For the past eight years, Léa Crespi has been conducting an emphatically radical exploration of time, memory, and the representation of space. She takes big risks in the process.
Naked and shaven-headed, she journeys through her chosen Lieux (Places), using her flawless body as a decoy. We assume her proposition is to do with nudes and self-portraits. But while she demands obvious effort of her body – forcing it into twists and poses, pushing it to the very limit of erasure and disappearance – we soon realise that the real issue is the space in which the body fades away.
She employs light, a shrewd appreciation of all-merging colour, variations in materials, flaking details, deteriorated forms, objects, cables, bricks, concrete, paint and glass roofs that once had a purpose and are now abandoned, in a desolate state that is nonetheless still a memory.
These places are no longer anything but a receptacle of past time. A little like photography. This body is no longer a social body but a seductive illusion luring us into a way of seeing. The ‘abnormal’ clash between the two generates an image that establishes itself as a way of talking about today in one of yesterday’s outbuildings.
Léa Crespi, who tells us about these places, invents territories that she takes possession of and invites us into without really giving us the keys to understand them. She forces us to perceive and then to conceive our place in the space.
As her work evolves, the space becomes ampler, wider and larger than the presence of the body itself – up until the moment when this strange exterior image, steeped in desolation and abandonment, begins to evoke coldness and leaves us helpless.