Christin Müller
☰   Texts DE

Questions to Petrel I Roumagnac (duo)

In the works of the artist duo Pétrel I Roumagnac (duo), photography quite literally captures the space. The French artists print their images and picture fragments on long paper webs, plexiglass discs, wooden boards and found objects and stage them as photo-scenic installations in the exhibition space. These stagings are interpretations of stories, mirrors of the surrounding architecture, which create visual illusions through the interplay with their new environment. In the course of the exhibition, the artists activate their installation by rearranging individual image objects and bringing them into new constellations. The resulting installations are a hybrid of fixed images and performative sculpture.

Christin Müller: How do you transform an idea into a photo-scenic piece?

Aurélie Pétrel: Our collaboration connects our individual artistic practices and research – for me it is photography and for Vincent it is the scenic disposition. Following the idea of ​​a "photographic disassembly", I experiment with the recomposition of images and their eternal evolution. By reconfiguring the original images or "latent images", I change the spatial relationships of the individual components, making new perspectives possible in different exhibition contexts.

Vincent Roumagnac: I am interested in thinking about the act of staging, from the dissolution of the discontinuity between stage and backstage area, to the enhancement of the scenic experience of traditionally anthropocentric theatre in Ancient Greece - particularly with regard to temporality and materiality. As a duo we incorporate these ideas of the decentralisation of images and stage into our projects in order to visualise and question the temporality of representation in a playful way. In this sense, we try to return the contemporary to its contemporaneity, that is to say, its potential of temporal parallelism, which, in our case, means infinite possibilities for combining the works. The transformations of our images and spatial dispositions visualise this idea by creating new compositions, displacements, decentralisations, as well as other deviations, discontinuities and the uncertainty of representation. These constant transformations of our work, which take place in a critical dialogue with the rules of the institutional context in which they are shown, continually address the same leading question: When does the work take place?

Christin Müller: Your installation will be activated and reactivated during the exhibition. What will happen and how will the perception of your work change?

Vincent Roumagnac: For the Biennale, we decided to work with two sources, one literary and one theatre text: an excerpt from the classic tragedy The Cretans by Euripides and Jorge Luis Borges’s short story The House of Asterion. In both works the Minotaur functions as the main mythological motif. We would like to continue engaging with the related questions concerning the aesthetic figure of the “monster”. For Aristotle, the monster represents the incomplete. Following Platon, it characterises the threat to the individual, the unity of the city, from where it appears systematically.

Aurélie Pétrel: Our photo-scenic pieces are monstrous, as they are not only hybrids, but also inherently incomplete. Through them we try to break open the immutability of the "one" by emphasising their changing nature either scenically or photographically. Our new work, exhibited at the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, will move over time from a position in the depot or warehouse, located in a visible corner in the back of the museum, into the exhibition space. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the work will multiply and visitors who are returning (or will be returning!) can follow the mysterious metamorphoses of the work through the course of its placements and recompositions in an institution that is spatially and temporally concluded.

Place of Publication
Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie Newsletter #9, 1.9.2017