With a spatial layout deliberately designed to include the viewer, not only as a mere physical presence but also as a subject with a specific human condition, in this triptych Geneviève Cadieux condenses some of the fundamental elements that have characterised her work over the years, not only in terms of the use of the photographic image by artists as the structuring element of a specific system for signifying and visualising the world, which has been so widespread since the end of the 1980s, but also in terms of the host of relationships provided by the representation space, the presentation and exhibition space of the works, the reformulation and activation of the necessary links with the viewer, together with a constant narrative presence of memory (rather than memories), on the basis of a kind of personal writing expressed through the generic image of the body, the face and the skin as places for transforming and heightening people’s emotions and existence. Thus from the experience of the fragment, of anguish, of otherness and pain, Cadieux constructs a powerful, rounded visual device that broadens the architectural space, incorporates the viewer as a way of activating meanings, and seems to take from a certain film aesthetic the feeling of both large-format projection and elliptical narrative sequence. The first image (in black and white) of Hear Me with Your Eyes is taken from a 1982 film and shows an enlarged close-up of the face of a woman in some pain. In the second image, taken several years later, the face is caught in a more convulsive, suffering gesture, which is presented superimposed at two moments in time and made visibly poignant by the intensity of the colour. In the third image, black-and-white again, a huge extreme close-up of the woman’s slightly parted lips (almost like another eye with an anguished, questioning gaze) restates, in a quite particular sequential narrative, the conversion of plausible groans, murmurs, stifled screams, cries for help, and sounds of pain (so explicit in other works by the artist) into a pure, crushing, disturbing visuality that elicits multiple intensifications of meaning on the part of viewers (recall the title: Hear Me with Your Eyes). The skin is shown to us directly as a model for writing, and the photographic support is used as a contemporary staging of the territory where meaning is truly produced in artistic practice: experience.
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