The Ephemeral Cosmogony : Cornu Copia

Benjamin Valenza

05.05 - 11.06.2011

From 5th May-11th June 2011 Forde presents The Ephemeral Cosmogony: Cornu Copia, an exhibition by Benjamin Valenza (born in Marseille in 1980, he lives and works in Lausanne and Geneva).

This monumental installation is an evocation of a horn of plenty - or cornucopia - made from forms floating in the gallery’s space. The elements appear together as a unitary architectural structure, some independent forms and some projection surfaces. They operate as phonemes, basic language tools that, laid out here, evoke a word vehicle of multiple concepts, evading the possibility of “meaning” by remaining open to interpretation.

Latin in origin, the term “cornucopia” represents what would take the very shape of this horn. If the modern representation of the horn of plenty is that of a basket overflowing with frugal food, the Latin etymology of the word, Cornu Copiae, brings us back foremost to its function, that of a machine endlessly reproducing and duplicating. A definite analogy allows this metaphor to be transposed to a monumental scale in the myth of Babel where the famous tower is modelled on a Mesopotamian ziggurat, that of Etemenanki (“Foundation of Heaven and Earth”), a seven floor pyramid that, in the course of the myth and its representations, became a slender skyward spiral, trying to reach infinity, an immeasurable horn shape.

A machine to reproduce and disperse language, as the Bible says, the Tower of Babel symbolises the demiurgic dimension of man as he confronts the ex-nihilo, i.e. sacred, creation. At the end of this artistic tradition, by producing what escapes immediate understanding, the creative act expresses itself in an untranslatable language but with an evocative power to be interpreted. Here, the cornucopia is this metaphorical image: a form of which the monumental presence theoretically exceeds the limits of its appearance, of the exhibition space, by recalling the collective unconscious.

The Ephemeral Cosmogony is a project in several phases that follows two exhibitions, one at La Vitrine in Paris (2nd October-28th November 2010) and the other at FormContent in London (24th February-27th March 2011).