ARCHIVE AS MATERIAL
in two ways, directly and from behind, leading to a series of different scenarios: full image, perforated image, the white trembling under the effect of condensation, the remaining black, fragments of a found image and a missing image. The installation Zombies (2102), conceived for a Parisian school, also produces a third image, this time from a digital source. A video shows two palm trees rotating like carousels (as in the earlier About Shangri
La (2010). Their edges touch and bring forth a third palm tree, like a ghost. These trees are projected on a slate board, like a dream or a nightmare, or rather, a hallucination. The title of the work is that of a collection of short stories by Bret Easton Ellis, one of Sauvage’s many West Coast references. Writer Thomas Pynchon is the hero of another piece, and conceptual artist William Leavitt is frequently quoted. Sauvage goes deep into his images, not so much dissecting them as opening them up with a magic wand.
TIME IN THE IMAGE
Time is another theme. The carousels of slides spinning side by side and the images rotating on their axes, as in Zom
bies, evoke the interlocking cogs of clocks. As Sauvage points out, with a carousel the eye has access to the image only from the side, never from the center. Just as we cannot go inside time. And time is what Sauvage tries to integrate into his images. For
Monument (2013), made with graphic designer Lionel Cattelan, he chose a postcard from the 1970s showing a concrete building standing in a garden in Bavaria, with parasols on every balcony—it is a sunny day. The installation consists of a blow-up of the postcard, onto which are projected sixty-four rectangles recomposing the image at different times. The ensemble is completed by a book, the pages of which are fragments of the original image, their pixellated forms barely recognizable. This trembling of the image is also the trembling of time. For Sauvage, archives are often the raw material. A good example is Desert Magazine, a very surprising American publication that came out from 1937 to 1985, which inspired a series. The editorial of the first issue begins with the words “There are two deserts”; in Sauvage’s performances, they are read by two people. Then the rest of the text, which evokes the difference between a perceived landscape and an experienced one, is then played in a form that is increasingly distorted by the feedback from the space where it was recorded (the principle comes from I’m sit-
ting in a room, a 1969 piece by composer Alvin Lucier). At the same time, the two performers pile transparencies with the text written on them onto the plate of an overhead projector. The image thickens as the voices blur, sound is transformed into space. In another work, two magazine covers are projected into these advertising supports consisting of spinning triangular bars onto which images are projected. A new kind of carousel. These are covered with reflective glass and the camera movements deform the images into a kaleidoscopic effect. This video is projected onto wallpaper with stripes that sometimes merge with those of the image. A small palm tree leans against the wall, a distant echo of that dream version of California. Archives were also Sauvage’s working material during his residency at the HEC business school campus outside Paris, where he discovered an old hotel in the brutalist style now hidden behind a bland façade. His research led him to create a big on-site installation: two areca palms from Madagascar (plants used to feed corporate offices with oxygen) were installed in pots made of black MDF, in the shape of the hotel. A 3D reconstitution of the hotel was projected onto the wall. A standard lamp provided the lighting. “This must be the place,” says the Talking Heads song which gives its title to this ghostly ensemble. But what place? The solar light of Sauvage’s images burns all the more brightly for the shadows that threaten.
Ci-dessus / above: « Il y a deux déserts-édito ». 2013. Installation perforée conçue en collaboration avec Jérémie Sauvage. Double rétro-projection. Série de huit impressions sur rodoïdes. “There are two deserts.” Double overhead projection Ci-dessous / below: « Zombies ». 2012. Installation in situ. Double vidéo-projection sur tableau d’ardoise. 600 x 200 cm. Deux animations 3D Format spécifique. 40s. Salle de classe, gélatine. « Primary Green ». 2012. Exposition « Été indien » Cité scolaire François Villon, Paris, 2012.