Arcara Arcorum • Pavillon Southway • Marseille, France • 2023
In Arcana Arcorum, Léa Porré deploys a digital iteration of the Southway Pavilion, a hallucinated and phantasmagorical vision of Southway Studio's domestic project. A temporal portal, leading to a dislocated, uchronic and vaporous dimension, is embodied through the projection, conceived as a video game cinematic. The immersive ensemble (summoning wallpapers and pseudo-baroque artefacts) draws the viewer into an imaginary world of shifting potentialities.
This landscape of sand and wandering ruins, which seem to float and move outside of any Euclidean geometry, constitutes an ethereal view not only of the pavilion, but also of all of Southway Studio's artistic incarnations. The presence of doors, windows and hourglasses reminds us of the non-linearity of time and the profoundly fictional nature of the works, notably those of Bella Hunt & Ddc, that punctuate and haunt the path created by Léa Porré.
Uchronic and phantasmagorical, these visions, both solar and disquieting, are reminiscent of architectural reveries, from the Ideal City of Urbino to the ghostly arcades of De Chirico, via the dungeons of Piranesi. A fin-de-siècle spirit inhabits these strange compositions: one finds in them a search not for historicity but for the unrealised possibilities of things that have disappeared or been dreamt of. This landscape is fundamentally eclectic and builds on codes and motifs to create a hybrid universe, close in its thinking to the revivals of the 19th century or the Egyptomania of the Empire or the 1920s.
Indeed, it is not so much the elusive photograph of an already distant moment that Léa Porré projects on the walls of the Southway Pavilion, through her video or her installation, but rather dimensional cracks that open onto the infinite offered by an imagination nourished by references and memories, which would constitute a palace of memory.
As in a procedural video game, this shifting landscape mixes repetitions and variations, giving both an impression of déjà vu and the astonishment of discovering new assemblages.
Arcana Arcorum, from glowing monoliths to sandy ruins, if haunted by vestiges and memories, remains untouched by any human presence, like a space outside the physical world, demiurgic as the Manichaeans would say. It lives only through the imaginary, constituting a vast archive of possibilities that have not happened.
• Arcana Arcorum (2022-3)