Some Parisian neighborhoods, whose facades have been transformed by the necessity of time and economy, reveal the memory and history of a past, as if nostalgia had settled in their skin of cement and glass . The buildings here, in the 11th district, are related to this time where the knowledge of trades created the life and the atmosphere, dear to certain poets and writers, who sang these people, their know-how and their savoir-vivre. We are in the Faubourg Saint Antoine, near the hospital, the furniture district, the cabinet maker, the upholsterer.
It is here, 6 Cité de l’Ameublement, next to Faidherbe Chaligny, that the gallery of Colette Colla, “L’Univer”, is installed. Space simple, spacious, facing, upholsterers and saddlers in this street diverted perpendicular to the street of Montreuil. A place where the passer-by will venture, attracted by its transparency which, from the sidewalk, invites us to cross the door without hesitation. An open and welcoming place, whose space is measured in the astonishment of its bare architecture surrounding a patio where the public passionately discusses the works that appear in the gallery. A space where controlled light envelops the viewer. Because everything is “almost” natural, until the desired lighting of the paintings, which stand out as unique objects, suspended, floating in space and time, and are part of a mastered and subtly constructed scenography. Everything is a pretext for staging. The free game of the hostess takes us, without words, with charm and intelligence, discretion and finesse in the transparency of the paintings. She makes them play, live and vibrate in this light that she transforms and adapts to better highlight them, so that a passion escapes from our eyes captivated.
“L’Univer” is a space of freedom, where the works settle in harmony with the place. The painting shown there responds to the choices of a passion dictated by commitment and relationship. All the exhibited artists display their footprints and their worldviews. No school is necessary, no particular technique, no theme guides the choices of Colette Colla. It is above all the relationship that must be established between the painter and the public that prevails enthusiastic, passionate and generous choices of “L’Univer”. It is undoubtedly still the search for a painting that is fundamentally part of the movement of contemporary art, where behind the signs and the canvas is revealed a vision and a thought of a committed art.
Painters, sometimes sculptors and photographers are here at home. Some works remain attached, as memory of the exhibition which was devoted to them, in the second part of this space of which sections of walls are reserved to them. Because there is a necessary fidelity not to fix in the ephemeral the work of the artist but to confront him to put in relation, to project it.
It’s hard to escape from this place without taking the time to chat at the gallery bar or stroll around the patio with exotic plants marked by lush tree ferns.
“L’Univer” is a space of free thought to see and see, that of an essential freedom. A unique space in Paris.
Le May 3, 2009