Restitution of residence
Artists : Steeve Bauras, François Bianco, Brice Borredon, Camille Le Chatelier et Missia Piccoli.
GENESIS OF A PROJECT
In the beginning, there is a photographer, an actrice, a musicien and two visual artists in residence. The challenge is considerable. They only have a few weeks to produce a collective work, at the request of a curator who has made this bold proposition to the five artists, in whom she had detected the desire and the ability for such a collaboration.
Very close to the deadline, Steeve Bauras, François Bianco, Brice Borredon, Camille Le Chatelier et Missia Piccoli, are in the sketching phase. In these preparatory works, each artist brings their own sensitivity, story and practice - even if this means abandoning them to make them merge within the group. Indeed, what matters in this project is the possibility to exchange, to bring together, to play the collaborative game with John Cage, Merce Cunningham or Matthew Barney as great reference figures who have also explored the possibilities of the multidisciplinary work of art.
At this stage of reflection, we do not know whether this Gesamtkunstwerk will consist of a single object or several installations fragmented along a route. But there are already a few certainties: the piece will be open, without accuracy criterion, and will be subject to a temporality that will unfold while reading a text, and playing sound or a moving picture. The result is less important that the will to lay the foundations of the artistic project which will continue to develop, growing richer.
Missia, the actrice, sent a text written by Laure Becdelièvre, taken from her book Nietzsche and Mallarmé. Paying for « the damage caused by being two ». Responsive to the musicality of her words, the other artists decided to use it as the starting point of the piece. Steeve proposed to film Missia from behind, facing the wall, reading out loud this passage. Brice suggested to set this voice to music. Camille and François imagined the video projection on a three-dimensional structure.
Needless to say that this artwork will not result from an instinctive activity but will be the outcome of a though-out process. We will therefore follow the project’s development through this exchange, the « inspirations » the artists have sent each other on a daily basis, the images they have shared on Instagram in order to fix their impressions (like the pages of sketchbook once used to). Photographs, music - a lot of cuban, jazz and experimental rock music -, archaeological objects, posters, are assembled based on their eclectic affinities - simply because these sensitivity markers work well together. One can imagine that the elaboration process of these - still - thrilling thoughts is as important as the definitive material of this ten-handed work.
Two weeks later, the piece is there. In the back, in the dark gallery space, a screen displays black and white images, set to vivid music. The images are jerky, fragmented. We can recognise the footage, Missia from behind reading the text, then flashes, punctuated by the music that is both loud and syncopated, hence the title « Night Blink ». Five elements are erected before the screen, five glass stelae in the room diffract the images which are hardly recognisable. Covered with white porcelain powder that absorbs and reflects the projected light, creating twirling patterns, they blur and interfere with the video images which one can now guess: a street, buildings, a passerby. Sometimes brighter, more colourful and less moving, the stelae light up. A deambulation allows us to contemplate them from different angles, while the soundscape also becomes more gentle.
We are invited to a musical journey, a « drive » as the West Indians put it, meaning aimless wandering for an evening during which everything was collected. Ultimately, the inspirations are only underlying elements, « they have helped us to know each other better », the artists declare.
A tool emerged from this collective work, enabling an experimentation of its possibilities. Other images (in colour), others themes, and other music will, in turn, be able to occupy this environment, generating a different atmosphere, provoking new sensory responses. It has been successful gamble. As a process, this adaptable work will be able to pursue its progression, in accordance with the intention of origin.
Dominique GAGNEUX, Chief heritage conservator at the Museum of Modern Art of Paris.