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"Rebecca S.: Video Installation - 808"
2004-09-01 until 2004-10-17
Saint-Gervais - Centre pour l'Image Contemporaine
Geneve, , CH

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 camera.

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 convictions.

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…


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