"Scales of leaves" - Archeology of the Future   60 cm x 650 cm,  ceramics, 2017

  View Culture Station Seoul 284

Traversée series 2016                

28cm x 32cm

Ink,pencil, oil painting on hanji paper 음양지

Text by Yoonghee Kang

 

Sometimes, certain works remind one of a perfectly constructed house. The crossbeams fit in perfectly with the pillars, and in between the walls set up just in the right places yield to openings that will become doors and windows. In such space, even an empty space becomes an aesthetic mechanism, presenting us with the perfect beauty of an organic architecture. However, Elodie Dornand’s space is not a stable construction of a house; it consists of multiple trajectories of hallways lined up with countless doors. The artist might open any one of the doors, while some of them might be overlooked carelessly. What Elodie DdeR presents us is her own ‘imperfect way’ of understanding the fragments and truths of this world she randomly discovers. She begins her house building in anxiety, in the memories and associations she arrives at through an observation or discovery. Facing this endless line of doors, we find ourselves entering a kaleidoscopic world where, rather than grasping the overall appearance of this house, no one knows what image would follow.

The consistency of the fragments are not important in this kaleidoscopic world. The thought fragments collected here might be anything from complaints the artist blurted out during her observation, to her long-held thoughts, or considerations of form. The artist collects the diverse fleeting thought fragments, endow form to her collection of thoughts, and expresses the anxiety that exists in the fissures between the fragments. In that sense, Jeu de Réflexion might be the most symbolic work introduced in this exhibition. Consisting of 188 porcelain pieces, this work opens up the door to another thought in the complex structure like a puzzle, through the word Réflexion which signifies both the refraction of light and thinking back. The colorful pieces fit into each other as if it were one body, but there are inevitably cracks and fissures between pieces that have already been separated. Whether the subject of reflection is light or thought, part of it vanishes in the cracks between the puzzle pieces, and the narrative is transformed and re-formed rather than being reflected in whole as if through a mirror.

 

Elodie Dornand’s mask series concretizes the anxiety of the ‘in between’ even more. During the time when plague ran rampant, the ‘plague doctors’ treated patients wearing masks with a beak-like nose. The doctors filled the gap/beak between the mask and the face with aromatic substances like ambergris, camphor, cloves, myrrh and rose petals in order to protect themselves from the contagious disease. Their grotesque masks, with bird-like beaks and eyes like the eyes of a needle, is not an aesthetic outcome but a result of human anxiety, which lies both inherently in human, and towards the external factor of an infectious disease. The white porcelain mask is terrifying because it is the epitome of fear for what lies outside of one’s skin, and the nauseatingly obsessive sanitation.

In Elodie’s work, there lies a certain moment when a form which seemed cute mutates into an ominous sign. It’s like a sudden disaster that falls, at any given time and place, like the volcanic ash that covers the heads of helpless human beings. It’s said that the Amazon natives believed that gold comes from outer space, as two stars exploded in the sky, resulting in a meteor shower on earth, embedding gold in the deep subterranean heart of the earth. Today, however, gold is a cursed mineral in the Amazon, equaling destruction in the destroyed environment and exploited human rights. The mercury used in the extraction of gold is gasified or discarded in the river, infringing upon the land of the natives. In the destroyed and polluted territory where nothing grows, the fragments of stars fallen deep into the earth absorb mercury and gasify into thin air. Dornand’s low-lying gold clouds symbolize such reality in which more malaise is brought upon the earth under the pretense of producing things of value. Our desires to hide from giant anxiety is recklessly exposed under the cheerful looking cloud.

 

Elodie DdeR maintains a playful attitude towards form regardless of the inherent message, through manifestations such round clouds, masks, cities like LEGO blocks and glittering puzzles. Meanwhile, the artist chose quite a heavy material of ‘ceramics’ as a tool to construct her thoughts; thus the work lumps the artist presented conjure up the image of a clean but cold ruins. Such ruins becomes manifest in the 6m long Scale Leaves, and as the artist expresses, it’s like a future excavation site. The artist asks us to imagine exactly what the original form of the over 200 pieces of this work could be.

One day in the future, the human kind will excavate these porcelain pieces and archaeologists will delicately reconstitute these fragments. If we join these pieces like snake skin or ginkgo tree leaves, what would we see? Are we sure that the long body we see unfold before us is its original form? Our imagination plays an important role in reconstituting archeological findings. The shattered unite into one through our imagination and their similarities and differences become criteria and indicator. However, these sculptures that desire to be discovered as artifacts are, already from the beginning, disassembled imperfectness with no use or function. And the artist herself intervenes in this imperfectness by intentionally carrying out a process which violates the normal ceramic production method. Elodie takes out the ceramic works from the kiln during firing in order to create natural cracks like leaf veins, and chooses to leave such imperfections as they are just like in Japanese Kintsuki(金継ぎ) which emphasizes the repairs in ceramics by applying powdered gold.

Elodie DdeR talks to us about the delicacy of this world, and its extinction and destruction in various ways. Rather than uttering her messages by analytically amplifying them, she leaves her audience with the fragments of narratives and the rooms of such fragments. Now, we’re left with just questions. What narratives will we make with these discontinuous remains? What will we think about? What narrative fragments lie behind the doors that are not yet open? These are the questions I ask, filled with curiosity, as I stand at a fork of numerous corridors, looking inside the open doors.

Elodie Dornand de Rouville présente une série de portraits, issus d’un livre, illustrant la culture coréenne.

 

A l’origine, il y a l’idée d’un livre, qui expliquerait la culture coréenne à travers des aspects de la civilisation coréenne. L’anthropologue Benjamin Joinau et Elodie Dornand de Rouville, artiste vivant depuis plus de dix ans en Corée, ont longuement mûri cette idée, où les traditions et autres us et coutumes seraient abordées par les thématiques inhérentes du quotidien, telle que la nourriture, la religion, les vêtements, et où les visuels joueraient un rôle central. Le but n’était pas de donner un ensemble de recommandations, d’adresses, ou une liste de comportements à adopter pour ne pas paraitre impoli. Au contraire, le livre s’amuse de ces différences, et intelligemment vous expliquera pourquoi nous nous sommes trompés et d’où vient notre erreur. Les dessins et les textes, indissociables, s’enrichissent et se complètent afin de décortiquer les curiosités de la culture coréenne, avec humour et sympathie et pour notre plus grand plaisir.

 

Croquis de Corée, à travers le subtil échange entre les dessins et textes, montre l’enjeu d’une démarche de compréhension envers d’autres cultures et afin de nous inviter à repenser notre rapport à l’autre.

 

Pour son exposition "Traversée", Elodie Dornand de Rouville a choisi d’extraire certains de ses croquis de leur contexte littéraire. En les retravaillant et les ré-assemblant sur du papier de mûrier traditionnel, elle se donne le temps de partager, avec nous, sa relation avec la Corée du Sud. Si la culture coréenne est parvenue à exporter internationalement son identité et sa culture, l'artiste nous en livre ici une vision distanciée, plus intime et sincère. Loin des clichés, Elodie nous entraîne de l'autre coté du miroir, mettant en scène avec humour les contradictions et paradoxes propre à la culture du pays du matin calme.

 

Plus personnels, ces dessins, oscillant entre rêve et réalité, cachent des messages à demi-ton. Dans le cadre de son exposition, elle se ré-approprie, amplifie et exagère certains aspect de la culture coréenne. Aussi, malgré un rendu visuel coréanisant, le discours et le langage employé demeurent occidentaux. Toutefois, une forme de traduction, de décryptage est nécessaire pour que notre oeil entende les sens cachés des éléments composant ces illustrations.

 

Pays obsédé par son apparence, la Corée est rapidement devenue un territoire où la pratique de la chirurgie esthétique s’est largement répandue dans les moeurs, alors que la culture prône toujours la sobriété et la simplicité comme valeurs fondamentales de toute bonne éducation. 

Elodie est, depuis son arrivée dans la péninsule en 2002, fascinée par ce rapport libéré au bistouri, et elle l’évoque régulièrement dans son travail. Comme dans ce reflet brisé dans un miroir, où le personnage principal, a-sexualisé, essaie de se fixer, de réparer ses imperfections. Le portrait de Jeune fille à la frange est peut-être plus probant. Dénuée de visage, elle choisi sur le polygone placé devant elle les yeux, le nez et la bouche qu’elle veut. Tel un catalogue, elle compose son nouveau visage comme on se compose une nouvelle garde robe chaque saison.

 

Nous sommes subjugués et touchés par ces dessins sans artifices. La simplicité des traits et des couleurs est d’ailleurs frappante et une récurrence dans le travail tout en élégance d’Elodie. Par ailleurs, pour cette série, Elodie explique son choix d’économie des couleurs pour ne se concentrer que sur les représentations des idées, des paradoxes et des contractions intrinsèques à la culture coréenne. Le blanc et le noir deviennent une paire d’antonyme tel que l’intérieur et l’extérieur, le soi et l’altérité, l’ombre et la lumière, le singulier et le multiple, la solitude et la communauté…

 

"Traversée" crée un ballet de fines correspondances visuelles, teintées d'onirisme et d'ironie, afin de dévoiler un regard personnel, empirique, jubilatoire et incisif de la société coréenne. L’artiste n’entend pas dénoncer, ni faire une critique de la société, il s’agit pour elle nous inviter à partager son oeil, son regard et son observation empirique des évolutions et révolutions sociales que le pays traverse actuellement.

The shadow of a star

The sky is a vast and wonderful thing, yet complex, it remains an unknown source of mystery. Humans have looked up for centuries trying to trace, identify and record to understand its vastness and discover what is there. Its relative ignorance explains why it is, still today, an object and source of many fantasies and dreams, beliefs and myths.

 

For The Shadow of a Star, Elodie Dornand de Rouville decides to propose a direct dialogue with the space, based on the artist sky and beyond researches and obsessions. Through three observatory stations and other hidden installations, visitors will meet what is out there, in its most natural state, that is to say unaffected and barely explored by human. Metaphorically and physically, visitors will embark on a total experience that will lead him to a singular universe, a universe, certainly disturbing and familiarly strange.

 

“They glow in the dark, the stickers of these stars which were dotting the ceiling of my childhood bedroom”, remembers Elodie DdeR.

Every night before bed, she was amazed by the phosphorescent sky she re-created. Over the time, however, the burden of these stickers decreased forgetting the ceiling’s constellations. Growing up she gave little consideration for the night sky. It was only when she matured, that she let herself impressed again. Adult life had brought her to the rural locality far from the electric lights of the large metropolis, where all the brightest celestial bodies are engulfed. Today whenever she found herself in fairly populated areas, she is always surprised, and amazed to see the stars shine, reminding me in a sense our insignificance and fragility relative.

As an example of this dizziness feeling, she liked to think of the famous Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). It records visual data through a telescope and colorful result given astronomers an image of 13.2 billion years of our universe. These spots of yellow, blue, and violet are galaxies formed shortly after the Big Bang. The photographs are interesting, but it appeals more to our imagination as the heavens that glow in the dark of our child's room with our phosphorescent stickers. The excessive and incomprehensible dimension of the universe is both exhilarating and frightening.

 

The story begins with a meteorite that crashed into the gallery. She ran aground on one of the observation stations. At first sight, it is bright, but very slowly the light flickers, decreases, by approaching it we can even hear its last moments of life, its last flicker.

 

This work situated between lights and shadows, a sculptural dimension by the observatory stations, and a surreal dimension. Oscillating between the familiar and the imaginary, the artist combines ready-made and forgotten crafts in sophisticated installations that provoke, amuse and surprise the spectator. Through simple tools and a complex staging yet mastered, the exhibition wants to offer the viewer an understanding of what surrounds him. This research will play investing the microscopic into the macroscopic and vice versa. Elodie DdeR will challenge the universe to reduce it until it fits the exhibition space.

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