Un Lac Inconnu
Curated by Vittoria Matarrese
Bally Foundation, Lugano
20April – 24 September 2023

Un Lac Inconnu, an Unknown Lake, borrows its title from the words of Marcel Proust when he tries to describe, in his book Le temps retrouvé (Time Regained), the meticulous exploration of the human soul and what underlies it: the unconscious. The exhibition is an invitation to the evocative power of the surrounding nature, to its ability to inspire imagination and create persistent images, to penetrate dormant and deep waters, maternal or troubled, to transform the boundaries between exterior and interior into thin membranes, to walk in our intimate gardens, our immersed landscapes.

Un Lac Inconnu is the search for a common vibration between what is happening inside and outside, of these gardens drawn in eyeshadow by Hélène Muheim, engraved by Willa Wasserman, or woven by Elise Peroi, in which the giant forsythias by Petrit Halilaj and Álvaro Urbano protect us from emotional storms and where we can come across the half-human, half-vegetal figures by Vito Acconci, the winged flowers by Wilfrid Almendra, and the animated/animist objects by Rebecca Horn. An exploration of the subconscious, as in Paul Maheke’s work, of the cracks and images that inhabit us, voices that haunt us like those from Tania Gheerbrant’s sculpture, Yannick Haenel’s story, or Adelaide Fériot’s choir, just as wonderful as they are disturbing. If Mathias Bensimon’s fresco allows us to have a mirrorlike vision of the lake, Oliver Beer’s painting or Ligia Dias’s sculpture went to look for the elements that compose them at the very bottom of the water, while the liquid objects of Mel O’Callaghan make the breaths resonate deep within us. Facing the lake, under the lake, we are the lonely explorers of the remains of the landscape and our memories, like works by Caroline Bachmann, Emilija Škarnulytė or Karim Forlin, creating a bridge, a breach that allows us to enter as close as possible to a territory, its history and myths. In a superposition of narrative and temporal frames, we cross the Villa as if we are reading a diary. Bringing together more than twenty international artists, Un Lac Inconnu proposes a poetic and philosophical stroll between immersed and emerged landscapes, an attempt to give shape to the water that runs between the fingers yet makes a groove, a proposal of connection to oneself and to the world.