Céline Vahsen, Margaux Bertier, Guillaume Bleret, Ann Veronica Janssens, Maxime Fauconnier, Patrick Carpentier

Crowding, like a fluttering bird, one sentence crosses the empty space between us.
– The Waves, Virginia Woolf

Artists Céline Vahsen, Margaux Bertier, Guillaume Bleret, Ann Veronica Janssens, Maxime Fauconnier, Patrick Carpentier
Curator Patrick Carpentier
Venue CCINQ, Brussels
Text Patrick Carpentier
All images Courtesy by the artists and CCINQ. Photo: Miguel Rózpide

One of the founding concepts behind Virginia Woolf’s unique novel entitled The Waves is undoubtedly that different planes of one conjoined consciousness can shed light on a perceived continuity. The book is a space where six figures seek to affirm their inner selves through physical and emotional experiences. It is where existences intersect. The idea of putting this singular Woolf novel at the centre of CCINQ’s curatorial project for an indefinite period of time came about when I discovered Maxime Fauconnier’s work The Waves (colors), to which I will return later. This is an attempt to escape the traditional novelistic narrative, to abandon the main character, to dismantle any activity that exists solely in order to produce a result. Virginia Woolf’s novel challenges the traditional rules of storytelling. Freed from meaning, language is empowered and takes on a different purpose. Light, elegant, timeless, recognisable, lost and found, all at once.

Céline Vahsen creates spaces that tell us about the passage of time. Representation is not called for here; the process itself is the form. Vahsen weaves natural materials that she dyes herself. She uses traditional techniques that have been passed on by reproducing knowledge, an accumulation of gestures handed down from woman to woman. The pattern is not predetermined, it is the result of chance. What we are looking at is a structure, an ordered, mathematical rhythm that seems to have been generated digitally. The essence of Céline Vahsen’s work is determined by the choice of thread, its colour, how it is assembled, and the relationship—that subtle interplay—between these elements. A universal quality unfolds in her tapestries, a particular form of presence that speaks what it leaves unsaid. A silence voiced only by abstraction.

It is interesting to see just how closely Vahsen’s work relates to the installation by Ann Veronica Janssens. How their vibrations are in tune. How our enquiring eyes delight in observing them together. Untitled (white glitter) by Janssens is made up of iridescent glitter thrown vigorously in a chosen direction. Here too, a gesture, a trajectory, an undecided motif, and the silence of abstraction that simply is. These works were added to the sound recorded by Guillaume Bleret at the Wiels marsh, capturing an instant of nocturnal activity there. An ultimate expression of the moment, a brief form which focuses on the world’s vibrations, another way of describing movement. These two works were also added to Maxime Fauconnier’s The Waves (colors), 3 typewritten sheets on A4 paper, soberly framed and containing the 675 names of colours cited by Woolf in her novel. A radical cutup that creates an incredibly powerful new text. The only light in the space is a suspended neon which takes on the same shape as the guidance system used by peregrine falcons to intercept their prey. This is a copy of one of many possible trajectories studied by a team of scientists at Stanford University. One particular journey across space among many 1 other options. It’s an echoes one of Virginia Woolf’s many obsessions, birds. She saw birds in her novel as “subconsciously present, performing their hidden tasks…”.

Lastly, Margaux Bertier presents a second edition of her “Well behaved women rarely make history” caps at CCINQ. A rebellious phrase inspired by the historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, which raises the questions: who makes history, what are the acts on which it is based, and above all, whose history are we talking about? The Waves is an experimental work, a kind of intermediary space, an airlock between two worlds: neither really a novel nor really a poem. A conflict-free narrative between two spaces. Not the world of dreams nor the world of yesterday, but a kind of sluice between two entities. Woolf pushed the freedom granted by her stream of consciousness as far as possible and made a break with the times, asking the reader to read differently.

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