BARBARA D'ANTUONO

The creatures of the mined lands

“The brutal and cynical news collided with my own concerns.

Strange, mischievous and disturbing creatures besiege my mind.

They seem determined.

I let them guide my gestures, mechanical with a repetitive, hypnotic, cadenced rhythm:

Scissors, threads, needles, seams, sutures, overlays, repairs…

They are embodied in the moment creating their story and tracing their way on the cotton weft.

I don’t know if it’s me who pulls the strings or they who lead the dance.

They tell of journeys without return, they speak of distant lands, of what unites us and what separates us, of our demons and our gods, of our sorrows, and of other possible shores.

They are my inner chaos, my reflection in the mirror, the sum of all my fears, my doubts and my hopes…

….the creatures of the mined lands.”

Barbara d’Antuono, May 2022

 

Wandering spirits
 

Penelope or Parque of modern times, Barbara d’Antuono sews by hand like others recite mantras and decides nothing in advance. She lets images arise without any particular coherence with each other, but to which she gives substance in a kind of urgency, in the form of a strip not drawn but sewn. The exhibition, like the eponymous book, covers seven years of this assiduous and patient work through nearly 30 textile works, real freeze frames made of the emotions and memories of the artist, like so many portraits of humanity. . Her meeting in Haiti with Baron Samedi and the mythology linked to voodoo, as well as the traumatic splashes of the 1986 coup d’etat and the abuses she witnessed, precipitated her into this need to say the unspeakable. Globe-trotter, she nourishes her work with her travels, particularly in Africa where she finds voodoo, and on the slopes of all the volcanoes of the world. Creator of the imagination, she thus gives birth under her fingers to a jubilant, dreamlike, ironic, carnivalesque and sometimes naive world. Impregnated with this tasty mixture, all his work condenses in a flamboyant baroque syncretism, where humor is never far away and Haiti always present.

In the book, the young Haitian author Kevin Pierre poses on these timeless images the poetic words of a contemporary commitment for the dignity of his country. Their exchange of threads and words speaks of the things of life and death, of ancient voodoo and the difficulties of today. To restore to the reader the evocative power of the author’s language, the texts are offered in a bilingual French/Haitian Creole version.

Barbara d’Antuono, a Corsican of Italian origin born in 1961, left France in the 1980s for the West Indies and Jamaica. It was in the artistic abundance of Haiti, where she remained for 5 years, that she was introduced to painting and sculpture, notably in the studio of the Haitian painter Ronald Mevs. The magic, her inner demons and the aesthetics of her work as a visual artist are revealed to her. She began her artistic journey with assemblages of wood and bone, collages, totems, fetishes… Babette El Saieh, daughter of the great collector Issa El Saieh, gave her her first chance to exhibit at the Olofson Hotel in Port au Prince. After several exhibitions in Haiti, she left the island following the 1986 coup. Back in France, she developed her own technique combining sculpture, painting, graphics, sewing, poetry and music. From 1995, she exhibited regularly in Paris, Germany…

She participated in several group exhibitions, including one in tribute to Wilfredo Lam at Unesco. Recognized by the Art Factory and Art de Rien galleries, she has exhibited several times at the Lavoir Moderne Parisien as well as at the Chapel of the College of Carpentras. In 2014, she presented a few magnetic paintings, textile paintings and fetish dolls in the collective exhibition ‘Follow my gaze’, which marked the birth certificate of L’oeil de la femme à barbe.

Kevin Pierre was born in 1993 in Port au Prince, Haiti where he currently lives. After classical studies, he trained in dramatic art – writing and acting – and in poetic writing. Actor, dancer, percussionist, he has already performed in numerous shows and festivals; he also hosts radio shows.

In 2019 he published Mak pye solèy – a first collection of poems on death, voodoo, the environment, love, sex. It was through the artist Catherine Ursin – who designed the cover of the collection – that he met The Eye of the Bearded Woman and Barbara d’Antuono. He will meet these three women for the first time in France in the winter of 2019, on the occasion of the exhibition of Haitian artists that Catherine Ursin organized in Lyon at the La Rage gallery and where she invited him to present her book.

VIDÉOS

“Wandering spirits” in Barbara d’Antuono’s workshop, 2020