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29 DECEMBER 2023 - 31 JANUARY 2024

'Corrosion' is a natural process of material erosion, usually of metal, when in contact with oxygen or water over time. One type of corrosion manifestation is the formation of rust - this reddish-brown and menacing substance that we feel obliged to clean and remove. The artist Philippe Boulakia actually chooses to put the rust in the center of the stage and uses it in his portrait paintings of unknown figures and in his sculptures of various animals and human-like creatures. Boulakia's approach is reminiscent of that of traditional Japanese culture (which in Japanese is known as 'sabi') which sees the beauty in imperfection, acknowledging change process and transcendence.


The works presented in the exhibition raise reflection about the concepts of time and erosion, through the symbolic use of rust as a recurring and characteristic motif. It seems that the rust symbolizes not only material erosion but also a perceptual erosion of understandings, ideas and aspirations, as part of an identity crisis.  Corrosion expresses "what happens to us on the way", it inevitably changes and shapes us and our environment.


In order to paint and sculpt with rust Boulakia developed a metallic emulsion with a texture reminiscent of water colors. In his painting process, Boulakia first sketches the image on wood and paper surfaces before painting with a brush and letting the rust emulsion spreading into the image and leaving progressively its mark. In his approach, corrosion can be apprehended not only as a result of erosion, but also as a process of accumulation of new material on top of older material, similar to a creation process in layers.


The images and technique embodied in each work create the feeling that it is not an art exhibition in a gallery but rather a museum collection of ritual objects charged with history, presence and nostalgy. The artworks are like a microcosm of an imagined culture, artifacts of a society that never was. In this context, the artist become similar to a collector, an explorer or an archaeologist, and the exhibition is comparable to his private room of wonders where visitors are invited to take on the role of researchers and wander through the various exhibits, between the material and the imaginary.



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