Transformant, a work by Cecilia Granara. From 18 june 2021 to 31 march 2022.
Following a call for proposals to the POUSH artists for the creation of a work on the façade of the building that hosts them, Manifesto, the operator of the location, and Sogelyn Dixence, its owner, chose Cecilia Granara’s project.
Intended to reflect POUSH’s energy and the involvement of its artists on the territory of Clichy, Cecilia Granara’s work will send a poetic and ethereal message, demonstrating the artists’ continuous vitality in this time of crisis. Conceived from the interior of the building, the work will be visible on the southern glass façade, on the side of the Boulevard Périphérique.
With her work Transformant (“Transforming”), Cecilia Granara will form butterfly shapes on the inner surface of each window, on several unoccupied floors. An emblem of metamorphosis and the impermanence, the butterfly represents the artists’ activity and evolution, but also the creative energy of this temporary occupation in the heart of Greater Paris. The motif of the butterfly will be dotted with eyes, revealing the work of the artists, who in their workshops, transform the way we perceive the world.
Interview with Cecilia Granara by Elisa Rigoulet
E.R.: The motif of the butterfly is found very often in your work. What does it mean to you?
C. G.: At first, I didn’t really know what the butterfly meant to me. I was driven by a desire to draw and paint this animal. Little by little, I understood that, to me, it was related to intense emotions, to fragility and, in a more allegorical manner, to the idea of transformation.
All of this is related to the activity of artists, in some way. Artists are sensitive beings who see many things. This is why I wanted to punctuate these lines with eyes. The butterfly has two bodies in one life: I think artists operate in the same way, they transform immaterial things (ideas) into objects that exist physically in the world.
E.R.: How do you go from the work of painting to a work on a much larger scale, in the field of monumental sculpture and installation?
C. G.: Through drawing. I used photos of the façade of POUSH, on which I drew patterns inspired by the painting. When the project was selected, I reached out to two artists, Amin and Ridwan Bidar, who work with LED lights, and we developed a prototype together. So, in a second stage, we move from painting to a work of this scale through collaboration with other artists.
E.R.: This entails a radically different working dynamic. You move away from the absolute control of painting; for the first time, you delegate part of the process to create a collaborative work. Tell us about it.
C. G.: Collaboration was essential to the prototype of the installation. Working with so many new materials, discovering their limits and their relation to architecture and space was extremely stimulating. Like in painting, I let intuition guide me. I trusted the artists I was working with to give shape to the sculptures.
E.R.: Ultimately, what does this piece say of the space whose façade it covers, of the energy of this place and of the artists that occupy it? What do you want people to perceive?
C. G.: What matters is the link between the drawing, simple and direct, and the sculpture that results from it. In the large painting that was the inspiration for the work on the façade, butterflies act as talismans, they release energy and provide energy. It was important to me to repeat them, like a wall of ex-votos.
In the painting, each butterfly is drawn inside an individual rectangle. Each rectangle is itself contained inside a larger rectangle: the canvas itself. Observing the architecture of the façade, the transposition of this composition came very naturally, because each window suggests an individual space which contains the world of an artist. The act of accentuating each space through repetition reveals a collective, a plurality of universes which creates a total universe. The individual and their relationship to their community are simultaneously suggested.