Candy Floss Planet

Irène Laub gallery, Brussels (BE)

Nina Tomàs

 

In 2023, NASA’s James Webb telescope reveals up close the incredibly fuzzy texture of the exoplanet WASP-107b, also affectionately known as “candy floss planet”. This star with its strange outlines lies at the edge of the constellation Virgo…

Just as appealing and enigmatic is the eponymous exhibition from artist Nina Tomàs (1989°, FR/LU living in Brussels and in Luxembourg), with its indefinite countours, acid colours and slightly sultry overtones… A universe to be probed meticulously, which gradually reveals itself to the eye.

The recent works (2023-2024) presented here explore the many potentialities of painting, while opening up to other techniques such as drawing, embroidery and ceramics. Her work is ever-changing and multi-faceted. The artist plays with the material components of her works, such as the canvas, the frame and the support for her paintings, which she twists, turns upside down and metamorphoses as she pleases. A gradual conquest towards other dimensions, other potential spaces beyond the imposed framework.

She challenges all the norms associated to this age-old medium, notably by the usage of historical references such as the allusion to Giotto’s Dream of Innocent III. She re-actualizes the work by replacing the image of the pope by one of a young woman asleep, and the image of the Latran Cathedral to the Church of Saint-Barthélémy in Liège. This description of the Songe blends tangible references and with unbounded onirism. Elsewhere, a still life with salmon – a veritable allusion to flesh – evokes the work of Luis Meléndez (1716-1780) in the Prado. Vermeer, meanwhile, intrudes in La grotte au rideau through the detail of an open window… These pictorial influences have been modified and integrated into her own story, with images drawn from her daily life. A careful compilation of elements, both instinctive and critical.

Her work also intertwines repeated patterns of lines and even wefts with meticulous gesture and extreme patience. These are often derived from textile models which she combines with more complex narrative fragments. Hybridity in form and technique is found in her posture drawings and in embroideries that refer to the artist’s daily practice of yoga. Another reference is superimposed, as the backbending postures – supposed to heal the nervous system – are in fact taken from photographs of women whose bodies have been torn apart by the disease revealed by Charcot. This French neurologist was head of the “hysterics department” at Paris’ Hôpital de la Salpétrière, where the controversial Bal des folles would take place every year, an echo of which can be seen here, inspired by a press cartoon by José Belon (“Le Monde illustré”, 1890). This event mixed the allegedly alienated with the rest of Paris for one evening.

Between bodily movement and assertive femininity, Mula bandha evokes the beneficial contraction of the perineum muscles muscles, a physical and energetic lock presented in the form of a keyhole to be opened, an allusion to the female sex that also appears on the Lip Gloss or Lespugue. Elsewhere more abstract evocations of a storm on the surface of Jupiter, or even lollipops rendered unidentifiable, becoming almost organic.

Diverse components of a work that, linked together give a unique outlook onto the diversity of a constantly changing society that becomes increasingly mixed by means of globalization. A world of possibilities to be scutinized from afar, and then up-close, perpetually modifying our relationship to what is shown, to what is revealed.

– Catherine Henkinet
Curator and art critic A.I.C.A.

 

PRESS:

 


 

Opening Wednesday 24.04, 5pm – 9pm
Exhibition until Saturday 20.07

Location
Irène Laub gallery
29 rue Van Eyck
1050 Brussels (BE)

 


Read more about Nina Tomàs