Indepth Arts News: |
"Rebecca S.: Video Installation - 808"
2004-09-01 until 2004-10-17
Saint-Gervais - Centre pour l'Image Contemporaine
With her video and installation work, Rebecca S. opens a door onto her intimate, dreamlike world where
fairytales, childhood memories and fragments of nightmares take on an aspect capable of translating the
artist’s unfathomable fantasies and unconscious, obsessive anxieties and fears. Viewers are quickly
engrossed by this alternate world, whose fantastic realism is sensual and ethereal, and by the hypnotic
rhythm of these fictions, which are normally mounted in a loop.
For her show at the Center for Contemporary Images, Rebecca S. is creating a new video installation. A
dual projection on either side of a single wooden screen allows two films to echo one another and interact
while perhaps leaving viewers quite overwhelmed . Such was the case for the installation Behind the
Screen, which the artist created with Bohdan Stehlik at Planet22 in Geneva. A light box showed the image
of a woman who seemed to be dragging something cumbersome behind her. The unwieldy thing turned out
to be a body, which could be made out in a second image projected on the rear of the first. The image kept
its mysteriousness nonetheless, even as one went behind the setting, as it were, and into the field of the
Often in Rebecca S.’s videos, the narrative framework is only suggested; the keys for sorting out the story’s
backdrop are always partial, leaving the way open to an important margin for viewers’ own interpretation.
Indeed, each time we think we have in hand the clue that will lead us through the mystery, or a certain
logic seems to be taking shape, a break, an improbable detail or a false connection once again upsets our
The iconographic vocabulary, the atmosphere or the titles of Rebecca S.’s films often point explicitly to the
kind of imagination that is found in fairytales and legends. For example, in De l’autre cote du miroir (From
the Other Side of the Mirror, a direct reference to the Alice books), the artist drags us along for a fruitless
and fearful trot down a forest path. The route chosen forces us to edge our way down the path and brush
up against the sides of a car with open doors and headlights on, and a dead animal lying on the ground
nearby. We are also made to retrace our steps tirelessly, incapable of reaching the refuge-chalet in the distance.
Like Alice in Wonderland, the more we think we are nearing the goal, the more we are actually moving
away from it. In Rebecca S.’s universe, the world is not always what it appears; it may in fact be
unconventional or inverted thanks to a subtle symmetry, as if seen through a mirror.
Thus, hybrid or partly transformed characters people worlds whose realism is noticeably unconventional:
a man-horse (Ou les soleils se levent—Where the Suns Rise), a horse-headed woman (Intime conviction—
Intimate Conviction), a giant spider (Cri de l’araignee—Cry of the Spider), and so on. For the setting of her
latest film, the artist has chosen a long dark labyrinthine hallway with numbered doors (an allusion to the
thriller genre and Stanley Kubrick’s Shining), in which mysterious figures stroll by, pop into the frame and
disappear, conveying a powerful symbolic weight and performing actions that are at times incomprehensible
and enigmatic. And suddenly, unnoticed, at a moment when we are occupied elsewhere, our connection
with reality begins to yield, give way, and a gentle transformation takes place…