The impossible image and the space of its narrative
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 spaces inhabited by characters who embroider , the first cut-out canvases sewn and transformed in garments to the large scale cross-stitch grids, networks of narratives, intertwining personal mythologies and collective cultural representations, have developed. The two main threads of this network 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: In installations sometimes inhabited by tableaux vivants, in photographs, in perforated or embroidered drawings that reinterpret classic genres of painting, and in objects, tools, and costumes that are used in the staging of the creative process. In the first installation, The House of Memories (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 that I sometimes fix in embroidery.
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.
The use of thread and needles is preponderant in my practice.The threads form unstable textures that can be undone by just pulling on a thread. Undo, redo infinitely.
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 urban photographs to which I integrate the faces of the muses. 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 symbols of colors that I print in large format.The embroidery comes again to blur the patterns. I repeat this process in a movement of exhaustion of the image which leads to its disappearance. Only the narrative of its origin could remain.