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Sylvie Dubal : Apocalypse and hope at the CAC in Perpignan

Sylvie Dubal Centre d'art contemporain de Perpignan

The City of Perpignan’s Department of Culture is pleased to announce a fascinating new exhibition of works by Swiss artist Sylvie Dubal. Known for her distinctive style of anticipatory painting, Dubal offers a profound reflection on the human condition and the threats of modernity through a series of works that will leave no one indifferent.

An apocalyptic universe

Contrary to the artistic preoccupations of the 1960s and 1970s, Sylvie Dubal develops a figurative and apocalyptic universe in which man succumbs to the onslaught of a modernity dominated by machines. The works on show depict an isolated, robotic and battered humanity, desperately struggling against the contradictions of its own making. Sylvie Dubal seems to anticipate the rise of a new cybernetic order that is liberticidal, martial and destructive, reminiscent of the great disillusionments of the post-World War I era.

Act one : A lost Eden

The exhibition opens with a series of works evoking the Garden of Eden, a mythical land where man lived in harmony with the environment. This idealised Quattrocento, symbol of a humanist golden age, is presented in stark contrast to dark visions of the future. The artist’s virtuoso paintings capture the beauty and fragility of this bygone era, while casting an ominous shadow.

The bird, symbol of freedom and perfection, is a recurring motif in these works. Majestic and free at first, it gradually becomes trapped in an oppressive frame, foreshadowing the cage that will rob it of its nobility. This powerful metaphor illustrates the human tendency to capture and denature that which is beautiful and sacred.

Act two : Modern dystopia

The transition to the second act of the exhibition is brutal. Sylvie Dubal takes us into an oppressive, dehumanised future, where factory men and apocalyptic cyborgs struggle in austere, rational environments. The works in this section depict a humanity reduced to its utilitarian function, dehumanised and controlled by menacing militias. The twisted and mutilated bodies of the characters are a powerful denunciation of the blind pursuit of achievement and progress.

This modern dystopia, in which individuals are reduced to cogs in an implacable machine, raises a fundamental question: is mankind the victim or the agent of its own destiny? The artist’s unflinching view of the human condition is both a warning and a reflection on our future.

A return to our roots and hope

In spite of these dark visions, Sylvie doesn’t completely lose hope. By turning to the purified beauty of an idealised Quattrocento and Japanese spirituality, she proposes a possible reconciliation with our humanity. These cultural and artistic references offer a way to escape and contemplate, a way to ward off fears of the end of the world.

An exhibition not to be missed

Sylvie Dubal’s exhibition in Perpignan is a bold and thoughtful exploration of the paradoxes of modernity and human aspirations. With her unique eye and masterful technique, Dubal offers an incisive critique and a message of hope. This exhibition is a must-see for art lovers and all those who wonder about the future of humanity.