For his second show at Galerie Georges-Philippe et Nathalie Vallois, Boris Achour is presenting Celui dans la grotte, a new episode of the Conatus series. Since 2006, this series has comprised exhibitions, films and website pages, all generated by the Spinozan principle of the conatus, or motive force to exist, which in Achour’s work acts as a creative principle – in other words, as a generator of desires which may be directed at images, concepts, minerals, plants or human beings.
Celui dans la grotte features the recurring figures from the Conatus series – at once functional and ornamental sculptures and masked humans who could be taken for sculptures, and whose plastic qualities and actions vary in accordance with their setting.
The walls are covered with Stratas, bright-coloured compositions using pasted papers inspired by geological cross section drawings.
The Stalactites are inflatable, faceted geometrical sculptures covered in the same colours as the Stratas. They hang down from the ceiling.
On the floor are the Firecamps, pyramidal structures made of standard neon tubes, which light up the exhibition.
Made during a residency at Arques in summer 2008, the film Conatus : AMIDSUMMERNIGHTSDREAM, combines and seems to anticipate some of the elements in the exhibition. It shows a community of masked figures engaging in activities that combine eroticism, play and dream.
Combining, as they usually do with this artist, a mixture of treatments and materials, the works, whose physical nature is perfectly obvious, come together to form a scene with mineral, erotic and theatrical overtones.