Michèle RIBEIRO (°1953, France) makes paintings and sculptures. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, RIBEIRO makes works that can be seen as self-portraits. Sometimes they appear idiosyncratic and quirky, at other times, they seem typical by-products of American superabundance and marketing.
Her work urge us to renegotiate painting as being part of a reactive or – at times – autistic medium, commenting on oppressing themes in our contemporary society. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, she absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation.
Her works appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. With Plato’s allegory of the cave in mind, she wants to amplify the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.
Her collected, altered and own works are being confronted as aesthetically resilient, thematically interrelated material for memory and projection. The possible seems true and the truth exists, but it has many faces, as Hanna Arendt cites from Franz Kafka. By rejecting an objective truth and global cultural narratives, she often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.
Her works are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes. They question the coerciveness that is derived from the more profound meaning and the superficial aesthetic appearance of an image. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, she seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.
Her works never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. By emphasising aesthetics, she creates with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.
Her works are notable for their perfect finish and tactile nature. This is of great importance and bears witness to great craftsmanship. By parodying mass media by exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society, she tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.
Her works are an investigation into representations of (seemingly) concrete ages and situations as well as depictions and ideas that can only be realized in painting. By focusing on techniques and materials, she makes work that deals with the documentation of events and the question of how they can be presented. The work tries to express this with the help of physics and technology, but not by telling a story or creating a metaphor.