Carte blanche commissioned by Atout France
Maia Flore traveled the French coast from the easternmost point all the way to the West. Her journey-performance led her to 26 places which all answer, in their own specific way, the question of how to get away. We look at the sea with emotion because it’s boundless. The artist similarly twists, changes or heightens reality – maybe a way of saying that she will not conform to its tepid rules? She leaps mightily, climbs boulders, let’s go, rushes down dunes, dives into creeks, rises before dawn and goes to bed long after sunset.
Her body is her primary tool as she strives to tame the natural elements: either she disappears into the scenery, letting its colors shine, or she bravely steps forward, to earn as it were her place on the picture. Far from the studios and their predictable light and even ground, the coast is a show in and of itself: mountains edge into the sea, black sand contrasts with white beaches, surfers head into the ocean in a glorious haze of mist, winds rage on, and waves lap at cities. In order to freeze all of it into a frame, you first have to surrender to its rhythms. The sun rises later each day, tides come in and out, sand creeps into the smallest folds, and the landscapes one encounters at the end of the journey have nothing in common with those at the start.
Thanks to deftly balanced recklessness and restraint, Maia Flore knows how to turn a beach into a bed, and the sun into a partner. Her way of considering the French coastline is quite compelling – as though she were humming “everything is possible” in your ear.