The impression imposes itself at once, with the force of fact. Even if it is not easy to pinpoint precisely what prompts it: the recognition of a rigorous, limpid language that is nonetheless oddly elliptical; an impression of simplicity and clarity, yet also of rare density and depth; the sensation of experiencing a moment that is unique and particular, but still curiously close and familiar; a sense of silent, quiet strangeness devoid of any artifice or artificiality. In other words, a highly personal way of giving light, value and nuance to what occurs in our lives and within our sight. This is how Corinne Mercadier’s oeuvre appears to us: a body of work whose magnitude and importance have been amply demonstrated, as has her singular contribution to the field of contemporary photography. The Polaroid’s recent demise might have signaled the end of her photographic work. But such was not the case, as her latest series attest. For one thing, Mercadier’s artistic production embraces more than one discipline and more than one medium: her drawings are a discreet yet essential part of her practice. Without a doubt, drawing has always shaped and defined Mercadier’s photographic work. What’s more, from one series to the next, her photography has progressively embraced problematics different from those posed by the Polaroid, starting with the series Une fois et pas plus and, more particularly, the Suite d’Arles. Structured according to successive sequences of horizontal lines barely disrupted by floating objects – sculptures that look like fabric wrappings; simple, taut, articulated forms; objects reduced to their essential geometric volumes – usually rendered in black and white, her images are no longer constructed on blocks of time and moments of space but on successive temporalities within a single space, like the regular planes of an antique theatre. And so each form, each volume, each silhouette and each gesture seems to play a role – play its own role – within the photographic space where Mercadier has thrust them. Absent the Polaroid, these principles have become even more independent and have gained in density and depth, if not in metaphysics. As in the series Black Screen, which presents abandoned spaces where the faces of walls and the surfaces of objects are made to appear almost phosphorescent. As if, after all human activity had deserted them, these places had come back to live, in their recovered, re-appropriated architectural envelopes, a life of quiet intensity. And everything that they had kept within themselves they seem now to diffuse in a radiant, otherworldly light that is neither diurnal nor nocturnal, but somehow lunar. n the series entitled Solo, between the final movements of this connection linking humans with space, those abstract forms become manifest, those strange figures that Corinne Mercadier had already explored in Une fois et pas plus, the Suite d’Arles, Longue distance and Le Huit envolé. As if, within dichotomies composed of eternity/event, deceleration/acceleration, resistance/renunciation, it were a question of stretching the space, the better to accentuate the inwardness of these silhouettes, which aimlessly wander and soliloquize in the void; a question of stretching time, too, through the unexpected presence of an object that defies gravity. To the interval between this reality effect and the protagonist(s) corresponds, of course, the inner distance between humans and their questions, doubts, stubbornness, dreams, desires or destiny.

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