30 January - 22 February 2019

« …The series of sculptures Comme une étrange géologie, unevenly shaped sculptures, as if dented, resemble asteroids in shape and large stones in size, like those that are rolled along by the most powerful Alpine torrents. Made with welded and polished stainless steel, these misshapen spheres are like artefacts evoking the mineral world as well as, contradictorily, the industrial world. The polished stainless steel they are made with deflects light and reflects their surroundings, unexpectedly capturing images, like an anamorphic mirror. Another surprising aspect, if the sculptures are lifted, is their weight: they at first appear to be heavy but reveal themselves to be amazingly light. Made using light plates of stainless steel, 2 to 3 mm thick, they are hollow, and can be lifted from the ground and tossed with ease…  « In one of his working notes, the artist reveals some of his approach, or maniera, in relation to Comme une étrange géologie. He defines his creation as «making direct reference to an improbable geological world and to the organic sculpture of the 1960s, while contradicting it with welds that remain visible, and dented, non-continuous shapes». The aspect of improbability mentioned, which is physical and translated in the plastic form of the work, is as mathematical (the shapes escape Euclidean geometry) as it is intellectual (fig.5). The artist seems to suggest that art, by definition, is the place for approaches that cannot always be rationalised… « The making of the polished stainless steel blocks of Comme une étrange géologie, it can be hypothesised, leads the artist towards an unusual human age, after the stone, bronze and iron ages - the obtuse age of a poetically reviewed and corrected industrial material. Here, a prosaic, ordinary substance is raised through the intervention of art to the level of a major artefact. This substance then becomes the symbolic equivalent of the introduction into a «distant», other world, related to reality but determining and revealing itself as something other. Whether it is a drawing, a painting or a sculpture, Pascal Berthoud’s works are more than their own form. They are signs of belonging to a universe that is parallel to ours - a parallel world that is literally «next to the world». »

Paul Ardenne