and a special tone of yellow are little discoveries that appear in some of the works and are inspired from the artist’s residency with Dio Horia.
In a manner that follows in the footsteps of Naïve Art, Pop Art, and Surrealism, Laure Mary-Couégnias continues to create an idiosyncratic oeuvre that justly measures up tothat ancestry, while creating a profoundly complexpractice that is empowering and uniquely hers.