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nothingness and somethingness

 

Life's main medium is precisely repetition. (Joseph Brodsky)

Some things help to dodge the redundancy of time. Looking for exceptions is one way to caress repetition, knowing of death and madness. Finite life is only relieved by the utter monotony of infiniteness, inviting a warmer embrace of life's incurable systems.

Cécile Hartmann's images witness an entropic reality with utopic aspirations, mystic overtones and undercurrents of drama. Her subjectivity is dominated by her relation to nature – romantic, political and esoteric – so the work is prone to beauty and imperfection. From the early orange manifestations in public, to the glazed ceramic weapons to the discrete figures in Japan, and finally to the these ambient renderings of nature, aesthetics and politics visibly meet.

Walking into the current exhibition in the church at Chelles is like walking into a head. A dark space with large-format prints leaning against the wall and heavily spotlit, they move between evidence and interrogation. In the chapel is a film projection that uses water to mount expectation. Patterns of recognition fall in and out, despite the large format and clarity of still and moving images. Hartmann is building a loose dramatic score that conjures a world full of signposts parsed from the tension between ordinary and insidious.

Lament or celebration? Hartmann is working from the politics of nature like a medium herself.

 

Eileen Sommerman

November 2010