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Mathilde Lavenne – „Cienie / Shadows”

In the spirit of her much-loved rule that everything happens for a reason, Mathilde Lavenne simply had to come to Wroclaw.

Wrocław as a city of ghosts and shadows; a city hiding something underneath. During her expeditions, the artist visited haunted, mysterious places oozing peculiar energy, like the Partisans’ Hill (Wzgórze Partyzantów) or surroundings of Sobótka, where one can find the remnants of ancient pagan cults and one of the strongest chakras in Poland. And right there, on the mountainside of Radunia, Mathilde met, among others, a shamaness from Guatemala. The efects o her searching will be shown in the Pokoyhof basement, starting from 16th December at 7pm.

WHAT? Postresidency exhibition of the works of Mathilde Lavenne entitled "Cienie / Shadows"
WHERE? Basement of Pokoyhof Passage, Świętego Antoniego Street 2/4 in Wroclaw
WHEN? 16.12.2016 - 30.12.2016
OPENING: 16.12.2016, 19:00
CURATORS TOUR: 22.12.2016 / 18:00 / Pokoyhof Passage
The exhibition is open daily from 12:00 to 20:00 (exept for 18.12.2016 and 24.12-26.12.2016)
Admittance freeBorn in 1982 in France, graduate of the École Supérieure d’Expression Plastique in Tourcoing, École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg and Le Fresnoy, Studio national des Arts Contemporains, she started her artistic practice with drawing, but then it evolved to digital technologies, such as video, interactive installations, computer graphics and animation. Mathilde is interested in tools, devices, objects resembling complex machines, images imitating mirrors and kaleidoscopes. Her work is characterized by a specific purity, clarity of form, sort of scientific discipline, a need to not so much organise the chaos, but to capture it for a moment and present a piece of it in the clearest possible manner.

She's interested in land art, landscape – as an object of observation, as well as interference, but also in esotericism, parapsychology, psychedelia. Shamanism is an interesting theme for her, she searches for people connected with spirits, ancestors and mystery; or discovering places of cult, different dimensions, parallel universes. The artist explores their nature and possibility to exist in the modern, digitized world.

Each one of Mathilde's projects is a journey, a voyage, an act of following her inner voice, calling or sign; uncovering her own history or adventure – layer after layer. While she traveled through raw and beautiful Scandinavian landscapes to find the Siberian Sami people and their shamans, she created a hypnotizing and extremely sensual road movie Focus on Infinity, in which she deliberates about endlessness, the eternal rhythm of nature and it's ability of continuous transformation. In the film, the artist becomes the shamaness who wanders to the heart of the glacier to enchant the present-day separation of man and nature.

Mathilde came to Wrocław thanks to Witold Gombrowicz. She got interested in Poland in the last few years after she read "Opętani [Posessed]" and "Cosmos" by this author, and as a result she came to the European Capital of Culture Wroclaw 2016 for two months long residency in the framework of Artist-in-Residence Programme A-i-R Wro.

Mathilde got here with an open mind, a vague idea of what our country looks like (think backyards of Nadodrze district, definitely before the revitalization) and a little information about the socio-political situation. Armed with a camera, a notebook, Gombrowicz, Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels's "The Morning of the Magicians" and a "life is being wrong" motto.

When she started exploring, letting the short and long trips set the rhythm, she learned the strange, post-war history of Wrocław and Lower Silesia – meaning the year 1945 and the complete "exchange" of the German population for Poles, and therefore lack of rooted identity of it's new citizens. That gave her the idea of Wrocław as a city of ghosts and shadows; a city hiding something underneath. During our shared expeditions, we visited haunted, mysterious places oozing peculiar energy, like the Partisans’ Hill (Wzgórze Partyzantów) or surroundings of Sobótka, where one can find the remnants of ancient pagan cults and one of the strongest chakras in Poland. And right there, on the mountainside of Radunia, Mathilde met a shamaness from Guatemala (!), who set up a Mayan horoscope for her.

From place to place, from topic to topic, from conversation to revelation – Mathilde was guided by Gombrowicz's arrows – signs, strange and inexplicable corelations of words, events, happenings and seemingly insignificant details. The artist decided to follow them to get behind the scenes of cosmos, that is Wrocław and its region. The exhibition is a record, an evidence and a mental map of this ritual of exploration driven by Gombrowicz's search of meaning and peculiarity in a free, intuitive, spontaneous and selective way. Convinced that the peculiarity lies not in paranormal phenomena, but in people, things, places and ordinary events.

Rejection of a simplified, black-and-white vision of the world is also present in the teachings of the Mayan shamaness, where light and darkness, good and evil, happiness and sadness are inseparable, permeating each other, or even being one. We are very interested in this non-obviousness. Therefore, while we find the extraordinary in the most ordinary, it is the paradise that may reveal our fears or turn out to be quite a different place than we imagined. "Shadows" are slipping somewhere between the light and darkness, past and present, between dimensions, "listening to the wicked whispers of life" and looking for the meaning in them.

It's not decided whether this project is finished, complete. Perhaps the trail of signs and arrows awaits Mathilde in a different part of the world and wasn't supposed to end here? But no doubt it is her story – or at least a part of it – that she found in Wrocław and we can explore it following the arrows that are visible only to us.

The art works contain an audio sample from the movie „Alice in den Städten” by Wim Wenders, Łukasz Jachemski reading a portion of the second chapter of „Cosmos” by Witold Gombrowicz and a sample of a lecture given by Nan Shuni Giron during the LAS Tribe Open Air festival.

Residency of Mathilde Lavenne was carried out in cooperation with Fundacja Art Transparent.

Curator of the exhibition: Marta Dziedziniewicz.
Coordination: Krzysztof Bielaszka.

Software: N O R M A L S.
Sound Design: Majordome.
Mixing: Road Studio.

Exhibition is realized in the framework of Artist-in-Residence Programme A-i-R Wro, which is subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

Gallery

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