Profundidad de campo

Desde el 19 de diciembre 2019
al 16 de febrero 2020


Espacio: Nave 0

In the 1950s, the British psychoanalyst Marion Milner wrote in her book On Not Being Able to Paint of the frustration she felt every time she tried to paint or draw in accordance with the precepts she had been taught. To overcome this feeling, she developed a method of free drawing that sought to achieve a balance between lines in keeping with the rules of drawing and the individual’s unintentional control. This procedure – she explained – led her into a state of reverie, a kind of light slumber that allowed her to let herself go and to lose herself in artistic activity so long as she was in a safe environment to which she could return once she was back in a self-conscious state.

The works of Manon de Boer (1966, India) invite us to daydream, to wander through recollections and
to connect with the rhythms of our bodies through a dance of characters that the artist places on stage in
her filmed portraits of writers, actors, dancers, artists, thinkers and musicians who, in their own, controlled
spaces, practise and perform their skills while gradually revealing their temperament in front of the camera.

Her interest in the portrait centres, particularly in her recent works, on specific attention to the actions of dancers and musicians, revealing the ability of sound to transform the visual experience in an intense and direct manner. This approach to sound and to understanding it as both method and subject with the ability to affect our ways of seeing is crystallised in De Boer’s piece Dissonant (2010), in which the dancer Cynthia Loemij improvises from memory Eugène Ysaÿe’s Sonata for Solo Violin No. 2. After the listening, the movements of the dance and a screen that suddenly goes black on three occasions, indicating the moment when the reel of 16-mm film needs to be changed; an action lasting approximately one minute during which we hear this mechanical task being performed, along with the dancer’s rapid breathing. As a result, the limitations of the film support seem to coincide with the limitation of the dancer’s exhausted body, thereby becoming the central theme of the work.

This apparently poor match between what is seen and what is heard is intended to call into question the power of the capacity of images to assert the truth,as well as the mutable relationship between time and language. The attention is thus drawn to that sensation that cannot be filmed in images or described in words and which ultimately completes the portrait of the dancer Cynthia Loemij: the precise image of her dance and the memory of her body that is intuited during these moments when the screen goes black.

The voice and the issue of its representation is another theme that De Boer returns to repeatedly. Between the body and language, timbre and the word, the voice is the structural core of her work An Experiment in Leisure (2016-2019), shown in the central space of the room, the title of which is taken from a book by Marion Milner. De Boer asks a number of artists, dancers, actors and art historians to comment on some of the psychoanalyst’s ideas concerning the concept of ‘creativity’ and specifically her defence of creativity as a vital wellspring. “Words change when you say them repeatedly, and phrases start to take on unexpected meanings”, says one of the protagonist voices.

The disjointed fragments of their testimony alternate with images of their empty working spaces and with haunting natural landscapes that act as a backdrop and counterpoint to the narrative, in turn marked by the murmur of environmental sounds. The constructed interiors and natural landscapes are presented in this work as spaces of possibility to which one can return after daydreaming and in which time can be slowly be wasted in solitude without doing anything.

This state of intimate solitude features prominently in Oumi (2019), De Boer’s most recent work and the third part of her trilogy From nothing to something to something else, in which she introduces us to a teenager, Oumi, in a domestic interior space. We observe this single individual as she spends her time inventing percussion and balancing exercises, dancing and singing. The piece draws us into that time which, during our teenage years, seems to expand and grow dense, a time that is boring and spills out beyond the confines of the screen to confront us, as viewers, with our inner world, with our own images and sensations. Without appearing to want to do ‘something’, Oumi presents us with a place of possibilities in which there is an opportunity to do ‘something else’: to dance barefoot and to use a chair as a percussion instrument, and to proclaim the importance of having spaces to let it all out and to give free rein to small, private artistic gestures.
Oumi’s actions also bring us face to face withthe experience of film in a world saturated with visual stimuli, and they invite us to spend more time paying greater attention to the experiences of watching and listening to images, to allowing ourselves to be carried away, to doing nothing and to preparing our body for that contact with the creative act. To achieve this, we must enter into that state of reverie that Milner spoke of and repeat actions over and over again mechanically and, like Oumi, try different ways of satisfying our desires to learn and to connect with that world of the city of Brussels outside that we can see through the window.

Depth of Field is a programme that focuses on the production, screening and study of contemporary audiovisual practice.

The aim of Depth of Field is to offer an in-depth consideration of the work of audiovisual artists (those who produce their work in video format, those who engage in a dialogue with film and other media, and those whose work takes the form of installations with moving images of a very varied nature). Through the presentation of works by established and up-and-coming creators, this programme is intended to help to generate an ongoing space for dialogue in which the artists’ pieces complement each other and contribute to a better understanding of this medium.

Following the first season of the Depth of Field programme given over to violence, as addressed in the work of Meiro Koizumi and María Ruido, and a second season focusing on ethnography, with an exhibition of the work of Carlos Casas and Ana Vaz, this third season considers the abilit of music to alter visual experience by examining the artistic practice of Laida Lertxundi (25 October – 15 December) and Manon de Boer (19 December – 16 February 2020), two artists who combine conceptual rigour with sensory pleasure in their works.

December 2019 & january 2020
From Tuesday to Sunday & Holidays: 11-20h.

December 24th, 25th & 31st & January 1st y 6th: closed.
February 2020
From Tuesday to Thursday: 17-20h.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday & holidays: 12-20h

© Matadero Madrid

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