Marine Hugonnier: The Secretary of the Invisible

Marine Hugonnier: The Secretary of the Invisible
Library Shelf Location 18.HUGO
Publication Date 2008

Marine Hugonnier: The Secretary of the Invisible, exhibition catalogue published to coincide with the exhibition at Max Wigram Gallery 12th June – 31 July, 2008.

Since 2001 Hugonnier’s practice has reconsidered the phenomenal world as a cultural construct, exploring how our visual apprehension of it is subject to ideological, political, and physical positioning. In this show photography, film and works on paper are presented within broader systems of signification drawn from her anthropological studies. This exhibition weaves together journeys – through literary images, geographical locations, the history of a given artwork, or to the origin of a cinematic style.

The first work in the exhibition stages a dialogue with Mallarmé’s last major poem - Un Coup de Des Jamais n’aboliera le Hasard (A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance). The mise-en-scène includes an open window, a spider and a performer dressed in a tuxedo who will change a solitary frame, containing a folded page of the poem, on the wall every hour. This poem was considered by Duchamp and Broodthaers as the birth of a ‘modern space’ and Hugonnier’s treatment of it similarly addresses the extension of time and space.

Recalling Mallarmé’s climatic imagery, of solitary plumes, abyss and souring altitudes, the ITCZ photographs capture momentary crystallisations of meteorological conditions. Taken in Mexico, during the passage of the International Tropical Convergence Zone,  the nebulous imagery is an indexical mark of the ungraspable.

The Restoration Project is an ongoing body of work in which the artist reclaims found paintings chosen on subjects that run throughout her practice, working with a restorer to alter aspects of the painting’s appearance. Each painting is accompanied by two reports – one describing the painting before alteration, one afterwards, recording its transformation.  The project examines the process of restoration as an endeavour spanning two moments in time, highlighting the temporality of an artwork and subtly changing the conditions of its visibility.

The show takes its title from the eponymous 24-minute film shot on the river Niger. The Secretary of the Invisible, which recently premiered at MAMCO, Geneva, is an homage to Jean Rouch, the French anthropologist and filmmaker whose 1955 film, Les Maîtres Fous (The Mad Masters) heralded the arrival of a “direct cinema” which set out to collapse the distance that separates the apprehending gaze (the camera) from its subject (the Other). Following Rouch, The Secretary of the Invisible was filmed in the historic homeland of the Songhai people. The theme of mimesis, metonymically represented by the chameleon, runs throughout the film. The reptile’s change of colour, its camouflage and subsequent invisibility are placed in parallel with the ability of the director to become an “invisible eye” and to remain in the service of this condition.

ISBN 9780955971303
Quantity 1
Pages 40
Formats Paperback, Exhibition Catalogue
Publisher Max Wigram Gallery, London
Related Artist Marine Hugonnier
Category Film and Artists' Moving Image
Keywords Travel, Tourism, Cinema
Related City/Region River Niger

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