The 2012 exhibition entitled Devant un champ obscur confronted two of Corinne Mercadier’s series: Solo, representing people and objects staged in deserted geometrized spaces, and Black Screen, a series of negative images of ghostly interiors.
Le ciel commence ici follows in the footstep of Solo, but also of La Suite d’Arles, a 2003 series shot on the roofs of Arles. The photographs of this new series were also taken on roofs. Each image probes a different architecture, history and panorama on the landscape around: so far, the artist has explored Deauville, the Observatoire de Paris, the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a couple of roofs around the Opera de Paris, and the Château de Chambord.
As for the title, Le ciel commence ici, it echoes another of the artist’ series entitled Où commence le ciel? (1995-1996) as a playful answer given twenty years later.
Corinne Mercadier confesses to hold an all at once poetical, childish and exhilarating fascination for heights. The answer brought by Le ciel commence ici represents a crucial step for the artist: it marks the search for a geographical point of view, as well as, more importantly, an existential one.
The sky is a defining element of Corinne Mercadier’s photography: the constellations and symbolic organization of outer spaces are a source of daydream for the artist, and they have been inspiring her photographs and drawings for a long time. Her approach cannot but bring to mind the philosophy of Gaston Bachelard, since air is for her neither nothing, nor invisible or inexistent, but on the contrary, a material reality.
In Corinne Mercadier’s world, objects are thrown up in the air, spheres cross over space, and geometrical figures are imprinted on the ground while motionless dancers seem to move. Immobility and fluidity. The objects suspended in the air and the ones flying at high speed both evoke instantaneity and duration, two critical notions of the essence of photography.
The artist makes these objects herself. Her painted plastic balloons and assembled polystyrene balls are reminiscent of constellations, while her white ribbon icosahedron recalls Durer and his relation to knowledge.
Despite their sharpness and familiarity, all of these objects appear mysterious. Their rigorous staging combined with the part of chance involved in the shooting process turn them into celestial objects.
As for the models, most of the time, they are professional dancers. Another paradox is that they are shot motionless yet seem to be dancing. Two temporalities overlap: the one of the dancers’ bodies, managed by the artist, and the one of the objects, reversely governed by the person who randomly threw them, by winds, or changes of light.
At the end, the photographs Corinne Mercadier chooses to keep are precisely the ones for which models, objects, actions and settings meet and create one coherent image that seem absolutely necessary and unique, like planets aligning. About her art, the artist often resorts to the vocabulary of cinema and talks about sets: it is all about staging architecture, dancers and objects together. However, it is not strictly speaking like in a play, a choreography or a movie, since photography is not an art of continuity. The artist intends to bring the viewer in her approach of unexplored places; or, in other terms, to focus our perception and capture images that a place could project. It is neither a vision of the world, nor an emphatic «Weltanschaung», but rather a sort of self-portrait of the mind. To put it differently, Corinne Mercadier attempts to create something like a magnetic field.