For her first solo show at the Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Marina Gadonneix presents three series in which she photographs existing systems, may they be related to the construction of an image in the studio (Après l’image, Landscapes) or to the reconstruction of physical phenomena (Phénomènes) in a laboratory. These documentary photographs are shot in situations where the set has become functional though holding unsettling relations with staging.

The show Reste eVidence Black-out becomes a paper chase where color and its computer coding (to which the RVB letters refer to - RGB in english) become the guiding thread.

Introducing the « Après l’image » series, the image picturing the X-rite color checker chart precisely puts forward a calibrating tool linked to digital imagery. « Après l’image » presents apparatuses through which works of art have passed in order to be photographed and reproduced in auction houses catalogs. If Alexander Calder, Lynne Cohen or Hiroshi Sugimoto’s works have deserted the image, the eye is drawn towards the clues pointing out to their passage : the caption in which the title of the work can be read, the pedestals or the black tape.

Similarities arise between what’s left of the apparatus and the work of art that was previously shot, as is shown in the photograph Untitled (Time exposed, Hiroshi Sugimoto), 2014. Another chart appears. It may have allowed a photographer to reproduce precisely the many shades of grey in Hiroshi Sugimoto’s portfolios : photographs of skylines at different times of day in various locations that draw the image towards abstraction and the act of shooting to the edge of vision.

The « Landscapes » also lead us towards a complete immersion into color. The green or blue Chroma-key screens are stripped of any presence. This exposed operation theatre gives way to large monochromes. Like in « Après l’image », clues of the apparatus appear throughout the series (duct-tape traces, pedestals, paper cut-outs) which also led to the sound piece « Blackout », a fiction written and red by Marcelline Delbecq. The word both describes a sudden dimming of lights as well as a temporary loss of memory and becomes a metaphor of the latency period, of the interstice, where a situation is devoid of its function and its protagonists, in order to visually reboot and convene abstraction.

Scientific aesthetics are closely linked to the origins of abstraction. As Pascal Rousseau reminds us « far from being torn from the world of phenomena, abstraction offers, from that point of view, a new translation to the visible, mainly dependent on the eye’s modern status in its close relation to the other senses. » On the fringes of the « Phénomènes » series, the image extracted from the book The forces of Nature : A Popular Study of Physical Phenomena (1872) by Amédée Guillemin revisits the spectrum of the various luminous sources. In this archival photograph taken from a chapter dedicated to light, color barges in again through scientific iconography. And it is precisely the physical world that is of interest to Marina Gadonneix in the « Phénomènes » series. The laboratory is conceived as a space of representation, of modeling and conceptualizing of physical phenomena (avalanches, lightning, meteorites, aurora borealis amongst others). The artist multiplies the various points of view by concentrating on the recreation of an aurora borealis, or by unveiling a laboratory in which lightning is created, by focusing on the most elementary modeling of a star or solar system. The gesture which consists in modeling a star is as precarious as a construction game. Incidentally, the artist associates a color game (red green blue) to these basic modeling as if to better relate to the the making of the image.

A kinship between the laboratory and the artist’s studio emerges from the «Phénomènes » series, as they are both places of discovery where imagination and experimentation can give way to serendipity.

Text by Audrey Illouz