October 13, 2018 - MRAC, Musée régional d’art contemporain Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée - Isabelle Cornaro: Blue Spill
October 13, 2018

MRAC, Musée régional d’art contemporain Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée

[1] Isabelle Cornaro, Subterranean, 2017. 16mm film transfered to digital and found animations, color, silent, 1 hour, 15 min. Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling, Paris; Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich; Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles. [2] Reproductions (Celebration #3), 2017. Photo: Annik WetterAcrylic spray painting on wall Variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling, Paris; Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich; Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles. [3] Celebration, 2013. 16mm film transfered to digital and found animations, color, silent, 5 hour, 45 min. Courtesy of the artist and Balice Hertling, Paris; Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich; Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles.

Isabelle Cornaro
Blue Spill
October 7, 2018–January 26, 2019

MRAC, Musée régional d’art contemporain Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée
146 avenue de la plage
34410 Serignan
France
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm,
Saturday–Sunday 1–6pm

T +33 4 67 32 33 05
museedartcontemporain@laregion.fr

mrac.laregion.fr
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For her first solo exhibition in a French museum, Isabelle Cornaro has taken over both floors of the MRAC Occitanie (Regional Museum of Contemporary Art) with Blue Spill, a project that has been specifically conceived for the venue. This invitation allows her to develop the organic links between her filming method and her pictorial and sculptural techniques.

Over the past 15 years, Isabelle Cornaro has explored the relationship between an object and its image, the original and its copy, in her efforts to deconstruct visual archetypes. An art historian by training, specialised in 16th century European Mannerism, Isabelle Cornaro draws inspiration from a vast field of artistic references, from the Baroque to the abstract, as well as Minimalism.

Her work is based on a mastery of collage which uses images and objects stemming from both scholarly and popular cultures. The artist explores the way in which these images and objects, always historically and culturally defined, influence our perception of the world. The Chinese vases, vintage jewels and Persian carpets that the artist gleans from flea markets, all refer to a popular culture that makes use of the iconography of luxury to produce objects that are accessible to everyone. These objects embody a potential which is as emotional as it is symbolic: they are extensions of ourselves, but also products of a Western capitalist domination over the rest of the world. Once collected, these objects are then arranged by the artist to serve as the foundation of an artistic process that expresses itself through film as well as painting and sculpture.

For her first exhibition in a French museum, Isabelle Cornaro has taken over both floors of the MRAC Occitanie with Blue Spill, a project that has been specifically conceived for the venue. This invitation gives her the opportunity to develop the organic links between her filming method and her pictorial and sculptural techniques. The exhibition establishes a dialogue between recent pieces and new productions, as well as between her own work and that of filmmakers, publicists and popular scientists. Film, and cinematography, through their relationship with images, colour and objects, has always been an inspiration for the artist, but in the Blue Spill project Isabelle Cornaro intensifies this relationship in a perambulation which is at once mental and physical. Moreover, the title of the exhibition makes reference to the world of cinema since it makes explicit use of a technical term (Blue Spill is a colour seepage that can appear in the hair of an actor placed in front of a blue chroma-key screen) and implicitly calls back to the title of David Lynch’s neo-noir film.

On the ground floor, Isabelle Cornaro presents a selection of her latest films in which she uses cinematographic techniques akin to the structural films of the 1960’s: syncopated editing or slow travelling shots that slide over the surface of cleverly-staged objects. The act of watching is reconstructed through several films shot in 16 mm and then transferred onto a digital medium. In their saturated use of colours, in their distortion of scales, the films place these familiar objects at a distance and push them towards abstraction, giving them a fetish-like and sensual dimension. Bathed in garish colours, at the same time seductive and repulsive, these familiar objects remind us of their true nature; trinkets of no value, except perhaps that of our shared emotions.

On this same floor, Isabelle Cornaro presents a dialogue between her own films and a selection of film excerpts found on the internet: popular science films, commercials or gore movies from the 1960’s. These films share a common origin—a mainstream entertainment culture that transforms objects into fetishes, using a gestural language and framing that are voluntarily excessive. Something almost unhealthy emerges from this obsessive relationship with objects; something close to abhorrent, which is linked to the decomposition and the objectification of the subject. As in Cornaro’s own films, the cinematic grammar is very simple here: long fixed or simple panoramic shots, made vibrant through expressionist light effects, bringing to light the obsessive and even concupiscent nature of our scrutiny.

On the upper floor, Isabelle Cornaro presents a series of paintings—both reproductions and enlargements of images taken from her films. In these spray paintings, made by projecting pigments onto the surface of the film, the artist deconstructs the animated image to produce a series of stills. In contrast with the digital colour generated by the films, these works are material projections of colour, creating a sensitive rendering which endows them with an immediate seductive appeal, a perceptual effect of disturbing beauty. Keeping the 16/9 aspect ratio of the film image, the spray paintings are displayed side-by-side, and arranged edge-to-edge, visually reproducing the scrolling images of a video editing system. The spray creates fuzziness, an absence of focus that dissolves and numbs the image, making it almost abstract, producing parallels with both the pointillism cherished by the impressionists and the pixelisation of digital images. This ambiguity between an object and its reproduction as an image is intensified by a series of enigmatic monoliths displayed face-to-face. Also covered with spray paint, they create a spatial oscillation that is just as much retinal as it is conceptual.

Between abstraction and portrayal, moving images and freeze-frames, Blue Spill presents us with a immersion into a singular universe, where the border between object and subject is constantly being reconfigured, where eroticism mingles with gore, seduction borders on repulsion, and formalism mixes with emotions.

Curator: Sandra Patron

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