Août 2018/ August 2018
Le temps de ma résidence a été en partie consacré à la conception et à la réalisation de la pièce en terre “fantômes partition des fonds” pour l’exposition Boustrophédon en collaboration avec Yann Lévy.
Les pièces partitions se construisent souvent à partir d’un événement appartenant à l’histoire ancienne ou contemporaine du territoire. Cette mémoire structure l’œuvre et ne se fait qu’écho.
Ici, l’événement dramatique du Sewol, ferry transportant 476 personnes, qui a chaviré au large des côtes ouest de la Corée du sud en 2014, a servit de trame pour construire ma recherche. Cette pièce répondait dans l’espace d’exposition à une œuvre vidéo monumentale de Yann Lévy dont le point de départ était l’évocation des Eungbong Bongsudae poste de fumée au sommet des collines pour annoncer l’arrivée de l’ennemi à l’époque de l’invasion japonaise.
La terre déposée sur le mur après avoir été séchée et réduite en poudre puis ré-humidifiée et mélangée avec de l’encre de chine, suit un parcours de formes graphiques retraçant un ensemble de pièces évidées et détourées comme
insérées dans un tableau. L’exposition qu’elles semblent construire, en train de se faire et à peine achevée, met en péril le temps donné au regard puisque
la terre se craquelant, tombe au fur et à mesure de l’exposition.
La terre en disparaissant devient un souvenir.
En tombant elle emporte avec elle la peinture blanche du mur, faisant apparaître sa matière originelle.
La suite de ma résidence a été consacrée à des expérimentations de cette matière et de traduction de travaux dessinés, en volume.
La question de l’interprétation toujours au cœur de mon travail impliquant le passage d’un langage à l’autre. J’ai utilisé des dessins de toutes sortes, des empreintes, des traces…et les ai travaillé avec un logiciel de traitement 3D.
Ce travail est toujours en cours et donnera lieu à des volumes en plâtres.
The time of my residency was partly devoted to the design and production of fantôme score of the fonds with korean clay, for the exhibition Boustrophédon in collaboration with Yann Lévy.
The score pieces are often built from an event belonging to the ancient or contemporary history of the territory. This memory structures the work and is only echo.
Here, the dramatic Sewol event, a ferry carrying 476 people, which capsized off the west coast of South Korea in 2014, served as a framework for my research. This piece responded in the exhibition space to a monumental video work by Yann Lévy whose point of departure was the evocation of the Eungbong Bongsudae smoke station at the top of the hills to announce the arrival of the enemy at the time of the Japanese invasion.
The clay deposited on the wall after being dried and reduced to powder then re-watted and mixed with Indian ink, follows a path of graphic forms retracing a set of hollow and cut pieces as inserted in a picture. The exhibition they seem to be constituting, in the process of being made and hardly completed, endangers the time given to the look the clay cracking, falls as the exposure.
The clay disappearing becomes a memory. While falling she carries with her the white painting of the wall, making to appear its original matter.
The rest of my residency was devoted to experiments of this material and translation of drawings, by volume.
The question of interpretation always at the heart of my work involving the passage from one language to another. I used drawings of all kinds, footprints, traces … and worked with 3D processing software.
This work is still in progress and will give rise to volumes in plasters.
Matt Coco & Yann Lévy
“Boustrophédon,” the title of a joint piece by Matt Coco and Yann Lévy at the Hongti Art Center, can be directly translated as an ‘(ancient) writing method in which text is written from right to left and from left to right in alternate lines’. The linguistic roots of this antiquated word come from the way oxen pull a plough to make furrows in a field, moving from left to right in one row and then from right to left in the next. This has been interpreted in a way that expands on the feeling of reading a book or writing in such a way that the text alternately changes from one direction to the other. In this exhibition, the two artists have borrowed the ‘boustrophedon’ method, aiming to devise a new system for viewing art. Utilizing a variety of media including sculptural, installation, photographic and video art, the artists have compartmentalized the space and created a tense dialogue between the works.
This exhibition is introduced as a metaphor for the Eungbong Bongsudae beacon mound, located at the center of the site of Hongti Art Center. This Joseon-era smoke signal station first appeared in the historic record in 1530. It remained in use through the nineteenth century, and was notably used during the Japanese invasions of Korea of the 1590s and the Gapsin Coup in 1884. This defense facility indicates this area’s significance as a strategic military point offering a good vantage point for observing the movements of Japanese vessels. The artists wonder whether the enemy, once existing in the form of Japanese invaders, has now perhaps taken the form of self-produced atmospheric gases or pollution, created by this area itself. Among the works realized in the exhibition, there is a constant push and pull—inside and outside, high and low, left and right—shaking up the viewer’s perception. The two artists introduce a series of installation pieces that materially reinterpret disappearance, traces, and catastrophe.
Let’s take a look at Matt Coco’s ‘fantômes’ series, which could be seen as the starting point of this exhibition. Beginning in 2016, these sculptural and installation pieces have dealt with ruptured, fragmented images of landscapes, unfolding on 30-meter-long rolls of paper. The initial source that formed the core of the works was an image, found by the artist on the Internet, showing Fukushima after the Japanese tsunami of March 2011. This is not disaster witnessed firsthand, but disaster seen only as an online image—the sort of image that is all too commonly found floating around the internet. While focusing on these images of disaster and catastrophe, the artist speaks of the visual beauty of the moment of disaster. She has added here the testimonies of witnesses to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
August 6, 1945, 8:15 a.m. When the bomb was dropped from an altitude of 9,750 meters, it is said to have fallen for 57 seconds before reaching detonation altitude. The resulting mushroom cloud rose over 18km high. A gigantic mass of dusty white smoke bloomed like an instantaneous cumulus cloud. Everything within a radius of 1.6 km was completely destroyed. The aesthetics of a catastrophe that utterly discounted ethical issues… The artist focused on the issue problem of reproducing this in the form of artwork.
In Matt Coco’s artwork, a reproduction is not something that comes onto the scene after reality, as an imitation of reality. Rather, it imitates images floating around on the internet. It constructs reality in front of reality. An image has been uploaded to the Internet by some anonymous person. So-called reality may be an emanation, and a repetition, of all these images interwoven with a manipulated narrative. Matt Coco deals with the construction of the reproduction and the deconstruction of its referent. Along with questions about this de/construction, the artist sets forth dead-end situations, that is, catastrophe and disaster. ‘Things’ handled within the artwork, replicating catastrophe as image… The artist raises questions about the digital mechanisms by which disaster images are circulated and the function of disaster images that are routinely replicated.
In this exhibition, Yann Lévy has vertically suspended lengthwise strips imprinted with two series of images in an alternating pattern. One series is a mountain landscape containing a jumble of rocks, and the other depicts clouds in the sky. The two alternating series of images of earth and sky, installed side by side by side, are a more direct simile for the concept of ‘boustrophedon’. The artist notes that, in his work, he has explored more or less visible, tangible productions of industry (chemistry, mining: gases and yawning gaps), seeking to express a world of uncertain (unclear) boundaries (“un monde aux limites incertaines”).
The two artists, based in Lyon, France, say that they are interested in the real identity of language, different realities, and the vocabularies generated from various events. Matt Coco introduces her work as “borrow[ing] lexicons from various disciplines related to archeology, anthropology, geology, literature or cinema,” seeking to question the link between languages and landscapes. In the way he expresses her work, she finds a quintessential ‘French-ness’. She does not mean to say that she has found a nationalistic aesthetic in the work. Rather, it pertains to a thoroughly internalized aesthetic and philosophy that come to hand even in instantaneous or unconscious moments.
A question that very commonly arises in everyday life is: “Can culture and individuality be defined as reciprocal expressions that are mutually referential in certain aspects and contexts?” No matter how simple we say they are, individuals are never simple, and the totality of an individual can be expressed only when viewed from a fixed angle. No established order—not even a culture precisely located in time and space—can define the base level identity of an individual embodying the culture.
Matt Coco and Yann Lévy apply very internalized thought to the impact of culture or institutional systems. They construct narratives that are speculative and sensuous, rejecting the grand narrative of the past. Moments in everyday life that embody political, social, and economic systems are invariably reflected in the work of the two artists. For that reason, I will be interested to see what sort of traces of their three-month stay in Busan will show up in their future work.
Ji Yoon Yang / Director, Alt Space LOOP, Seoul, South Korea