Michel Couturier is a technically eclectic artist: painting, drawing, print, photography, video, performance are among his familiar tools, often analytically combined, i.e., submitted to sequential transformations/declinations, metamorphoses of the very same matter. Whatever the matter, the object is thus transfigured into some mental state of the creative subject. And besides the mere imitatio naturae never was at the core of artistic gestures, whose significance basically rests on the representation/witness/statement of cultural attitudes, choices, visions, denouncements of reality. Thus, Couturier’s works show both familiar and odd objects: pebbles are not really pebbles, trellises and banners suggest trees and forests, a parking area speaks of alienation and incommunicability, and ports and landscapes allude to travelling, migratory fluxes, intercultural crossings and tensions.
Beneath an invariably formal accuracy, what steps in is a wholly allegoric universe, whose images are exceptionally powerful in this exhibition because they come from an environment imbued with the sharpest contradictions. The shown works are in fact part of a triennial research, brought about in Sicily and to be concluded in Noto and provide a preliminary dossier, as well seduced as disquieting and denouncing. In short, both strident and unavoidable reactions take place in this outpost of Europe besieged by all sorts of ethno-cultural migrations and contaminations; economically backward, though by no means underdeveloped; provided with a monumental and environmental heritage combining worldwide uniqueness and ferocious devastations. The unfinished infrastructures, the ruins of architectural masterpieces, the concrete besieging nature (epitomized by the Pergusa lake, once evoking the myth of ‘‘Proserpina abduction’’, now encircled by a deserted motor racing track and on the way of drying up) are thus telling the epic, abject and sublime, tale of the human condition.
Rosa Anna Musumeci, May 2018