If there’s one thing Cyprien Gaillard couldn’t do without, it’s movement: the movement of the subjects he captures; the inner movements of the image; the slight yet inevitable movement required by the act of watching; and of course his own, relentless being on the move. Standing in front of his work, when you’d think you’re looking at a sculpture, a collage, a photograph, you’re actually peeking into a black hole, where time and space collapse. You feel your gaze tighten, an inner tension stretching from the cornea out, investing your whole brain and body in the task of processing the image before you.
Even when that image is static, feeling almost heavy for how layered it is and how clearly it marks the space, the waving motion propagating from it is subtle but persistent. What you don’t expect is the backwash, as the waves start bouncing back, generating uncontrolled currents. The metric is lost. I’m in deadlock. And as usual, I resist. My background taught me that I can always rely on the marginal space, navigate the edges and find a narrow path that allows for utter freedom of expression while also serving as the perfect escape route. Circling the drain, one would say. Perhaps just before the downfall.
But in black holes, it’s right there on the edges that the horizon of events manifests itself, and this is where one should focus. Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970), Nancy Holt and Gordon Matta Clark, Marcel Duchamp’s Rotoreliefs, the in-situ works by Daniel Buren—my background throws various references at me, but I suspect they won’t suffice. There is a perturbing element to Gaillard’s creative efforts, a dramatic depth provided by the subterranean/subconscious excavation that generates them, which makes it slip away from the networks of familiar references they seemingly evoke. This is especially true with regard to the artist’s most disconcerting production: his films and video works.