"More poem than novel, more music than narrative, made up of fragmented images and free-associations, of allusions and free-dives, the art of Karine Rougier is a vital breath which resonates with our tribal past and beats out time for the dance of the living."
-- AMÉLIE ADAMO
Catinca Tabacaru Gallery (250 Broome St., NYC) presents Wild waves in our hands, a solo exhibition by Maltese-French artist Karine Rougier, on view June 1 - June 30, 2018.
Rougier is fascinated by hands; human hands, but not always so. These carry emotion; they are the first place for contact, and for drawing. A hand is an independent character: acting, holding, embracing bodies. Sharing wild feelings. Feeling the heartbeat. Miniature paintings and expressionist grigris abound in minute details make up this first solo show with the Gallery, which pushes us deep into emotional sensuality and mystical experience.
The story begins with the artist’s self-portrait lying naked on her studio floor; a mask covering her face, eyes closed, long-nosed, third eye wide open. Oversized gloves shaped like hands run half-way up the arms of this 3-inch-long body. Surrounded by drawings, and rolling dice, a hand erotically rests upon her thigh. Can you feel my heartbeat, the piece asks, both in title - borrowed from Nick Cave’s song and Rougier’s experience with it live - and text as if embroidered upon the canvas.
Women are Rougier’s muses; poetry her nourishment: an ode to Ingeborg Bachmann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Les Métamorphoses d'Ovide. The power and strength in a gathering of women: the marches of this past year leaving permanent tracks around the globe; the march of Rougier and her friends descending upon New York, fire in their hearts, girls, girls, girls. That ferocious energy captured and translated into these works. The painting that lends its title to the show, Wild waves in our hands, depicts three women walking, eyes in the back of their heads, one holding an impaled human heart on a stick. Borrowed from Edward Curtis’s photograph, the “original” image depicted three Native American men. But, Rougier transformed them, much like the energy that gives you, the viewer, a mask to transform yourself.
Karine Rougier (b. 1982, Malta) grew up on the Ivory Coast where magic rituals, bewitched bodies, and wild animals fascinated her from an early age. Armed with an unwavering desire to believe in the world's wonders, she travels the earth in search of inspiration; inspiration not seldom found on her dives beneath the Mediterranean Sea. Her practice revolves around drawing, oil painting on wood, and sculpture. After studying at Geneva’s School of Decorative Arts and Aix-en- Provence Art School, she was awarded the Mecenes du Sud prize in 2010, and the Art Collector prize in 2013. She has made part of many exhibitions in France and numerous others abroad in Buenos Aires, Rome, Leipzig, and the like. In 2017, she represented Malta at the 57th Venice Biennale. Rougier lives and works in Marseille.