Interview with Mathias Bensimon
Mathias Bensimon’s work, a fresco that unfolds outside the Villa Heleneum, was born out of a contemplative relationship between the artist and the lake. Even before starting his painting, the artist has focused on a precise study of light and has taken the time to experience the sensations that the landscape gave to him. “The illusion of an endless whole, of a wave without horizon and shore,” Monet said of the Nympheas on display at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. It is this feeling of infinity that Mathias Bensimon was looking for, drawing a wave that echoes into the belly of Villa Heleneum. He has chosen a portion of the lake visually enlarging it, as if to probe both the surface and the depth. But his confrontation with the lake does not give rise to a figurative painting. If the young French artist does a whole lot of work on the light on the surface of the water that reveals the different shades of blue and transcribes the changing side of the matter, he also creates a sensitive space, like our bodies. This whole fresco informs the idea of penetrating the landscape and letting it penetrate us. The possibility of creating a cave, a passage to the interior of the villa, or a small chapel to be submerged from the inside/outside, by this rare possibility to face the painting that represents the real. A place where we suddenly find ourselves caught in the specularity between the lake as it is and the lake as we feel it. Between a landscape that can be seen—and it is true that light, clouds, and mist play an essential role in the perception of the painting—and a landscape that pre-exists in us. This installation opens the exhibition outside the Villa and solicits a memory whose levels have been sedimented like geological layers, seeking the genius loci of the site, revealing the very essence of the tenderness between the house and its lake.