Virginie Otth, Isabelle Schiper, Yuki Shiraishi / space, spaces

27 February - 24th March 2016

Visual feeling, perception, mind space, Virginie Otth’s work is rooted in how we see reality. She has consulted philosophical texts about the processes involved in apprehending our material and conceptual environment. From still photographs to cinema, abstract design to installation, she explores the many ways in which we see the world. She is as interested in the images which our senses and brains transform, as in the mechanics of vision, lenses, light, colour. For this exhibition, Virginie Otth has imagined a space which she has then represented visually in different ways. The Versions d’un espace_01 installation seeks to disrupt perspective by simultaneously offering different views of a basic image. The image is an imagined space which resembles a dark and soundproofed room whose only link to reality is its shadowy felt covering. In Mental_view the space is photographed and framed, reminding us of screens and of a painting. The whole room is then tipped over in Allusion, a two-dimensional image achieved by using a black mirror. The splintering of space and of perception is also presented in the Elliptique installation. This project was for the Prix d'art intégré de ville de Nyon 2015. It breaks down the process of visual perception starting with a photograph of a site which constitutes the framework of the piece. A lens, an oval, a mirror and a hanging coloured light depicted in the painting, constitute our visualisation tools. With a different approach, the series of photographs entitled Versions_internal_dimension, shows the same arrangement of objects shown through different filters and explores the infinite ways of seeing.
In her drawings, Isabelle Schiper concentrates explosive and transformative energy. In firm lines applied one by one she depicts floating universes, blinding rays of light, expanding matter. This slow technique creates a strong but controlled tension which may seem ambiguous. The observer vacillates between the seductive and ordered lines, coloured or dark, and a sensation of danger which seems to hover over such perfection. The artist plays with this ambivalence in order to project a many-faceted message which swings between attraction and disquiet, stability and entropy. Each drawing is a world in itself, captured at the very moment of its mutation and emitting an energy which is crystallised in an instant. Whether it depicts a strange landscape or an explosion, each drawing offers an ephemeral fragility conveyed by the use of lines set in a large expanse of blank paper which gives body to the composition. From the documents collected during her research to the sketches which precede each series, Isabelle Schiper fleshes out her work step by step before it gives up its secrets.

The work of Yuki Shiraishi asks questions about origins, spacetime and its representations. This exhibition shows the results of research conducted by the artist over several years which will be followed by the creation of a monumental sculpture. Michèle Vicat (3Dots Water), the independent curator who has accompanied the artist in this process, was struck by the formal links between her first sketches and models of the expanding universe. This led Yuki Shiraishito to approach the art@CMS project which aims to encourage dialogue between art and science, coordinated by Michael Hoch at CERN. Through the CERN project the artist began a stimulating discussion with the physicist John Ellis which has helped her to decide on the final form of the monumental sculpture and the material which will be stainless steel. In the form of a straight trumpet over 8m long, this work entitled ‘Past Present Future Present’ will be exhibited on the floor. Its bell (the flared end of the “trumpet”) will face spectators and capture their reflections which will then be relayed into the mysterious depths of an apparently unending pipe. A prototype built by the Kunstgiesserei in St-Gall is shown here along with a series of drawings entitled ‘Dimension’ inspired by mathematical simulations of area, whose golden backgrounds and infinite spirals open a timeless window. Philosophical and mythical versions of the origins of the world complete the ensemble in a video installation. Long scrolls on which the artist has transcribed several versions of the creation of the universe in the original language as well as in algebraic formulae slowly disintegrate. Like DNA strings tumbling in dark water, these texts remind us that art has provided a material and metaphorical response over the ages to the same questions that physicists and mathematicians address through reasoning./NK