1993-95 Secrets, a gothic tale

Château, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Reception Hall / Salle de réception

Series of 8 gelatin silver prints, framed.
Série de 8 épreuves à la gélatine argentique, encadrées.

Collection :
FRAC Bretagne, Châteaugiron, France

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Reception Hall / Salle de réception

Series of 8 gelatin silver prints, framed.
Série de 8 épreuves à la gélatine argentique, encadrées.

Collection :
FRAC Bretagne, Châteaugiron, France

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Reception Hall (detail) / Salle de réception (détail)

Series of 8 gelatin silver prints, framed.
Série de 8 épreuves à la gélatine argentique, encadrées.

Collection :
FRAC Bretagne, Châteaugiron, France

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Library / Bibliothèque

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Library / Bibliothèque

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Library / Bibliothèque

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

portrait

head drawer / premier tiroir

from / de:

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Œuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

portfolio image

from / de:

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

Image

head drawer / premier tiroir

from / de:

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Library / Bibliothèque

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Library / Bibliothèque

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Library / Bibliothèque

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

Installation view
Vue d’installation

Library / Bibliothèque

Work in situ in the library of the château at the Centre d’art contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Approximately 80 gelatin silver prints of various dimensions in 6 portfolios and 5 frames, 1 book (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995)

Oeuvre in situ à la bibliothèque au château du Centre d’art contemporain, domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, Bretagne. Près de 80 épreuves à la gélatine argentique de dimensions variées dans 6 portfolios et 5 cadres, 1 livre (Aporia: a book of landscapes, 1995).

Statement / Démarche

 

SECRETS: A GOTHIC TALE
INSTALLATION AT THE CASTLE, DOMAINE DE KERGUÉHENNEC

The Domaine de Kerguéhennec is a contemporary sculpture park with galleries in the former stables, as well as in some of the rooms on the first floor of the castle. During my intervention, we could find in the six drawers of the castle's library the collected works of a women photographer who lived in the castle sometimes in the late 19th century. Known to have wandered the park, especially the area around the lake, obsessively taking pictures of the surrounding landscape, her mental health deteriorates slowly and eventually she drowns herself. Her decline is illustrated in the photographs placed in the drawers in portfolio cases and folders. As one moves from box to box, folder to folder, the photographs become progressively more abstract as they begin to focus exclusively on the surface of the water.

Abstraction, water and the mirroring effect of the water point to an allegorical reading of the photographs. The work is loaded with art historical references. What is mirrored in the water is the surrounding landscape. We ‘somehow’ know that the landscape is representative of the emotional state of mind of the protagonist. The mirror reinforces this reading. The protagonist's physical and mental confinement is described this way: physical, because the mirror reflects her space back to her and mentally, because we are not seeing her, we see a representation of another self. I am reminded of Freud's placing a framed mirror against the window of his studio, described by Beatriz Colomina. "The mirror (the psyche) is in the same plane as the window. The reflection is also a self-portrait projected onto the outside world," separating and yet fusing inside and outside world. "Psychoanalysis complicates this relationship between inner psyche and its exterior manifestations. The distinction between interior and exterior, subject and object is forever blurred."

We have been given, and in part we had already acquired, a code to decipher the inner and outer world of the work. As a viewer we have an additional choice to make, we can give over to the work and explore it from the inside, we can inhabit it and make it our own, or we can distance ourselves and analyze and deconstruct the work along the narrative suggested. The piece pursues a variety of ideas in the environment of an art institution, which is very remote and inaccessible, but where most of the collection consists of large sculptures installed in the park, interacting or rather interrupting the landscape. The more private and quiet contribution, housed inside, subverts ideas of collection, art and archive, it blurs the boundaries of the document and art work, fact and fiction, and is finally an allegorical way to create a monument, a commemorative event. The experience is "whole" again (experienced in its entirety), when in the contemplative act of viewing the photographs—the ritual of putting on gloves, permitting access to all material—one experiences a connection to another time, and another's reality, fictional or not. Some attempt has been made to reconstruct the aura, by bringing the distant past a little closer and by reconnecting the artwork with this past.

"The quest for memory is the search for one's history. (...) We should be aware of the difference between true memory, which has taken refuge in gestures and habits, in skills passed down (...), and memory transformed by its passage through history, which is nearly the opposite: voluntary and deliberate, (...); psychological, individual, and subjective.
Lieux de mémoire are simple and ambiguous, natural and artificial (...). Indeed, they are lieux in three senses of the word—material, symbolic and functional." (Pierre Nora)

The library at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec is a lieu de mémoire, as are the photographs. Both, photographs and place, are able to evoke a memory that only exists in our imagination, and it is clear that they exist only because of their capacity for metamorphosis, an endless recycling of their meaning.

(text from 1998 lecture)