Isabelle Cornaro, films

Theoretically we can accept that the film has no ambition except to catch movement and light. Premier rêve d'Oskar Fischinger (2008) - in reference to one of the key figures of the avant-garde abstract cinema - is a cinematic sketch redeploying in two phases, through - cinema, the experience of the picture. The first part is a travelling handled camera on a composition of objects arranged in the dark. Then a succession of static shots reveals the characteristic of the scene: it is a landscape built with a miniature bust sculpted in ivory, with unraveled jewelry, decorated flasks and camera lenses. The second part, in contrast, is a set of static shots on crystal sulphides inside which is locked, lively, colored pastes. The successive close-ups reveal the ambivalence of the object and of what is seen: new landscapes build in the crossing of dream and archaism, alchemical meeting of the fire and the material. They are photographic and pictorial pictures, the fixed movements fossilize what is already a fossil. Here the experience of the «formless resemblances» liberates the composition of itself by abstraction. At the same time, the film reinvents the landscape painting by redeploying the notions of spatiality and depth, drawing and composition.


So, the editions of the installations Paysage avec poussin et témoins oculaires (since 2009) are compositions on plinths comprising objects relating to the representation of nature. The modules installed hierarchically in order of size and shape, reproduce plan to plan, in the perspective of an exhibition space, the classical organization of a landscape space, at least one defined to us by a western pictorial tradition. The set redefines, by means of abstraction, the spatial development of the picture depth. Carpets of oriental inspiration, rolled on the ground, mark the first horizontal. The placements of pedestals, at variable and progressive heights, define structurally the idea of the third dimension. Walking through the installation produces a physical decomposition of the whole into fragments. Therefore, the proposed operational perceptive mode is cinematic: through this movement, through the editing that it induces, through the frame and the composition of plans. The landscape, by the shifting of the resemblances, and by the turnaround of the representation on itself, is rewritten by means of domestic objects, a principle experimented previously in the Savanes series (2003-2007), bush landscapes drawn by the organization of old jewelry. Here the objects selected are everyday objects chosen for their function: an earthenware terrine in the shape of a rabbit, vases decorated with flowers, an egg cup in the form of a chick shaped egg cup. They are also a set of scientific instruments intended for the measuring of space: binoculars, a magnifying glass, a test card of slides, rulers. All are trophies of civilization, sediments of a modern and progressive culture, marked with an aesthetics which cannot totally cover their ideological values.

The films of objects realized by Cornaro have in common the corruption of the materialism of their subjects, to investigate them as potential landscapes (of color, shape, narration and inspiration). The Projections series presents cinematic sketches from projections of red, yellow, purple and blue paint on geometrical cardboard forms. There where the pictorial references are subverted by the detached artistic gesture, when the volume and the line are contradicted by the pulverized spot, the cinema is reversed itself. Because these footages, when they are not presented in a cinema, serve as a light source - let us say it, these movies are also lamps - to enlighten a cast of objects in plaster presented on table (Homonymes, 2010).

If image is a ghostly appearance updated on a material support and if the projection of a shadow makes image as the imprint left by the animal, the reflection of the moon in the water or the fossil in the rock, the image thus survives here to its Platonic definition given in terms of resemblance and analogy. Les Moulages sur le vif (Vides poches) (2009) are photographic scanners of objects put, without visible organization, directly on the window of the machine. The bright imprint is here a "cast" because the principle of reproduction is envisaged in a movement of reversion: it turns over the way which leads from the abstracted concept to its concrete origin, the object reproduced to the original. Picture is an imprint. It is indeed a question of enlighten the images hidden behind idols, of redeploying them as space of graphic and rhetoric production. This object-images, themselves producer of image, are here in any case « phantasmagorical » forms engendered from an iconoclastic vision where the produced forms, although their origins, are projections (of shadow, light or dream).




2010 / 16mm transferred on dvd / 6" / coul. / sil.

Floues et colorées

2010 / 16mm transferred on dvd / 3.26"/ coul. / sil.

De l'argent filmé de profil et de trois quarts

2010 / 16mm transferred on dvd / 2.02"/ coul. / sil.


2010 / 16mm transferred on dvd / 1.40"/ coul. / sil.

Première rêve d'Oskar Fischinger

2009 / 16mm transferred on dvd / 1.33" and 1.41" / coul. / sil.


ChinaGirl thanks Isabelle Cornaro, Gallery Balice Herting and Anne-Sophie Dinant