After "Fétichismes" in 2018, Jacques Velay returns for a new exhibition.
Exhibition visible from November 6 to 27. Opening on November 6 from 5pm in the presence of the artist.
"This project is about the extraction tower of the Destival/Ladrecht mine floor, formerly located in the commune of Saint Martin de Valgalgues, the History of the Cevennes coal basin, and the place left to the industrial heritage.
By its dimensions, 66 meters high for a depth of the shaft of more than 800 meters, by its original shape and its concrete construction, different from the more common headframes in metal structure, and by its situation on the edge of the national road between Alès and La Grand-Combe, this extraction tower was a remarkable building known by all, and, for the Alésien that I am, since childhood, the object of a true aesthetic fascination. It was also the place of the important trade-union struggle of the Cevennes miners in 1980/1981, which I remember because of the scale it took, and the involvement of the population of this coal basin, and which was however the announcement of the abandonment of coal mining in the Cevennes.
This architectural monument and place of memory of the coal basin was destroyed in 2002. This destruction having deeply marked me, it became a recurring subject in my artistic practice and the object of a first series of works, exhibited in La Grand-Combe in 2012.
Today, I want to rework this subject with a new technique, the first series having been made with black ink. For this new project, I have chosen to use oil paint, which by its minerality and durability, echoes on the one hand the mining geology and its long time and, on the other hand, by opposition, the short duration of the industrial history of the Cevennes and the erasure of its memory. The supports envisaged are, on the one hand, paper and, on the other hand, raw canvas, chosen for their modesty and their apparent "poverty".
It will not be a question here of representing the building as it was, but rather its current state, that is to say, of representing its absence, its ghost still present for a time in the heart of the Cévennes landscape. Thus it will be a question of drawing "from memory" in all the meanings of the term.
Beyond this single building and the history that is attached to it, it is finally the ineluctable erasure of collective memory and personal memories that this project proposes to address."
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