Ella & Pitr : "Comme des fourmis"
January 20 - February 17, 2018
Comme des fourmis is a retrospective exhibition which will unveil a body of works created since 2011. Visitors will hence discover evolutions of Ella & Pitr's work ; those evolutions whom also represent the link between the artists and their gallery...
Ella & Pitr’s work is very touching because of its extreme sincerity, and the poetical dimension that it exudes. Whether they are very complex, technically detailed works or made up of simpler lines, they convey the emotions that Ella & Pitr felt when they created them. That is also secret of their appeal. Very often, they plunge themselves, their family and friends into their works. And when the men, women and children do not come from their circles, they come from the unbridled imagination of their children.
A gallery chooses to start a collaboration with an artist for several reasons. Firstly, because it likes their work. Secondly, because both parties want to move in the same direction; they obviously need to click together. However, time, the walls and the words of the gallery owner, with respect to its collectors and the art lovers who visit the gallery, are limited. It is an investment to exhibit and defend the works of an artist. The artist’s work must make the gallery owner dream, because we must not forget that the aim of any presentation of paintings or exhibitions is to get collectors to buy the artist’s works. The gallery is only one stage in the life of the painting. The final destination is the collector’s wall.
In our relationship with Ella & Pitr and their universe, this issue is often raised and continues to be raised. Over and above our sincere and enriching discussions, over and above the friendship and our attachment to their work and their universe, how can we strike a balance between the aspiration to reveal a truth that can sometimes be harsh and a commercial imperative?
Ella & Pitr are narrators of many scenes. Lonely people, sleeping peacefully, sometimes we think for ever, warrior subjects (who boldly take on life?), elderly people, angry, isolated people, people in love, dancing or stoic, or many more. In the work of Ella & Pitr it is often the actual dimension of a situation, which opens up memories of the past, the radical dimension of the situation also, which creates the attachment to a work of art, the poetry that is often evoked whenever we describe their work. Paradoxically, it is also this real dimension that can shut the door of dreams. The real is true. Truth is sometimes hard to hear. To read it on a painting naturally creates an emotion, and in this respect, Ella & Pitr’s work wins each time. The emotion is created—regardless of which emotion: agreement, admiration, incomprehension or sometimes even rejection. However, the collector may wonder: am I going to live with this emotion day in and day out?
Obviously, there’s no answer to this question. There are even as many answers as there are emotions. From a commercial view point—let’s go back to that—the fact that this question is asked sometimes creates a stumbling block. Which brings us back to the heart of the relationship between the gallery owner and the artist. Year after year, collectors follow, know and embrace the gallery owner’s tastes. Logically, gallery owners passionately defends the works that they love and even, more than that, the ones that would love to buy and show in their homes. To feel an emotion, love an art piece and buy it to live with it for many years are quite different things. This is the famous balance that we seek to strike with our artists and in particular with Ella & Pitr.
Franck Le Feuvre.
Text written for the book: "Ella & Pitr : Comme des fourmis", published by Alternatives (Gallimard editions), in December 2017.