top of page
luciole1 copie.jpg

Nov. 30, 2023 - Jan. 20, 2024

Myriam Chair is pleased to present Marion Artense Gély's first solo exhibition, La Quête des lucioles (The Fireflies' Quest), from Thursday November 30, 2023 to January 20, 2024. 

Born in 1995, Marion Artense Gély lives and works in Paris. She graduated from the École nationale supérieure d'arts de Paris-Cergy (ENSAPC) in 2020, and has been in residence at POUSH Manifesto in Aubervilliers since 2021.


Painting is the medium of choice for Marion Artense Gély's artistic practice, enabling her to explore worlds a priori beyond the reach of our senses; where the reverse side of things resides, where evanescent forms appear as transitory states. The contourless motifs that emanate from her canvases create spaces of equivocal dimensions, where the infinitely large and the infinitely small write stories in which dawn and dusk seem to meet. Marion Artense Gély employs the ancient techniques of glazing and sfumato in a logic of incessant repentance (each canvas resulting from an accumulation of 50 to 120 layers of oil paint). His gesture is akin to that of an archaeologist on a quest, among the strata of ancient worlds, for a trace of what once was, however appalling or grandiose, however foreign or visceral. 

Just like her immersive installation, Moon Burn, (2020) which took her to the slopes of Mount Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii, where the native Hawaiians speak of an invisible force, Mana, which permeates the universe and from which the essence of souls is said to be made; and where astronomers the world over scan the celestial vault in search of the dark energy that is said to make up 70% of our universe, 70% of the unknown, the invisible. This was followed by Altar (2021), a photographic, aesthetic and anthropological study of Breton "standing stones" from the Neolithic period, which inspired Marion Artense Gély to create a new medium, this time sculptural, in which the repetition of gesture remains, but the figurative emerges.

Force, Energy and Emergence, the trinity at the heart of her painting, now resonates with her ceramic work. A ritual established in anticipation of the long drying times implied by her painting technique, which she now uses to apprehend a haunting Emergence: the living.

For her first solo exhibition, La Quête des Lucioles (The Fli Marion Artense Gély proposes an experience where Art and Rite unite in an attempt to resist the eradication of living things. A resistance born of intimate intuitions and echoed in the words of certain guides. Like Pier Paolo Pasolini, who, in an article published in Corriere della Sera on February 1, 1975 entitled (The Power Vacuum in Italy), evoked the metaphor of the disappearance of fireflies to speak of a civilization and culture devoured by the society of spectacle and consumerism. The Italian author sees this as nothing less than the legacy of Fascism, its most accomplished and "genocidal" mutation.

Nine months later, Pasolini was assassinated, and with him came yet another glimmer of light that we thought had been extinguished.

For Marion Artense Gély, the fireflies were not silenced in the darkness of a black night, but under the dazzling, proud lights of mankind. The presence or even the traces of the latter are absent from her work.

As if we had to withdraw from their world to regain hope. "There is every reason to be pessimistic," wrote Georges Didi-Huberman in his essay La survivance des lucioles,

"But it is all the more necessary to open one's eyes in the night, to move relentlessly, to set out again on a quest", he added. This quest could have been in vain. Yet, a few years ago, far from home, in a forest in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, Marion Artense Gély came upon a nocturnal strangeness on a moonless night; a dance of sparse, elusive sparkles whose pulsation suddenly, and perhaps for the first time, gave her the measure of a distance linking her being to the dawn of the world. None. All was not dead, then, for it was possible to feel alive again.

La Quête des Lucioles invites viewers to reclaim this state by wandering through pictorial and sculptural verticalities that immerse them in a landscape. Plant-like ceramics are transformed into totems, and suspended canvases let in light like stained-glass windows in a nave. Introspection and meditation begin. Shapes and colors suddenly appear beneath closed eyelids. Phosphorescent lights, fleeting and rhythmic, populate the space and emerge from the bodies. The relationship between inside and outside is reborn. The survival of fireflies... And the landscape has metamorphosed into a Pays-Sage (ndlr, in French landscape is translated in paysage which could be break down into two words: pays (land) and sage (wise).

In her essay Plutôt couler en beauté que flotter sans grâce, (Rather sink in beauty than float without Grace) Corinne Morel Darleux, insists that in the cultural battle currently underway, it is no longer a question of simply informing or convincing, it is a question, perhaps more than ever, of "percuter les sens en adressant aux tripes, aux veines et aux poings". (Re)seeing Les Lucioles is not a relief, but a commitment, an initiative. Meditation must be followed by ethics, and ethics by movement, however frail, intermittent and erratic it may be, like the flight of a firefly. For the encounter with a firefly is magic, a great mystery which, rather than dazzling, enlightens. And what if the fate of the Fireflies did not depend on the rediscovered link between the senses and the sensible?

Benjamin Cazeaux-Entremont

Crédit photo : Margot Montigny 

bottom of page