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The Flight of the Butterfly or the Myth of Icarus Revisited

Nicène Kossentini

Tunis : 26 September 2014 - 28 December 2014

Press Release

“And for me too, I who cherish life, the butterflies… and anything resembling them among people, seems to know happiness.”

It is in such terms that Nietzsche, a great lover of all lightness and free psyche, describes the butterfly happiness: life. And it is the dream of flying and crossing an entire space, knowing the risk of falling and dying, the very idea that Nicene Kossentini explores throughout her exhibition… The Flight of the Butterfly or the Myth of Icarus Revisited.

For this so fragile white butterfly is that of an encounter. It enters the loggia, settles down, flapping its wings here and there. She gazes at it for long. Then one day the butterfly disappears and she finds it motionless on the ground, dead… the wings folded down. Sign of thought and image, the butterfly becomes an art allegory or in Walter Benjamin’s words a frozen shake. And as well as Baudelaire made out of beauty an allegory of a stone dream, one could say that all this poetry of ephemera is created with various mediums such as photography, film and sculpture. Making of beauty a dream of light; a new Icarus.

Therefore reinterpreting the flight of the butterfly is finding the legendary strength and what underlies: a story of gaze. Look up, look from above or across; three kinds of looks that can be called Icarian eye are running throughout Nicene Kossentini’s body of work. Unlike the Renaissance perspective eye centred on the horizon, the Icarian eye is caught on infinity or rather on a quivering and elusive horizon. Looking for a floating horizon or perhaps having a lack of it, Nicene Kossentini makes of the sky a matrix between reality and fiction.

Christine Buci-Glucksmann