Martin Widmer

-------------------------------
Actuellement au centre pour la photographie de Genève
--------------------------------------------------

+Français+


- Martin Widmer - Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death -
In "un art de la disparition"
the Centre pour la photographie, Geneva

Opening: March 3th - 18h30
March 4th – May 8th, 2016

Centre de la photographie Genève
Bac – Bâtiment d’art contemporain
28, rue des Bains, CH – 1205 Genève
http://www.centrephotogeneve.ch

--------------------------------------------------


The Genevan artist Martin Widmer’s show titled “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death” is mainly organized around a series of photographs of mirrors and a text that was written under hypnosis. The series Object VII “Mirrors” runs counter to the popular belief that photography is a mirror. Widmer offers us the opposite hypothesis by photographing mirrors with neither his nor the camera’s eye appearing in the picture. The images shown at CPG feature the same mirror shot under a range of lighting. Widmer is attempting in this way to define the reality of an object that is seen most of the time without ever being really looked at. As a paradoxical object of our view, the mirror allows the artist to continue to pose the question that runs through his current work, “What does it mean to see?” This question is extended in a text by the artist that is available to visitors to the exhibition and in which a man visits a show whose only work of art, a photograph, resists being seen because it is concealed by reflections on the glass protecting it. Yet this “there’s nothing to see,” this “you can’t see anything,” seemingly the initial reaction of any real or fictional viewer standing before the works, is but the starting point of a visual adventure in which unexpected apparitions do in fact appear.



-----------------------------------------


Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death”, Centre de la photographie, Genève, 2016

Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death

By boat, the crossing hardly lasted ten minutes. But that morning, it seemed to me the trip took much longer. I was in the habit of standing on the forward deck and from there staring at the prow tirelessly cleaving the waves like scissors cutting through a giant sheet of paper.

The gallery stood a few blocks from Port-Noir in a residential neighborhood. A limousine was parked in front of the vast window, on which the title of the show, “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death“, was written in large white letters. A metal door opened to a corridor that led to a reception desk. No one was seated in the two chairs hidden behind the counter, which was piled with invitations and binders filled with documentation. Nevertheless I heard a “hello,” which must have been addressed to me, emanating from another room, perhaps a back office. Crossing the threshold separating the reception from the exhibition galleries, I folded and tucked away in my jacket pocket the introductory text of this rather mysteriously
titled event.

The space was bathed in a half-light. The blinds on the windows had been lowered and tilted. Here and there the half-light was slashed by series of long streaks of light. The venue was completely empty save for a small photograph hanging on one of the gallery walls. I heard my steps echoing in the room as I moved in closer.

The image in a vertical format was displayed in a skeleton key. Exaggeratedly large, the key seemed to want to distance the image as much as possible from the wall, perhaps with the aim of emphasizing in a deep and, in the end, illusory way the world separating them. For the frame they had chosen a thin polished aluminum rod that gleamed slightly and gave off a few flashes of light in the darkened space of the gallery. This type of frame, used more in hotels and restaurants, flanked by slightly kitsch posters, raised a slight doubt here in the viewer as to the status of the work of art in front of him.

It wasn’t easy to make out what was shown on the photograph since the glass protecting it gave off a multitude of reflections coming as much from the direct light of the windows opposite it as from the indirect light thrown off by the other gallery walls. The darkness, a bit deeper as well in that part of the gallery, meant additional difficulty for someone who might want to see something there.

Paradoxically, these glints, cuts and other accidents of light—this collection of revealed visual events on an image that was indeed resisting our gaze proved to be in itself
an intriguing situation. Was that the work of this show in the end?

Other elements also drew my attention. First, it was a ghost image. One, then two eyes, then part of a forehead, slowly emerged from an indistinct mass. The image vanished, then returned. It appeared in a more precise way on the glass before an especially dark area of the photograph. I now had before me a kind of expressionist-styled portrait. This sharply contrasting black-and-white image reminded me of those Scandinavian photographers at the turn of the twentieth century who lit their models in an astonishing, almost unreal way. That face was mine of course, but the image (can one speak of image here? Of vision?) that I saw was located in an in-between space that I had a hard time defining and which remained between photography, the glass, myself, and the venue around me. “Here’s what images and exhibitions are good for in the end!” I said to myself, “For revealing to us the viewers and the world around us!”

A glint on the glass intrigued me; the unity of the vision with the portrait was immediately rent. With this new element my eye set off once again on a path that should lead it to construct a new image. That image would crystalize at the end of a movement, a back-and-forth oscillation, then a fusion between my mind, imagination, and the real environment around me.

I concentrated on that trace of light. My eyes, dazzled at first, eventually adapted to it like a camera on which you closed the aperture a little. On the white surface there were details now, like little horizontal white lines. These were moving, undulating on a glistening surface that seemed horizontal. Those movements, like tremors, pleasantly hypnotized me. Lulled I lingered a few minutes before this abstract picture, this intoxicating all-over painting, little by little losing all notion of space and time. The dark shape of a boat appeared; it disrupted the shapes around it, jostled them. The lake, through the slats of the blinds behind me, was evidently reflected on the glass covering the photograph. I thought I could also make out the shore where I had just disembarked a few moments before. Nevertheless, I was suddenly prey to a doubt. Was I seeing these things really, or was I seeing them because I knew they could potentially be there, or even because I had seen them previously? Just how much was my mind, helped by its memory and imagination, completing the hints, the chaotic fragments of reality in order to distil a simple and intelligible image?

I turned on my heels with the aim of leaving. Before my eyes the overexposed image of the lake was floating still, indistinct, this time on one of the empty walls of the gallery.
I lowered my eyes a moment. Then quickly, without making a sound, I returned to the reception.

 

Martin Widmer, 2015


Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, Object VII “Mirrors” n°6, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, Object VII “Mirrors” n°6, 2016


Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, Object VII “Mirrors” n°2 - V2, 2016


Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, Object VII “Mirrors” n°2 - V2, 2016



Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, Object VII “Mirrors” n°1 - V3, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, Object VII “Mirrors” n°1 - V3, close-up, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death” , “Construction du dos quatre : sertir ”, 2016


Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, “Construction du dos quatre : sertir ”, close-up, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, “Construction du dos quatre : sertir ”, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death”, text, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death”, text, close-up, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death”, text, close-up, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death”, text, close-up, 2016

Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer, “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death”, text, 2016


Martin Widmer

Martin Widmer “Ambiguity Where Unforgotten Death”, Centre de la photographie, Genève, 2016

 

-Haut-