Luca Cutrufelli at Bendana Pinel Art Contemporain


La Palude, on the left

There are lots of small commercial galleries in the Marais district of Paris, but it just so happened that last weekend many of them had rented themselves out for pop up clothes shops for the city’s fashion week.  Of course, it wasn’t immediately apparent.  What after all is the essential difference between the sort of shop which displays four single shoes suspended from the ceiling on fishing wire, and a gallery selling sculpture made from found objects? so yes, we did have that conversation, ‘Is it art, or is it actually a shoe shop?’

We did find artwork in the Bendana Pinel gallery, by Luca Cutrufelli.  We were drawn in through the door by the stark monochrome of the interior.  Deep black, nearly matt charcoal on paper works with hints of white, suggesting the trace of something passing leaving a light trail behind it.  From my own inexpert attempts to use charcoal in drawing class, I know how difficult it must be to achieve the intensity and smoothness of the black surface, a sort of absolute darkness, leavened by the small areas of absence.  The name ‘La Palude’ meaning marsh in Italian, echoes Le Marais, the equivalent in French, and also the name of the area suggesting that the work might have been inspired by the location of the exhibition.

I liked the contrasts both explicit and implicit in the installation of black obsidian, a solid block at the bottom of a glass tank topped with a floating layer of off white pumice; the two rock types, the opposite of each other in both colour and density.  It was hard to resist the temptation to shake the tank to see if it was filled with water or some kind of solid gel, but the description did say water…..  The juxtaposition was a clever way to make you think about the different textures and nature of the materials used, and to subvert the assumption that every rock will sink like a stone.


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