A Perfect Kind of Love by Joël Andrianomearisoa at Goodman Gallery Projects

JOHANNESBURG – Madagascan-born and Paris-based artist Joël Andrianomearisoa will present his first solo exhibition in South Africa – A Perfect Kind of Love – at the Goodman Gallery Project Space at Arts on Main. The Goodman Gallery will also present a performance by Andrianomearisoa at SA Fashion Week’s Winter 2011 Designer Collections show, which takes place at Arts on Main in October.

A versatile artist of consummate talent, Andrianomearisoa qualified as an architect at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris. Initially drawn to the multifaceted nature of architectural practice, Andrianomearisoa became increasingly engaged with other modes of cultural production, pursuing a career as a couturier before shifting his practice to the visual arts. He consequentially works across various media, avoiding categorisation and incorporating performance, video and large-scale installation in his work.

A Perfect Kind of Love continues Andrianomearisoa’s ongoing exploration of eroticism and desire, his negotiations with a love of a darker kind. Love is rarely perfect, and perfection is not always lovable, and Andrianomearisoa’s engagement with this contradiction is what forms the raw material of the show. How does one speak of love, or understand love in the age of reason, or amidst the cynicism of this current moment? Romantic love is never just a private declaration or an emotional contract between two individuals – it is a political battlefield. Sexual bodies engaging in acts of love are at times also sites of violence, disease, moral judgment and commodification, and are subjected to legislation, marginalisation and criminalisation.

It is from within this context that Andrianomearisoa longingly declares Darling you can make my dreams come true if you say you love me too, an installation consisting of 150 small wall-mounted mirrors – each a reflective dream, a yearning for the impossible, or a plea for this world to fade and for something more beautiful and utopian to emerge. Veering from expressions of primal, animalistic lust to whispers of restraint and bondage, Andrianomearisoa’s installations chart an intense emotional journey that is both autobiographically specific and universally symbolic. The work speaks of secret, private intimacies while acknowledging other, more open and public expressions of love and sexuality.

For Andrianomearisoa the body itself is a central aspect to a negotiation of space and ideas within his work. The body becomes fundamental to the artist’s deconstructivist tendencies, alluding to volatility and contained chaos. It is through performance that Andrianomearisoa expresses this aspect of his creative intent most poignantly. He will in this light be presenting Cut Cute at SA Fashion Week, a performance involving several participants who will be subject to a layering of various textiles and materials. The final “cut” of their outfits will be result of a dramatic creative process that has been openly disclosed to the audience, offering what art critic Virginie Andriamirado refers to as “infinite propositions”. “To build or deconstruct, to dress or undress, to fill or empty, to wrinkle or fold, to light up or turn off-Andrianomearisoa is situated between these opposing forces that, according to him, combine rather than conflict. In these paradoxical connections, the works offer infinite propostions,” states Andriamirado.

Andrianomearisoa was born in Antananarivo, Madagascar, in 1977. He left Madagascar for Paris when he was 19 in order to further his studies at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture. He has participated in a number of major group exhibitions, including Africa Remix, curated by Simon Njami, and the 2010 Sinopale Biennale in Sinop, Turkey. His work most recently featured on In Context, hosted by Goodman Gallery at Arts on Main and other venues in Johannesburg. He lives and works between Antananarivo and Paris.