Karina Bisch - Les Figures et Les Formes

Opening with the support of Fondation d?entreprise Ricard.


As an essential theatrical character from the Comedia dell?Arte, Arlecchino appeared in the 16 th century in the Italy of the Renaissance. His diamond-shaped costume brings to mind the different aspects of his personality, as well as his multiple abilities and domains of intervention. Gathering these coloured pieces together also indicates the possibility of a global approach, representing the Harlequin as a versatile character without complexes.

Karina Bisch transforms this figure by feminising it, then embodying it and producing a metaphorical avatar of the position of a multidisciplinary artist.

In this way, Karina Bisch?s work can be perceived as a total theatre, where the female Harlequin (or Arlequine in French) is at once the protagonist and the pretext. This fictional character is as much the support for the staging of oneself and one?s loved ones, as the pretext to explore the theatrical context of the situation: scenery, costumes, the public, the ?moments?, and even the brochures.
Paintings, performances, publications, etc. therefore live together, recalling the modern situations of the beginning of the 20 th century, when the Baroness of Oettingen (hiding behind the artist?s name François Angiboult) directed the Breasts of Tiresias by Apollinaire or when Sonia Delaunay developed orphism to try to integrate painting in a global situation. These avant-gardes and their own functional or playful projects looked to integrate the artist in the industrial world and remove him/her from ageing bourgeois academicism. In this way, this enabled the artists to extend their interventions to the social realm and to build a transversal and multidisciplinary position. The idea is not to comment and to represent, but to explore different possible futures, where art would have a central and seamless role, evacuating any hierarchy between practices.

All of Karina Bisch?s approaches could therefore be dissociated, evolving in an autonomous manner. However, this exhibition Les Figures et les Formes (Figures and Forms) looks at this world through the ?painted? aspect of Arlequine as it is fundamental. It is not just a question of the fragment of a practice but of an obvious entry into this wider stage (the titles of these artworks are ?Les Tableaux Vivants? (Living Canvases), are they not?). Karina Bisch positions herself mainly as a painter, integrating all of the contingencies of the workshop, craftsmanship, time, materials, ?works?. These paintings play with the space of the canvas and the  workshop whilst exploring History of art. Many quotations, reuses of motifs,  compositions, testify to this borrowing from the historical avant-gardes in the manner of the Harlequin: grave and mischievous. These ?painted spaces? are sometimes built like systems. They can be closed in the idea of an organised composition (and  sometimes even framed) or on the contrary, using motif and their repetitions, extend themselves into a series of canvases, escaping from the chassis to integrate everyday life (?Painting for Living?, a series of scarves, dresses and bracelets).

?Synthesis may be the way to make painting visible? (Karina Bisch, 2018). This is why, for this first exhibition at the galerie Thomas Bernard - Cortex Athletico, the 7 artworks that are displayed are autonomous canvases, combinations or samples, enabling us to approach Karina Bisch?s work under the angle of painting. This set uses the modern invariants (the grid, abstraction, colour, composition) whilst transforming them, integrating slants, drips, matter, embroidery. An adult-size doll stitched up in patchwork becomes a character from a painting. Sophie Taueber found that the Kachina dolls from Hopi ceremonies had an important role in her work. They were supposed to have the qualities and flaws of human beings. In this way, ALPHA is at once an actor and a spectator of this theatrical exhibition, indirectly reactivating the living paintings.