The way one crosses the yard
Writing on Catherine Poncin is a challenge: so much has already been written, and by so many critics who detailed and dissected the various aspects of her work, that the chore appears unbearably Sisyphean. And yet, a line can possibly be traced between the different bodies of images, browsing the numerous texts that each talk of a specific series of hers. As a matter of fact, the artists develops each time an intense and intimate relationship to a theme, a place, a setting for encounters and thus creates almost in situ projects be they the fruit of a commission or of her personal thrills.
If Catherine Poncin has always dug into archives, rarely has she mentioned her special interests, though it might appear clearly to the eyes of the classical iconography connoisseurs: literature and history of the arts. Both punctuate her photographs and films, sustain her thoughts, gathered in her speech. Her work often deals with re-composed pieces that echo a specific story, a moment, or sometimes even a book. One can take a closer look at her several works focusing on North African countries : it brings to mind Albert Camus but also Kateb Yacine , or even in a different way her series Palimpseste following the commission of the castle Ferney-Voltaire (its name blows a narrative wind dear to the ears of the image readers), all links with a literary backbone. This work of de- then re-contextualisation of images combined together is the very basis of her language. Reading between the lines that divide her montages, one can sometime even grasp the writings she discovers. What more common than to say that an image is a way to write with light instead of writing with ink and words?