The work of art is a fertile land for those seeking refuge for their intimacy. Obviously for the artist, who is often asked to put her or his guts, but also for the viewer who can find in it an asylum for her or his own feelings. Poetry blossoms out when memories and emotions that were thought to be personal come to bloom in the work of another. It is this meeting that Clara Rivault initiates in each of her artworks. For though it may seem introspective, her work is, in fact, a universal lexicon, driving collective narratives that pile up into poems. Her pieces are based on personal memories, but also on testimonies from relatives or people who become friends.

Here, for example, you have to listen, discover this hesitant voice, which gropes in a vaporous spirit where memories are hidden behind Alzheimer's disease. This sound piece - The Hand - is the story of an elderly woman who discovered, when she was a child, her mother's hand, inert, under the ruins of her house. This hand, the artist allows us to imagine it, to make it conscious so that it becomes in us a mental sculpture. What a shock to discover, printed on the ground, the photo of these very specific ruins, a photo that needs to be tread to continue our path. This rubble has been sown in our mind by this voice and resonates here gravely with those that our contemporary conflicts generate. The performance Mastaba, if it addresses a much less heavy subject, nevertheless follows rigorously this same expansive logic. Clara Rivault uses sand here as an archetype of temporal ephemerality and as a symbol of childhood: it is both the powder that slides in the curves of the hourglass, but also the effigy of those afternoons spent erecting vain constructions under a blazing sun. The downfall lies in the way Clara Rivault twists time. By presenting in this pile of sand a gaping hole, obviously vaginal, she creates a disturbing tension, precipitating the carelessness towards its fall. The ambiguity then becomes tangible, it captures the viewer.

And so it is in each of her pieces. Whether performances, videos, sculptures or photographs, all make the opposites coincide and create androgyny. The Chant des soupirs (Song of Sighs) video in which we guess the masculine and damaged hand of a glass blower that delicately caresses the crystal is bewitching: the delicate glass sighs under the firmness of a wrecked hand, it is a forbidden coupling impossible to disown. La promesse d’une promesse (The promise of a promise), two bronze fingers that tie and untie in the palm of our hand is also a captivating waltz that the viewer leads this time at her or his leisure. The two members, symbols of an agreement that can be broken at any time, are cold, inert and heavy. The place of their split is smooth and polished, to the point that the material carries away the reflection of our face as the stream tore his features from Narcissus. It is necessary to look, to touch to see oneself better, to see all those promises that life has wanted to be null and void. And again, it's vertigo. In each of her pieces, Clara Rivault actually enters the dichotomous space of the elements to insert violent poetry to which it is difficult to resist.

— Camille Bardin


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