Atelier A - Arte Creative
Frozen River, permanent sculpture in public space, Parco Rossa, San Vito Al Tagliamento, Italia
"Fermeur d'eau" permanent sculpture, CH Vauclaire, Montpon Ménestérol
Hejian City Museum China
Text about the residency in the Vauclaire Hospital
Waverings, or how experimenting with glass and other materials can reveal a place
Mathilde Caylou chose to experiment with glass because of its plastic, its physical properties and because of the many images that glass evokes. Glass wavers between fragility and strength, enabling her to explore the relationship between what is visible and invisible, hard and soft. It relates back to nature’s time, to the vegetal cycle. Mathilde Caylou’s work reflects how we experience a place, it retraces through imprints the landscapes that she explored. Although glass can make things visible, the artist uses it as a means to question our perception of space (for example, by mixing it with other materials).
As part of the program « Art Residencies in Dordogne », Mathilde Caylou was invited by the cultural agency of Dordogne-Périgord and the association Zap’art to work at the Hospital of Vauclaire de Montpon-Ménéstérol. There, Mathilde Caylou explored various ways to use glass, combining it with other materials. In doing so, she invited visitors to sharpen their gaze and to look differently at the place. Each artwork represents a space-time continuum, sensations that she had, while exploring this psychiatric hospital, its surroundings and the inside/outside divide . Glass expresses how psychic phenomena happen, how memory is constructed as much as how energy renews itself.
Her series, Perception, includes drawings and photographs that retrace her first steps in discovering the place. Mathilde Caylou explored the hospital's surroundings in order to find her bearings, to find her feet in this labyrinthine micro-village. In these 6 small artworks, she engraved her drawings on the glass, creating a discrepancy between them and the photographs that disturbs the gaze. While the drawing reveals the key spots of the land and highlights parts of the landscape, it also hides the image. In doing so, this series reveals the reminiscing mechanisms through which memories come back to us. Which images remain from our daily activities? Through her work, the artist goes back and forth between reality and its interpretation: her work seizes it and shows the role played by our senses in interpreting it.
A photograph in a bigger format represents the wood located between the hospital and the river. A drawing of the cloister which has been engraved in glass, lays on top of the photograph. This piece fascinates the visitor because of the light that it reflects. The outside space between the river and the wood as well as the architecture of this historical building are intertwined. Multiple lines that form a geometrical structure provoke a feeling of vertigo. Vanishing lines simultaneously take the gaze beyond the image to then bring it back to the center. Tension between openness and closure becomes visible. The whiteness of the photograph reinforces the impression that we are losing our bearings and brings about a wraithlike space, a disquieting moment where everything seems to be at the limit of the visible. As the light comes from below, it reveals the ground, fertile soil where new vegetation could grow. The artist creates new points of anchorage from which we can look at the landscape and the architecture. Waverings presents the skin of the landscape, a skin in suspension on which she laid suction cups made of glass. This pool of silicone evokes both the topography of a moving natural milieu and the tiles of the hospistal's floor. Each glass bell of varying sizes contains a small glass sculture, an object which is reminiscent of an encounter with a patient. Like treasure troves, these bubbles contain memories. They also remind us of glass containers used in medicine. Their shape evokes that of the stone, the cell, the seed, and signals the possibility of growth, of a new life, of rebirth. This work, stretched by suction cups, crystallizes a transformative moment in the landscape, a moment where that landscape seems to simultaenously fly up towards the sky and to fall back on the ground.
With Fermeur d'eau (Man closing the water) Mathilde Caylou combines two spaces which she discovered and where she led her invistigation. The artwork displays a map of the hospistal and under it, the surrounding landscape, the forest and watercourse. Two water networks overlap : the one controlled by men, the other one, that of the river, running free, threatening to flood its surroundings. Thanks to her technique, the artist was able to play with the norms of cartography. Blue bubbles symbolize water towers that bring water to the buildings, while the transparency of glass alludes to the water network and to containers of other liquids. Cuts in this network of glass evoke halts in the journey. This mural reveals to the visitor's gaze the immensity and complexity of space.
Mathilde Caylou's artworks thus display how space can be understood and landscape experienced. They are going back and forth between inside and outside, questioning how we feel and react to places. They act like tools that enable us to reflect on how we see our environment and on the ways in which we are affected by it.