The impossible image and the space of its narrative
(original version in French here Statement_french_original version_2021 )
What is hidden behind an image? What story is lost in the texture of the painting? These questions can be those of the spectator captivated by what he is looking at, or to be more accurate, hypnotized by the artwork that is looking at him.
This face to face interaction creates an imaginary space around the artwork in which an infinite number of paths are traced that lead to a multitude of possible images.
This essential experience of the spectator drawn into the space of the image is the one that founds my artistic practice. I have progressively taken the image out of its pictorial frame, I have pulled the threads of its canvas to unroll its story in the space of the spectator.
From the first cut-out canvases sewn and transformed in garments, the first spaces inhabited by characters who embroiderer, to the large scale cross-stitch grids, networks of narratives, intertwining personal mythologies, art history and cultural representations, have developed. The two main threads of this framework of stories are the process of creation itself and the conditions of emergence of an image.
My statement on the origin of the image is materialized through the use of various media: installations inhabited by tableaux vivants, photographs, perforated or embroidered drawings. I create objects, tools, and costumes that are used in the staging of the creative process. In the first installation, The House of Memory (2002) I did not show the works produced but the gestures and materials that allowed them to emerge.
As this is a story, words and stylistic elements are important. Oxymorons, ellipses, repetitions run through my work. I write scripts for images. Some of them only exist as recipes, kits or poems.
The still life garments like The Dark Side of the Butterfly (2018) are composed of motifs that I take from the vanitas and still life paintings of the Old Masters. This work of sampling elements in the history of art has formed my collection of materials: thorns, gems and pearls, butterflies, bones, animals, textile patterns and embroidery. It has also formed my repertoire of techniques and gestures corresponding to the representations of women at work: embroidering, sewing, stitching, perforating, cutting, waiting.
The use of thread and needles is preponderant in my practice. The embroideries form unstable textures whose survival depends on the knot. Knotting and unknotting, making and unmaking refer to the archetypal gesture of Penelope, both weaver of the narrative and iconoclast.
The embroidered images carry the possibility of their own disappearance. In the portraits of the female face, like Augustine Ornementale II (2011) the embroidery oscillates between ornament and disfiguration.
These female figures taken from the art history are recurrent characters in my scenario of the elaboration of a piece. Bia de Medici, Aline the sister of the painter Chassériau, Augustine the patient of Professor Charcot, regularly wander through the canvas of my visual stories.
They reappear in the urban space of the recent work D-Ring Project Muse (2020-2021). I make collages from my photographs to which I integrate their faces. The embroidery disrupts the original images while at the same time binding the paper fragments together. I photograph the collages again to create a digital cross-stitch grid. The result is an image broken down into squares and colour symbols that the embroidery again blurs. I repeat this process in a movement of exhaustion of the image which could lead to its disappearance but which allows a palimpsest narrative to emerge.