Artist's book: a "cinematographic" display of previously unpublished visuals by Olivier Sévère, reflecting the phenomenon of mirage, the appearance and disappearance of images, and the presence and absence of water. A text by anthropologist Sophie Brones accompanies the narrative of these Tunisian desert landscapes.
Published following the eponymous exhibition at La Maréchalerie, Versailles, in 2023, the outcome of a residency in Tunis at the Villa Salammbô in 2019.
As a sculptor, Olivier Sévère (born 1978) questions physical notions of weight, shape and gravity, which are specific to his artistic practice. Marble, glass, bronze or porcelain make up the meaning and sometimes "meaninglessness" of his works, because the question of material remains at the forefront of his approach. He explores the skills linked to his artistic practice, its origin and its genesis. The way he looks at the materials that surround him infuses his works with notions of what is natural and what is artificial, or the perpetual metamorphosis of shapes and matter. Stone has gradually become his main focus. He reconstitutes this material in a collection of mineral-like crystalline fragments, challenges the natural order of things through the artificial multiplication of a pebble, or puts the vegetal origin of marble and the mountain range creation into question in a landscape on the Lausanne Cathedral floor. He has started using video media as a way to extend his research, introducing images and a certain form of storytelling.
"Olivier Sévère sculpts mineral matter to reveal its potential for singularity by diverting manufactured objects into stone reproductions or cutting precious stones. On the threshold of what is natural and what is artificial, his works play on the collision between physical and imaginary processes to extract the lapidary world from its supposed inertia. […] Bridging documentary realism and poetic naturalism, the artist mobilizes all the springs of what Roger Caillois calls the 'natural fantastic' to describe the mysterious writing of stones, whose biomorphic aspect magically contradicts the inanimate nature."