Anouk De Clercq
in coproduction with Contour Mechelen vzw
Lives in Brussels
| To Anouk De Clercq a work of video is a mix of all the arts: video, animation, music, architecture, etc. This is why she works with so many different artists. On Pang she collaborated with Australian musician and composer Stevie Wishart, who confronts medieval musical elements with contemporary sounds, dancer and choreographer Alix Eynaudi, photographer and cameraman Jorge Leon, costume designer Ann Weckx and Tom Kluyskens who worked on the animation of Lord of the Rings for two years. |
But for the first time De Clercq also incorporates painting: “I read Shakespeare’s Hamlet and found Ophelia. Later, walking through the Tate Gallery, I found a portrait of her and was touched by the way her her body lay in the dark cool water, her dress which flares out and is swallowed up by the green that surrounds her. It’s the sense of surrender that grips me. I wanted to make a video that is ented upon the pre-Rapahaelite sensitivity and – in view of the location of the Magdalene chapel – the portraits of Christian painting. Up until now I usually made abstract videos because I wanted to express thoughts and feelings in an indirect way. Now, I am also exploring the vulnerability of the figurative, in combination with filmed images and animation: painting with light and painting with pixels, all of it bathing in an unreal sensuality.”
The starting point is a series of questions she was struggling with. How do you form something that is formless? How do you portray silence, desire, surrender? Whether it’s a meditative painting or video, to her it’s about a similar sort of viewing: the image slowly develops in time and space, on the one hand through the layers of paint on a canvas, on the other, through filmed images that are digitally manipulated.
Central to the piece is a woman who evocates the ideal of beauty of the nineteenth century pre-Raphaelite painters: etherical, melancholic, soft but also cool, inaccesible. Afterwards the images are drawn out in order to come closer to the essence and at the same time to make them more magical. De Clerccq says the following about the creation process: “By adding small changes and shifts to the texture of the image, I can bring rhythm and develop a narrative structure. By emphasizing the light I can represent an emotion and impose a representation onto reality. The whole becomes a projection of what goes on in the mind of the woman.” The character becomes universally human. Anouk De Clercq very consciously involved composer Stevie Wishart, who is influenced by the mystical music of Hildegard von Bingen, of which the melody is simple, but the content complex. The electronica is combined with musical instruments, but also with the voice, pre-eminently an emotional instrument. The structure of the montage is that of breathing, cyclic and organic, simple, pure and powerful.
Anouk De Clercq: “The combination of extremes is the essence of this work: history and contemporary culture, medieval music and electronic sounds, filmed and digital images, body and mind, time and space.”