groupshow Loin des yeux at OPTICA Montreal Canada

Julien Discrit
Claire Hannicq
Anouk Kruithof
Jacinthe Lessard-L.
Pétrel | Roumagnac (duo)
Alana Riley

Curator : Claire Moeder

from April 16th 2016 to June 11th 2016

Saturday, April 16

2 PM - Discussion with Julien Discrit and Anouk Kruithof - Moderated by Claire Moeder

3 PM to 6 PM - Opening

Loin des yeux engages the viewer in an exploration of the invisible. The exhibition encompasses a selection of photographic and video works in which the images—partial, ambivalent, subterranean—shy away from the gaze. It brings together artists Julien Discrit (France), Claire Hannicq (France), Anouk Kruithof (United States/Netherlands), Jacinthe Lessard-L. (Québec), Pétrel | Roumagnac (duo, Finland/France), and Alana Riley (Québec).

These artists experiment with visual blurrings that testify to the many layers of visibility. They shift our perception, leading (or losing) it, as hidden images oscillate between disappearance and revelation. Infiltrating the various existential possibilities, the exhibition explores peculiar strategies of dissimulation and resistance that have an immediate impact on our reading of the works.

The total or partial disappearance of the subject, access to it made nearly impossible by an intentional and parasitic blurring, is a recurring strategy. It calls for experiencing works of vacillating perception and in a constant state of tension, placing the viewer in a physically and reflexively ambiguous position. The exhibition thus introduces new relationships between the spectator and the works, which are removed or partially obscured. These variations spawn a latent frustration that forces viewers to apprehend the image differently, whether it be fixed or moving.

Anouk Kruithof is producing a series based on found photographs on which she applies the luminous impression of a flash. The glare from the iPhone, like an act of erasing or wiping memory, nonetheless produces hybrid, residual images.Jacinthe Lessard-L.’s work, for its part, suggests the use of a silver halide camera. She produces the elliptical and reversed image of a lens, drawing on the non-visual aspect of photography in order to examine its very nature. Of photography, Julien Discrit only preserves its luminous source. Using a spectrogram to isolate the light taken at a specific point in time and place, he creates an installation where the captured real now becomes an imageless image that refers solely to colour filtre.

In her video work, Alana Riley turns the digital camera back toward the luminous source in order to produce a liminal image at the limits of abstraction. And like Riley, Claire Hannicq generates intentionally dazzling effects that interrogate the act of photography. Both artists exploit the luminous potential of a filmed sequence or of a photograph arranged in the installation space to momentarily blur one’s sight and to instill doubt regarding the terms of the image’s existence. With a series of photographs that are available online for one time only, Hannicq also underscores the paradox of the image’s unique status and its reproducibility. Pétrel | Roumagnac’s book-object places the spectator in front of an absent image. The duo proposes a textual transcription of photographs and of image transformations produced in museum conservation facilities. The writing borrows its form from theatre, restoring images through stage directions and blocking without coming into view. On the whole, the exhibition brings contradictory images into play, images meant to dissolve at the moment of their appearance, while affirming the persistance of the photographic medium despite their fleeting nature: whether through disappearances or omissions, concealment or abstraction, the materiality and fragility of the image are never far way.

Through simple manipulations, sometimes combined with new technologies, the processes at work can suggest luminous explorations of the beginnings of photography and cinema. The artists here brought together fashion sensitive, variously tenuous or more self-assured connections with these experimentations in order to return to an accidental, spontaneous, or compound use of light as primary creative material. Loin des yeux does not propose a nostalgic rapport with the medium so much as a critical though playful deflection that enables us to redefine our relationship with images and their current modes of appearance. It invites us to reinvent a contemplation before unstable and defiant images and to begin a reflection on their mass production and proliferation in today’s visual culture.

Claire Moeder wishes to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for its financial support.