Marine Hugonnier

Marine Hugonnier

Malmö Konsthall

The Secretary of the Invisible

January 15, 2009

Marine Hugonnier
22 January – 22 March 2009

S:t Johannesgatan 7 

Box 17127 

200 10 Malmö

Marine Hugonnier (b. 1969 in Paris, lives in London/Paris)

Marine Hugonnier works predominantly with film and photography. Her practice is infused by a long standing interest in the anthropology of images.

At Malmö Konsthall Hugonnier will screen her new film The Secretary of the Invisible which was shot on the river Niger next to the city of Niamey as a tribute to Jean Rouch, the famous French anthropologist and film director.

This film features Damouré Zika and Moussa Hamidou, who were Jean Rouch’s principle actor and sound engineer, respectively. The film is set during ‘Cinema day’, a day during which people in Niamey could see as much films as they want with only one ticket. This day also coincides with an unofficial ‘Holley’ ceremony, an animist Songhai ritual. Damouré and Moussa embark on a pirogue and head upstream to the place where the ceremony is due to take place. As they go along, they recount stories and talk about cinema. During the trip the director swaps a small radio for a mask from South West Africa which soon is to be understood as the key event in the film. This mask, which is a vehicle to enable man to embrace the spirit of an animal, once submitted to the ‘Holley’ ceremony reveals the figure of a chameleon. The film was made in homage to Jean Rouch and the chameleon stands as a symbol for the ‘author/director’ in general. The reptile’s change of colour; his invisibility and ability for camouflage are placed in parallel with the ability of the director and his camera to become the ‘invisible eye’ and to remain in the service of this condition.

The title The Secretary of the Invisible is an expression used by the character, Elisabeth Costello in J. M. Coetzee’s book entitled ‘Elisabeth Costello’. An expression Coetzee, in turn, borrowed from the famous polish poet Czesław Miłosz.

Along this new film Marine Hugonnier will present Chameleon (Portrait Of The Author) and The Imaginary Realities (A Reportage) / La Radio which are two elements recalling moments of the film.

In the second room of the show two new accordion books untitled Ouvrage Geographique N4 and N5 will be displayed. Each of these books is a companion to the following films: The Secretary Of the Invisible and The Museum of Mankind which is a film which was never made. They are composed of images collected before, during and after these films were made. Their accordion shape allows one to edit the book’s content in 1000 different ways.

That room will also show the The Imaginary Realities (A reportage) / 1 to 9 which is a ensemble of nine works made of photographs and collages. These images were photographed from the catalogue Chefs d’Oeuvre du Musee de l’Homme, published in Paris, in 1965. They are shown along with original collages made by the artist. This ensemble is a work in progress. Any addition to this reportage will form a body of work that attemps to constitute a fictionnal geography, an ideal museum or a “Musee-Monde”.

Press preview Wednesday January 21 at 11 a.m.
Opening Wednesday January 21, 7-9 p.m.

For further information, please contact
Lena Leeb-Lundberg +46 40 34 12 94 or

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Malmö Konsthall
January 15, 2009

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