The Staging of Experiences

Days pass: we interact, we buy, we login, we make dinner, we share, we speak.

What role are we playing in these exchanges? Why do many encounters remain static, identical, leaving no space for thought or connection? Days can play out like a formula repeatedly entered into a spreadsheet – CTRL+C, CTRL+V, CTRL+C, CTRL+V.

Les Territories, is currently presenting the work of two emerging artists, Maria Meinild and Émilie Franceschin, who both explore life and societal norms as purely a performance. By examining the daily behavioral patterns that are embedded in our notion of normalcy, the artists allow the questioning of these ideas.

Maria Meinild’s video, Curtain, explores life as a staged presentation of our expectations and preconceived ideas of what life is, and what it should be. Incorporating elements from both theatre and film, and expressed as a dialogue with slight variations and repetitions, she forces the viewer to question the theatrics of daily life, and how necessary the performance is to maintain one’s identity.

Maria’s short video features two main characters, at times reading from a script and at times speaking naturally. The female character repeats the phrase, “It takes solid preparation to provide spontaneity,” at different speeds and intonations – like she’s practising a line. Someone is introduced into the video as a “stranger” in the same way characters can be announced in theatre. The woman repeatedly corrects herself like she’s made a mistake on a line and is restarting the scene. Artificial visual creations scatter the set; there are oranges, skewered with cocktail umbrellas and arranged on a table. At Les Territories the video is projected onto a round surface that feels almost like you’re looking through a telescope or a pair of binoculars.

Émilie Franceschin’s series, Secrets, is presented in an adjacent room to Maria’s work, and is more tactile and tangible in its exhibition. It includes an assortment of objects, images and a video, which all culminated in a performance on Saturday June 20. The act called, I’ll Be Back Soon, saw the artist invite attendees to step into her journeys to understand her repeated struggles, real and imagined.

The objects created in advance of the performance are on display at Les Territoires for the duration of the exhibition. Her photographs, drawings and artifacts interact to reveal the work behind her performance, during the conception and before the execution. These objects offered audience members a new way of approaching the performance, which ultimately must be experienced. Viewers entered the act having seen these tangible materials and with a deeper understanding of the history and motivations that have driven the artist’s work. Émilie explores the body, its visceral quality, and intimate relationships with its surroundings. The performance, like a secret, is something that can’t be spoken – it must be experienced for it to become real and tangible.

The interactions between these two artists in the Les Territoires space is a fascinating one in that both approach this idea of life as performance in particularly unique, and moving, ways. Émilie’s idea draws its power from her very personal selection of artifacts, and her moving live performance. Maria’s approach is impactful by forcing a sense of detachment and unreality between the characters in her video. Additionally, her piece is scripted and produced in a way that presents many layers for audience interpretation.

Both exhibits are on display at Les Territoires in the Belgo Building until July 4, 2015.

Maria Meinild

Maria completed an MFA from the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen; she has also studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Working primarily in video, but also extending to photo, collage, and installation, she has exhibited at New Jörg and Kunstverein Das Weisse Haus in Vienna, at Fauna in Copenhagen, and at ReMap4 in Athens. She was born in Karlshamn, Sweden, and lives and works between Copenhagen and Vienna.

Émilie Franceschin

Émilie is a graduate of the Toulouse School of Fine Arts, and has presented at performance festivals in France, Italy, England, Belgium and Germany. She has also participated in residencies at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, and in Dusseldorf. Recently she participated in the European Museums Night at the Calbet Museum in France. She lives and works in Toulouse.

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