TEXTS

GRAVITATION

Exhibition @ Musée Régional d'Art Contemporain languedoc-roussillon

1.07.2017 > 8.10.2017

Using the traditional mediums of painting and drawing, Pauline Zenk examines our individual and collective memory and our way of constructing our relationship with the world. Behind her work, the artist researches and collects images from the internet and magazines, as well as from public and private archives. Her paintings, which seek to bring out images entrenched in the collective memory, operate through a prolific dialogue with photography – and more broadly with images as produced in our contemporary societies.
The series Gravitation is inspired by archives from the Spanish migration to south-western France during the first half of the 20th century. The double meaning of the term ‘gravitation’ should be understood here as both the gravity of a complex human situation that drives populations to flee their country of origin, and as the earth’s gravity, that simultaneously keeps us on the ground, on earth, and at the same time produces movement, the ebb and flow, of both men and tides. And indeed, beyond the diversity of the subjects addressed by the artist in her different series, the body is at the core of the work: bodies in movement in group sporting activities with the series The difficulty of a first flying lesson (2016); female bodies naked on the internet (Nudes, Doppelgaenger) or exhausted bodies of migrants crossing the countrysides and searching for desirable new horizons. In this way Pauline Zenk proposes an empathetic point of view of our personal difficulty in existing, our complex relationship between originality and the ordinary, the public and the private.
The brushwork of the paint that is at first glance classical, makes use of its own limits, and the treatment is rough in places: a canvas cut in the centre, causing the female portrait shown to be truncated; another canvas is torn, re-enacting the symbolic rupture of these fates plagued by history. Each part of the artist’s research is approached through series, conventional postures are used until there are no more. More than ‘portraits’, for Pauline Zenk’s work the word should be ‘figures’, and therefore archetypes of our body as a metaphor for our relationship with the world, a relationship that endlessly oscillates between the desire for singularity and the need to be part of a group.

Marée Noire

Exhibition @ L'Abbaye de Léhon - Les Ateliers du Plessix-Madeuc

21.05.2016 > 29.05.2016

Pauline Zenk’s paintings have the quality of a forgotten memory that suddenly surfaces in our thoughts and then disappears so that the image remains blurred in front of our inner eye.
We recognize a place, a person or a situation, but a puzzling blank space remains, which makes us hold our pace. In Zenk’s paintings this feeling is evoked by a black dot, blurred parts of an image or blindfolded eyes.
Using her sensibilty for places, people and traditions Pauline Zenk uncovers stories and images deeply rooted in the collective memory of a community. She is inspired by photographs, which she re-interprets in her own way. e medium of photography freezes a moment, which might soon sink into oblivion. e camera pictures a scene without quite capturing the full meaning of the moment. In her paintings a short, ephermal moment, as frozen in by a camera, nds a timeless, eternal depiction.
e paintings in themselves seem relieved of all impermance and are instead timeless - radiating a great tranquility - like those days when a glaring sunlight slows down all movements.
At the beginning of her career, the artist worked with imagery of opposing origins: whilst working with photographs of her own family and childhood, she simultaneously worked with found images of anonymous protagonist stemming from the digital database of social networks. During the last years her travels and residencies have led her to Italy, Brazil and France - and now speci cally to Brittany, where she continued collecting and searching for stories and photographs. Cultures, places and people are not only mirrored in her choice of motives but are also re ected in her color palette : us the ever present warm grey of the granit stones of Brittany are the dominatig hue in her breton series.

Memoria Lucida

Exhibition @ Estudio Lamina, Sao Paulo

16.11.2013 > 15.12.2013

A fantastic reinvention of memory, of time, a visual in- vestigation of the past, and speci cally the confrontation with photographic archives of a city, a country or even a particular subject, always creates many critical questions about the fact that the subject, thinks from the construc- tion of our cultural and social identity from the images we are seeing even a philosophical reading about the role which the endless reproductions of images play in our daily lives.
In the exhibition Memory Lucida, the artist Pauline Zenk, more than shedding light on these issues is also inviting us to take a trip in time through her fantastic imagination.
And shing for past images, in this case, does not entail a contemporary interpretation, but the reinvention of it in the light of creative imagination.
Her inspiration came from the research of photographic images of the municipal le of the Mario de Andrade li- brary Sao Paulo, and therefore a certain collective mem- ory of Brazilian history, but her watercolours go beyond the national history and nd resonance in a greater collective memory, which could be even any European country where photography was invented and reached its greatest popularity in the early twentieth century.
To make us confront these images, Pauline, displaces us to another space for re ection - the fantastic imagination transubstantiated by the precious technique of watercol- our painting.
In addition to a visual archeology of social habits that a western industrialized society has given us, what the wa- tercolours by Pauline Zenk, are doing, they are trying to return us the poetic lyricism which we lost. e work re- minds us of our own speculations and fears about time, life and death where the persistence of memory and fan- tastic imagination become our primary defense against the burial of images to which we are subjected in con- temporary society today.

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