Once A Closely Guarded Secret
Mai 24 – June 11, 2019
De Ateliers, Amsterdam, NL

Suspended from the ceiling, Clémence de La Tour du Pin’s succession of fabric works speak several languages at once. They’re cousins of curtains or veils – with light filtering complexly and chancily through them as the viewer moves – but also paintings, and indeed they emerge from a painting practice. But, placed before a big window in a high-ceilinged room, they also connect the viewer to somewhere else, and a cluster of interlinked concepts. In making her work, de La Tour du Pin draws on a bevy of stimuli, from a family home fallen into disrepair to the Maysles Brothers’ 1975 documentary Grey Gardens; from Sally Potter’s 1992 film version of Orlando, with its interlinked movements through time and bodily change, to the brownish grotesquery in the 2003 French cartoon The Triplets of Belleville. De La Tour du Pin’s hung works, punctured with a choreography of holes, suggest time as a creator as well as a destroyer, an aesthetic collaborator.

While these works might be read, at first blush, in relation to the history of abstraction, they won’t be contained by such a reading. They are visual works, for instance, that also have an olfactory element: a concocted blend of pig’s ear and orange flower that harkens back to the seventeenth century, when floral notes were used to cover bad odours, bodily ailments. For de La Tour du Pin, evidently all is flux and entropy, so it fits that any interpretation should, as it occurs, already feel to be merging with another one and as much as these works are materialist, they are not wholly worldly. The artist finds resonances in writer and critic Elvia Wilk’s conception of ‘the weird divine’, encounters with the unknowable; and in Patricia MacCormack’s essay ‘Mucous, Monsters and Angels’. And pointedly her works – particularly when one views them, head-on, as a series of layers, or brinks – speak to something on the fringe of articulation: an intermingling of elegance and collapse where architecture and the body meet.

Martin Herbert, 2019

Installation view of Anges des crevasses, De Ateliers, Amsterdam, NL