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The work of Natacha Nisic (born in Grenoble in 1976) continually explores the invisible, even magical relationship between images, words, interpretation, symbol and ritual. Her work interweaves links between stories, accounts of the past and the present, to reveal the complexities of the relationship between what is shown and what is hidden, the spoken and the unspoken. Natacha Nisic, who was awarded residencies at the Villa Kujoyama in 2001 and the Villa Medici in 2007, calls into question the nature of the image through various media: Super 8, 16 mm, video, photography and drawing. Her fixed and moving images function as substrata of memory, memory torn between its value as proof and its loss, and are all statements about the status of images and the possibilities of representation.
Continuing her meditation on the image process, the visible and the invisible, the document and narration, Natacha Nisic presents several installations that she has created since 1995, including Andrea in Conversation and f, two new works produced specifically for the exhibition. The exhibition begins with Catalogue de gestes, inviting the viewer to a reinterpretation of the perceptible world by juxtaposing intimate stories, historic or mythological.
In Indice Nikkei (2003-2013), a sound installation created in 2003 that has been set in space within the rooms of the Jeu de Paume, two soundproofed rooms echo each other. This new piece was created in collaboration with the creator and creator-performer Donatienne Michel-Dansac, who “sings” in an unusual vocal style the fluctuations of the money market indexes and the stock prices of companies affected by the latest crises. In the two strictly identical rooms, suffused in saturated color, a score of astonishing fragility is performed.
Andrea en conversation (2013 / produced by the Jeu de Paume, Seconde Vague Productions with the support of the sponsorship commission of the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques), a video installation consisting of nine screens, presents two characters who form an impossible couple: Andrea Kalff, a young Bavarian woman who became a Korean shaman in 2007, and Norbert Weber, a Benedictine missionary in Bavaria, who shot the first films of Korea (Im Lande der Morgenstille, 1927). Their common meeting with this distant land a century apart resulted for both of them in a deep inner revolution. Fascinated by the Koreans’ unique culture, Norbert Weber attempts to convert them, while the modern young woman from a Catholic background engages in a reverse conversation with Korea. Initiated by Kim Keumhwa, the great Korean shaman, Andrea is entrusted with ensuring the survival of this “national treasure,” this final pocket of cultural resistance, through her own conversion. The installation sets up a dialogue between their two extraordinary paths, thereby decentering our gaze. Following in the tracks of European colonial expansion and Christian evangelism, the nomination and conversion of a German shaman seems to be an astonishing turnaround. Shot in Bavaria, this work presents a fragmented vision of contemporary Korea in which the vestiges of different eras coexist, from the shamanic tradition to the consequences of the Cold War.
In e (2009), which means image in Japanese, the artist provides an account of a trip to northern Japan, near Fukushima, in search of an inaccessible region devastated by the earthquake in June 2008. Instead of images of the earthquake, Natacha Nisic uses ones depicting its impact on places and their inhabitants. This account takes the form of an installation with three projections operating alternately like a musical score. For this exhibition, the artist created a response to this work, entitled f, as in Fukushima (2013). Two years after the catastrophe, the artist went to Fukushima to look at the landscapes, the villages and the people who suffered from the devastation of the tsunami and the radiation from the power station. Thanks to a system consisting of a camera dolly 25 meters long and vertical mirrors 30 centimeters wide placed at different intervals, the artist enables the eye to take in at the same time the shot and the reverse shot, the before and the after. When the cameras passes in front of a mirror, a moving image of the reverse shot slides in a horizontal tracking shot in the opposite direction in the mirror. This creates, with no recourse to special effects, an interplay of one image within another, one movement in another, of a landscape and its vis-à-vis. The arrangement makes it possible to combine movements and spaces in a single view at one time.
© Jeu de Paume.