« Motivus » touch with one’s eyes
Interview between Nathalie Elemento and Fabienne Grasser-Fulchéri, director of the Espace de l’Art Concret at Mouans-Sartoux, 2019
On a day-to-day basis, between presence and absence, the conceptualisations of language naturally invite themselves to the reflection in order to construct a line of thought. Beyond a language opposition that could be perceived as dualistic, the braille writing offers an intermediate area of experience, it is about reflecting on the modes and manners of perception.
The overlap of the language construction and the braille use points silence and the translation of the latter while following the music scores’ musicality to introduce a sort of “gaze sonority”, similar to rhythm.
F.G-F : You have chosen to materialise this text through various means such as drawing or sculpture. How do you consider this offers and their relation to the spectator knowing that some of your work can be included and other not?
N.E : All the drawings come from a set entitled if someone speaks it becomes bright/touch with one’s eyes. We say to children “only touch with your eyes” afraid of them making fall or breaking an object.
If only, once grown up, we had this same capacity to touch with our eyes… To look, for my part, is not touching but rather touching intensively with our eyes, getting closer and closer, trying to understand, willing to embrace all the possibilities. In hindsight, distance is necessary to approach an object otherwise it means that we are the object, or at least at the same place. All is said, without distance we are doomed to have merely one view angle.
A drawing needs and perhaps even deserves, more distance. It is a way of thinking and a thought is continuously moving. With the braille drawings projects, even though the feeling experience cannot be touch-sensitive, the language construction gives another meaning and indicates a reading through the work’s composition.
Thus, the wanted implication, here, ascertains the drawings’ dimensions depending on the phrasing’s length.
My sculptures are sculptures of use, at the complete opposite of design, they are merely practicable rather than practical. They are objects of thought to share and some questions need to be raised, if one can say, with fingertips towards the feel or at least towards the desire to feel. It is another way to perceive. I am asking adults to touch with their eyes the drawings without being afraid of breaking the objects. It is what I mean when I say “sculptures of use” : it is both the visual use and the expected manner of the spectator to capture it in his gestures, his physical or mental position, his positioning in relation with the object’s position within the space or his thinking.
The base was born to adore what is statuary, yet, I do not want people to adore, I want them to love. I enjoy the idea that these sculptures in braille can be both visible and readable. All is a question of what reading one makes of what he sees: the position within the space close to architectural objects or the decorum. Thus, a painting can become a handrail, a rug can covers a room’s borders and not its centre anymore, a cardboard box can change its original purpose and become a sculpture….
F-G-F : You have produced an artwork which relates to a transmission stick that you exhibit along with its unfold version just as a score. It is the first time that you create an object with such density. Could you tell us a little more about the genesis of this work?
N.E : Does the room between the stick and the painting remain an intermediate space? Is it merely a movement? This work was conceived within the Motivus in four times project, it is both the pattern and the idea. “Motivation” comes from “ Motivus”, the pattern and “motivere”, the move.
Sculpture is absurd when it comes to movement. The process is a movement but when does one decide to say stop, it is now said: it is true. Very present at the atelier or in the mind, the movement disappears in aid of a pause and exhibition time to let merely the object appear.
F-G-F : To continue on this idea of movement, you even think about creating actual choreographies in relation to your sculptures. Where does this link with dance come from?
N.E : Dance has always been a great part of my life. From the petit bal perdu to contemporary dance, all types of dance, without any exception. It is a very rich language whose codes, structures and communication means that interest me are highly present .
Dance is a splendid drawing with a thousand dimensions within the space, a sculpture with schemes one can only guess, play with their structures, and speak without chatting. Dance has this capacity to go from architecture to painting while insisting on a body that suddenly becomes a typography. Its breadth is extreme but its connection to the living has, until now, scared me a little.
Motivation is the name of the project that follows up the path of the ‘Without any apparent pattern’ where the latter is drawn on a carpet and disappears to the aid of the motif redrawn by the physical directions we undertake and by our body while we wander. From walking to the pause time, then the jump and finally the danced step(s), it is about inviting to movements.
Motivation develops the idea of the ideal base, sculptural but which, in my approach and perspective of “sculpture of use”, remains firmly turned towards the human.
From a crossing point to an exhibition place, it is about giving to see but also to live both shared human and artistic situations: the game, the wandering. And even if sculpture remains for my part a drawn practice and a movement, I would definitively like to collaborate with choreographers. It would be incredible to succeed in realising objects to think about for dancing.
I am interested in other silences whose, alone, I don’t or I cannot talk about: the frozen frames, breaks, hesitations, gaps, avoided gazes, backs which are turned, eyes looking down, abandonments … Other silences which can merely exist in the gathering of people, the encounter, and that I would like to invite to share and to dance.