INSTANTS SUSPENDUS or Rendering Light Visible
‘Color is merely an illusion.’
Art is not just about making compositions with objects, but also about making the things around us visible—or almost but not quite. That which we often fail to notice and would carelessly pass by: that is what art wants to draw attention to. Art not only works through sensory perception or the expression of feelings, but is also about appropriating space, objects or near-objects (the latter becoming more and more crucial in our time).
The interior and exterior of Things, as well as the tension and interaction between both, are without doubt a constant in Camille Truyffaut’s oeuvre. As a sort of haze or mist often hangs over her works—as if she can wrap them in a cloud—not rarely do we not know whether we are looking at the interior or exterior of her works.
What is crucial here, is being and becoming attentive (also as a mental process) to what is being shown and what can be seen, without the artist compulsively or loudly demanding this attention. Truyffaut’s oeuvre subtly seduces us with a discrete glance. Perception and the way we are able to perceive (and automatically ascribe meaning to them) are important. These works ask of their own accord for time to look at them, and time thus become one of their themes. Thus the artist confronts the spectator with seeing and not-seeing. We are not always sure what can be seen, or if there is ‘anything’ to be seen at all, because Truyffaut’s work is also about the non-tangible, that which is but cannot be touched or is beyond words, though it continues to be an ephemeral presence.
Light and its incidence not only define her sculptures (which are also attached to the wall and thus acquire the aura of a painting), but equally her etchings and works on paper. Unequivocalness is far from this art. Often various etchings are combined to create a single work. The end result is achieved by working meticulously, layer by layer, a process in which one layer gives shape to the next one, and as a logical consequence generates this next one. Textiles symbiotically combine with ceramics. The use of glass and textiles results in transparency. The reflection of the paper causes a certain incidence of light. Showing the edge of an etching leads to the final, delicately balanced work, with the viewer uncertain about which layer comes first. Is the etching glued on the glass, or vice versa? Truyffaut turns as it were the light and that which the light defines into something tactile. Even more: with her works she creates light and the incidence of light, its presence. The light reflects, but also shows us reflections about light.
The subtle and fragile equilibrium between revealing and concealing, between how the various techniques and materials embrace each other, is a way of thinking. Language in the form of titles refers to the philosophical and poetical layeredness of this artistic oeuvre. Color, too, has turned into an idea in Truyffaut’s oeuvre. Color doesn’t exist as a single layer, but in different layers, with the artist unemphatically pointing out that there’s always much more to be seen than what is shown at first glance. And that one image generates multiple readings, multiple ways of looking, of perceiving, of interpreting.
These works are in first instance about causing a presence to be felt. The more you feel this presence, the more you get to see—including of that which remains invisible. Truyffaut’s art confronts you with that which the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco—an artist who cannot be reduced to a single denominator and who is familiar with exploring the boundaries of perception, drawing, sculpture and installations—refers to as a ‘sense of time, space, action and situation.’
Traduction: Dirk Verbiest