Bernard Calet

Elévation II, 1994

In 1993, Bernard Calet produced an initial work titled Elévation, a sculpture which Paul Ardenne described as follows: “The work is on the ground, a set of twenty-four cardboard boxes, each one with a sheet of glass on top, treated with silver stain. With each box, on closer inspection, you see that it represents the perimeter of a house, a wall with apertures. But a strange house, if you reckon that the tiling meant to cover the floor has taken the place of the ceiling”. The standardization of the parts, all equal and perfectly aligned, conjures up the alignments of houses in residential areas, as well as the exploded view of a building. All the “layers” of apartments are thus presented horizontally instead of being overlaid, with an awkward break at the floor level of the neighbour above, and not of the ceiling. Elévation II represents a kind of variation on this first work: the large boxes have been replaced by small elements, also with holes in them, which are grouped in threes, fours and fives beneath each silkscreened sheet of glass. Their varied arrangement calls to mind a building game based on balance (getting the sheet to stay where it is) and a possible narrative involving the people living in it. On a small scale, these identical little constructions actually refer to the idea of a city. The sheets of transparent glass thus evoke both a roof and a tile floor. The virtual shift of the floor (tiling) to the ceiling (roof) sheds light on the ambiguity of the title Elévation, because the ratios of scale between the elements do not comply with the same logic. The squares of glass, oversized in relation to the reduced volume of the boxes, are on a 1:1 scale, if the reading defines them as floor. Calet thus upsets our perception of the architectured space by distorting the ratios of scale between the dwelling/roof/floor elements.

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