Michel Gillabert
Michel Gillabert

"Transis" exhibition, Michel Gillabert

From 23 Mar To 30 Sep 2024
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Discover the art of realistic representation of the deceased through an artistic and historical approach.

In funerary art, transis are the realistic representation of the deceased, most often in a state of putrefaction. These intricately carved vegetal transis represent decomposing wood, revealing on its surface the forms of renewed life. As if echoing the aura of the chevalier de la Sarraz's transi, these two marbles, whose format is reminiscent of tombstones, sketch out a representation of death as landscape or biotope.

These two sculptures were originally created for the "Open End" exhibition in 2022-23, which took place in Geneva's Cimetière des rois. Two white marble tombstones, in keeping with funerary aesthetics, depicting plant transis.

While the transi is historically a representation of the putrefying human body, here the sculpture distances itself from its subject, displacing the process of decomposition of the flesh into the natural landscape. The sculpture thus becomes necromass, an ambiguous territory where life emerges from the folds of dead matter. This biotope in the process of renewal provides an opportunity to question the ebb and flow and tidal effects of life.

The technical and aesthetic approach to this project is evident less in its generality than in its details. The cutting of the stone is perceived as the accumulation of small flowers, swarming animals, creeping lichen or mosses trying to give a sense rather than a sight. The cavities in the decaying wood seem to shelter microscopic life forms that are almost indiscernible. Nevertheless, the overall view respects the traditional codes of funerary art, both in its format, reminiscent of a tombstone, and in its appearance as a flower-filled monument.

Here, the sacralizing character of white marble is intended to elevate a material considered lowly or even repulsive to a more noble status. Traditionally used to celebrate the human race and its institutions, marble provides an opportunity to question the presumed hierarchies of the natural world through a reversal of values. Stone, which is usually used to idealize the figure, is used in this sculpture in a roundabout way to reveal its immanence.

Today, we know that a high level of biodiversity can only be guaranteed by the presence of decaying areas such as piles of dead wood, marshes or, more simply, soils. This sculpture seeks to contemplate death as a metabolic phenomenon, an ecological process, bearing in mind that human bodies are part of this biotope. Like the tomb of the chevalier de la Sarraz, whose vegetal echo it echoes, ces transis attempts to lift a veil over a dimension of our existence that seems to contain all our torments.
Tuesday: 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday: 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday: 10:00 - 17:00
Friday: 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00

Image générale Château La Sarraz

Rue du Château 1
1315 La Sarraz

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