Not so long ago, it was Christmas. One year, I gave a terrible pair of socks to my favorite uncle. I felt so guilty. This time the feeling is the same: I’ve been postponing the writing of this article about the GREAT Ange Leccia for way too long. I love his work, he’s a fantastic dude and the meeting was so nice. So to you, my dear readers: my sincere apologies. How could I let you live without telling you about this work?
DONG DONG DONG (that’s my head on the wall). So without further introduction, let’s get wet (to quote Raymond Lam). Ange Leccia’s most famous piece is ‘Mer’ (‘Sea’), an on-going project that started in 1976. In this series, Leccia simply films the sea, on a special day, in a special place. The conditions are very specific, and have to be precise for the magic to happen.
In the different movies, it’s a complete new perspective that his offers us. It is truly a gift to humanity, as he allows us to contemplate nature in a fully new way. Remember this started before the rise of drones etc. And even now, it is a magical piece of work. And btw, he’s been looping videos long before your favorite gif animations of a cat falling from a sink. The references for this work have deep roots, my favorite being Kai.i Higashiyama and his work “Tide at Daybreak” (Asaake no Ushio), at the Japanese Imperial Palace.
But when I say ‘Let’s get wet’, it’s not only about ‘Mer’ I’m talking about. Have a look at ‘Nymphea’, with the beautiful Corse top model Laetitia Casta. It is a contemporary Ophelia but it also weirdly looks like a ghost on a TV screen.
In Leccia’s work, there are no dimensions anymore. Gravity is a thing of the past, and Hermes Trismegistus says it better than me: « As above, so below, as within so without, as the universe so the soul. » BANG! I just hermeticized you!
So unlike your original thoughts, let’s get wet is not a ‘pull my finger’ title, it is a true invitation to immerge yourself in a work that is beautiful, meaningful, of a precise and complex simplicity and also one of the rare artworks that survives reproduction on a computer screen.
Ange Leccia helps us understand what visual art is truly all about: getting us to feel and understand something that is beyond the word. After intensive use and abuse that word concept has become flat and unusable, with Leccia’s work, you won’t really need it.
Taking its root in a renewed vision of nature, the artworks somehow recreate those moments of wonderment that spontaneously arise from time to time. The artist’s process seems so clear that it’s transparency becomes a surface on which we gaze at our reflection. Less has the intelligence and humility to let us do our job as viewers while gently pointing us in a direction.
We’ve seen seas and girls in water and storms, lights or explosions, but somehow we’ve never seen it quite like that.
In his work, time has little to no meaning. The only time that matters are the seconds of the loop you’re watching. Was it shot in 1976 or in 2016, it doesn’t matter. The video and / or audio loop is a mantra programmed to put you in a trance like a bald monk.
What is also great is that this feeling or understanding withholds the ravaging power of the reproductibility of the artwork masterfully. Of course, Leccia is a master, so it’s sort of self understanding. But you know it like I do, it doesn’t happen every bloody day. Unfortunatly, I’m offering you only a glimpse into this great body of work. Hoping it will sparkle your curiosity, this will be the end of this article. I strongly encourage you to surf the Internet and have a look for yourself.