Exhibition from September 21st to November 3rd, 2007
Opening on Thursday, September 20th from 6 to 9 p.m
Gallery Les Filles du Calvaire is pleased to present the last works of the Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt, in the context of a Project Room devoted to her.
In most of her works, Edith Dekyndt deals with very short, or at least transitory time spans relating to the metamorphosis. Before digital technologies flooded our homes, the Polaroid was the instrument par excellence of instantaneousness. While shooting the reaction of the chemical emulsion slowly revealing the negative, the artist endows it with another duration and simultaneously foils it point by point (Star System, 2001).
The lightness of the image gives way to a certain gravity – probing the invisible, lending it some weight, some density. Duchamp’s search for a definition of the infra-thin, for instance when he examined the noise of rubbing corduroy trousers, is neither very far removed from attempts to produce images for such transient events as sparks springing from static electricity generated by frictions (Static Light, 2004).
Edith Dekyndt’s work plays on tenuous effects implied by the act of making visible things and events that are almost imperceptible, or at least extremely volatile, as we would say of certain liquid substances close to the gaseous state. The uncertainty about the state of the elements brought together is a way to question the world and the existing in their everyday proximity.
While some artists set up intricate processes, sometimes on the verge of the artificial, to point out to the immaterial, Edith Dekyndt asserts her tendency to odd jobs when she aims at implementing the trivia. Fragility, lightness and simplicity are at once exhibited and constituent of the work. The point is not to try and demonstrate anything, but only to highlight certain events coming within the province of physical laws, the potential of objects or situations until they turn tangential, like the plastic ball she peels off with a razor blade, as she would have done with an orange rid of its thick skin, in Le plus loin possible (To Peel a Ball, 1997). Tangential, that is to say in moments when two elements get in light touch, thus creating a change of state in the matter or at least in its outer appearance. In such transitory states, the properties of the materials alter.
Less literal, but as much concerned by those questions, the short video Stimmung (2004) reveals its true nature to the German-speaking viewer: an osmosis between antagonistic elements, or even forces, for which man and the landscape stand within the scenery of a white, intangible mountain criss-crossed by an abstract swarming of skiers.
Edith Dekyndt’s works are so many notes of an ephemeral but dense everyday routine, whether this is to be found in the “infra-thin” or “infra-ordinary”, or between things.
The artist carries out her research with constantly restricted means – which does not prevent her from setting off on worldwide projects as she proposes luminous actions involving everyone on the scale of his or her switch, and which will be visible from the sky (Three Minutes of Darkness, 2002). This scale relation is always adhered to and relies above all on individual observation, though conceived with a view to being broadened to the public sphere: the experiences she invites us to favour the individual experience.
With a to and fro motion, the artist sometimes inverts the proportions. In Soleil Public (2003), she places in a shop window UV lamps that tan the skin of strollers pausing for a short while to revel in the fake sunrays. This very simple inversion arouses social behaviours extending beyond the minimal structure she has created. But it also has to do with the scale relation of the switch to the sky, of the swarming patches to the magnificent mountain scenery, of the UV rays to the tanning of the skin… and of a butterfly’s flapping wings to a hurricane. Each time extremely precise images occur. Whether mental or physical, they let us perceive a series of close-ups and wide-angle shots, allowing us to catch a glimpse, either close or remote, of some worlds. This is no less than a form of expansion or condensation of space.
The analogy of Edith Dekyndt’s practice with photography is, for that matter, surprising: the light, the framing and the appearance of the image act as key parameters in both cases.
Substances volatiles, haut pouvoir de dispersion [Volatile Substances ;
High Power of Dispersion]
catalogue B. P. S. 22, Charleroi, April 2004
Translation by Laurie Guérif