Valentin

floral arrangement vanitas, ink drawing, and projection
OPEN SPACE, Victoria, BC
26 October to 2 November 2011

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Valentin, une installation vidéo, projette l’image du sang de l’artiste vu au microscope électronique, sur le mur de la galerie. Loin de provoquer des sentiments morbides ou viscéraux, ce que la vidéo évoque est plutôt d’ordre floral ou topologique – l’existence d’une telle couleur et d’une telle activité sous la barrière de la peau, apparaît impossible. L’image projetée au mur est interrompue par un vase en fonte de taille imposante, sur lequel elle se répand et dont elle déborde. L’urne contient des fleurs fraîchement coupées, arrangées suivant la tradition des vanités hollandaises. Au mur, l’ombre peinte du récipient épouse celle du « véritable » objet recouvert par l’image. Valentin use ainsi des tropes visuels d’une vie romantique stéréotypée, combinés à leurs réalités médicales, auxquels s’ajoutent des références culturelles visuelles et matérielles. Cette orchestration déclenche une rafale d’associations potentielles centrées sur l’expérience sensorielle, en tant qu’elle est indissociable du désir et entièrement mêlée à la connaissance. .............................. 

L’installation Valentin a été présentée à l’origine dans le cadre de l’OFF LABEL Festival: The Art of the Placebo. Le terme médical placebo, avant tout associé à la tromperie, sert souvent à indiquer que les humains sont faciles à duper, alors que la force potentielle remarquable que recèle le fait de croire en quelque chose, de croire qu’il est possible de provoquer un changement physique, est perdue. L’analyse communément admise, qui trahit une forme de cynisme perpétuant la séparation entre l’esprit et le corps, fait peu pour nous aider à avancer ou à nous mobiliser.


 ...................................... OFF LABEL Festival: The Art of the Placebo était le fruit d’une collaboration, pendant les Digital Art Weeks, entre le centre d’artistes Open Space, la Faculté des arts visuels et le Centre for Studies in Religion and Society de l’Université de Victoria, en Colombie-Britannique. Valentin was produced for inclusion in the ART OF THE PLACEBO, a Digital Art Weeks collaboration with Open Space, artists run center, and the Faculty of Visual Arts, and Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, at the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC The medical term placebo is primarily associated with deception and is often used to indicate that humans are easily fooled while the remarkable potential strength of believing in something bringing about physical change is lost. There can be seen in the more commonly held analysis a kind of cynicism that perpetuates a mind and body separation that does little to advance or engage us. Valentin, is a video installation that projects the artists own blood under an electronic microscope onto the gallery wall. Rather than feeling macabre or visceral, the video suggests something floral, or topological, it is seemingly impossible that this colour and activity could exist within the barrier of our own skin. The projected image spills over and is interrupted by a large cast iron urn of fresh cut flowers arranged in the Dutch vanitas tradition. Painted onto the wall is the shadow of the urn so that the image spills over the “real” urn. As such, Valentin uses the visual tropes of cliched romantic life conflated with their medical actualities and visual and material cultural references. The flurry of potential associations created by this orchestration focuses on sensorial experience as inseparable from desire, and fully intermixed with knowledge. .....|...... The Art of a Placebo, Curators: Art Clay (CHE) & Doug Jarvis (CAN) The Art of a Placebo examines the strange case of effects without cause, and speculations that are curiously imagined into existence. The exhibition is premised on a proposition -- a claim that has no guaranteed or verifiable meaning but which nevertheless attempts to provoke real engagement, both critical and imaginative. The exhibition is a placebo -- a magical moment of artistic provocation, creating imaginary instances of creative and contemplative substance. As strange as it is, placebos have always had something in common with art. Just as the pharmacy grew out of alchemical and apothecary practices, perhaps modern science in some way returns to its ancient roots with the consideration of placebos -- moments that proceed according to the rules of suspended disbelief -- instances where minds and bodies strategize to imaginary ends, despite the absence of demonstrable science. One might even say that placebos represent moments of defiance, magical off label possibilities of the unscientific that manifest despite the laws that say they shouldn't. Here the pharmacy connects to the contemporary art gallery in ways both metaphoric and literal. Both are places where one might go to be effected -- whether by the reality of consumption or by imaginary provocation, is perhaps of only secondary importance. Both provide compelling visual possibilities for the imagination, whether the fantasies of a colorful apothecary cure, or the white walls of representative display. And the effects are both physical and psychological as well; whether alterations of perception or of physiological constitution, what art and placebos have in common is a deep connection to the demands of human desire and the imagination. This exhibition presents a variety of artworks that explore the notion of effect -- real or imagined. In some cases powerful metaphors for the placebo powers of art, in other cases literal accounts of imagined alteration, The Art of a Placebo fuses electronic culture with artistic practice to interrogate the therapeutic, cathartic and cosmetic ideological impacts that are the result of art today. photo credit: Robert Lovett Photography