Interviews


CLAIRE DUCÊNE | IMAGINARY MUSEUM | BY DAVIS LISBOA

What/who inspired the work?

When I discovered the Mini Davis Lisboa Museum I immediately thought about the mental image process. Exhibiting such process in the smallest possible place can be interpreted as an infinite place where the viewer would be immersed in thousands of multifaceted images, a kind of infinity where the viewer cannot escape. By appealing to my own memory in a random-access way, I wanted to get lost in my own reminiscences. I would say it’s like a labyrinth where there is no door to get out. Like a mental representation of an unlimited place, somewhere undefined.
Gaston Bachelard defined the dream house as a suitable place and vector for dreams. The imaginary museum is also kind of oneiric since it doesn’t really exist… It is rather a fantasy elaborated by multiple personalities and fictions. Somehow, memory is like a huge labyrinth where you get lost in our past.
This spaces are multiplied like the analogic memory and the remembering processes. Spaces are multiple and obsessive.
The imaginary museum also evokes André Malraux’s work. The French writer made his own mental catalogue of artworks. Paintings, sculptures, drawings that were placed in his memory to constitute his collection of artistic souvenirs.
And of course Belgian surrealism has always been a major influence.

What do you hope its viewers will feel/think?

Claire Ducène:
I hope the viewers will make the mental and the physical journey through their own images and try to remember their own past, making their own mental labyrinth. Which person or objects or setting they will choose to build an imaginary place. A long time ago, the Ancients in the Antics worked with the concept of a Palace of Memory to activate memories. The system was used to remember objects, concepts, people, words, and so on. It’s actually quite simple to think about a place you know very well, a place like your childhood home. When you enter this space, you can choose how objects and concepts will be displayed. Every time you will remember the path, you’ll also remember the things and words inside that place. That was one of the great mnemonic principles of the ancients.
I’d like the visitors to try and get lost by remembering places that are into his own mental storage, his own myriad of thoughts. The results of these mental processes give way to stories, whether real or fictitious that blur the boundaries between reality and fiction.

Why did you choose the medium, subject matter, style?

Claire Ducène:
For the Davis Museum, I wanted to reproduce the model of the inside of a museum where you find small images. You can travel through sculpture and discover a mental travel in the visual work. The idea is that of the museum within a museum. When you mentally go through the inside of the labyrinth, you discover images printed on Plexiglas. A Plexiglas that looks as fragile as glass. It can break. Images are so transparent they disappear.
The complementary piece of artwork is a video of the mental journey of a character wandering through the inside of a 3D reproduction of the imaginary museum. That character builds up his own mental space and observes the photographs, images that activate its memory and allows to let his imagination free in a space that doesn’t really exist, on the border between reality and fiction.
It is about forgetting, dreaming, unconsciousness and stopping time.
To activate the memory and to go back in the past, I retrospect settings, fictitious places from my own collection of memories. In the video, the audience discovers many media with different rhythms from slow to fast and where painted, drawn and electronical images communicate with one another. Images are blurry, hazy, and sometimes almost illegible. Time passes by and the images, people and places progressively fade out.


GARY DUEHR | UNKNOWN SUSPECTS & MOUSE | BY DAVIS LISBOA

What/who inspired the work?

Unknown Suspects was inspired by the media obsession with foreign-looking suspects whenever there is a terrorist incident - a kind of fear-mongering. Mouse was inspired by the mundanity of everyday objects.

What do you hope its viewers will feel/think?

I hope Suspects provokes a bit of critical thinking, and Mouse is a fairly deadpan joke about obsolete technology and our fetishism.

Why did you choose the medium, subject matter, style?

For Suspects I worked directly from the web and translated to stencils and spray graphite, to make the images more "real." For Mouse, cement is pretty useless in terms of technology, so it's part of the joke.