Victoria Palacios → Snails don't drool. They spit

January 10th - March 1st, 2024

Galerie Derouillon, Hôtel Cromot du Bourg

Galerie Derouillon is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Victoria Palacios at Hôtel Cromot du Bourg.

Only by appointment

“Snails don't drool. They spit”

The "slime writings" left by snails in their path enable these animals with poorly-developed senses not only to find their way around, but also to communicate. There is no direct exchange between them; everything is played out in these invisible traces offered to a probable encounter with another of whom we know nothing. We know little about the snails' behavior and their degree of intentionality in leaving these slime messages, but perhaps they give them capital importance or devious care.

Victoria Palacios taps into this mystery and moves it into the liminal space of her canvases. Here, "Snails don't drool. They spit", are transformed into slobbering binnacles and squeaky figures. A heavy red velvet curtain opens onto scenes that draw us into a dark unconscious where relationships between the protagonists remain murky. We find recurring characters - a detour from James Ensor's ambiguous carnivalesque figures - from various mythologies and popular universes: succubi, harlequins, clowns, a red curtain... whose Machiavellian faces emerge in Palacios' disquieting domestic ambiences. Having grown up with a mime-clown father, she knows all about the ambivalence between the show and the torment backstage, the colorful costumes and the sad passions of the performers. It's all a game of subtle details that can only be seen with redoubled attention.

Different layers coexist on the same canvas: the black background is not smooth, but reveals reliefs made of thick layers of acrylic and gouache, fine collaged drawings or objects added to the surface. The brushwork is sometimes swallowed up in the material, gradually revealing itself like snail tracks that become obvious to those who can read them. Palacios also likes to play with scale, oscillating between very large and very small formats painted on books. These spontaneous canvases often depict isolated characters, as if caught in a tête-à-tête with the viewer, opening an aside in the room that the exhibition constructs. Palacios' canvases form a chapter in his fictions, part of a multidisciplinary whole in which painting responds to installations and performances. Threads are also woven between her "solitary" plastic practice and that of a musician in the Alto Fuero duo. Far from being a mere backdrop, the paintings bear witness to the exchanges between the characters and link all the disciplines in a carnivalesque energy. Painting made to "create animated beings out of colored dirt" (P. Guston).

Victoria Palacios
Drappe le ring, 2023
Acrylic and gouache on canvas
70 7/8 x 78 3/4 inches

Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris
© Grégory Copitet