2005 / Miro Foundation, Barcelona, Spain

“Once upon a time”, solo exhibition from December 15, 2005, to January 29, 2006.

Espaï 13, Joan Miro, Foundation, Barcelona

Curator : Marie-thérèse Champesme

The universe created by Laurent Pernot ( France , 1980) is peopled with intermittent presences, with bodies that we are unable to see because they are mere particles of light. The projection of the video or slides renders them visible, thus turning us into the fascinated witnesses of their appearance. But as soon as we have observed the effect of their presence, they disappear again and return to obscurity. Sometimes they give way to other bodies that in turn claim our attention and then disappear. As Pernot says, “They blink between life and death.”

In Particles (2004), the glass beads capture the light, and their winking reveals the silhouette of a human body in a constant state of metamorphosis.

The luminous images projected on to the bride’s dress in For Ever (2004) bring it alive, as one body after another inhabits it. Are we being transported to the fairytale world of The sleeping beauty or to the drama of a new Eurydice, dead straight after her wedding? The images swell and fade like those in dreams or visions or memories. For Laurent Pernot, “Garments are easy prey for memories, screens on which to project memories, fabrics that conceal the ghosts of the past.” Alongside the dress, small hanging screens show different faces obtained by digitally superimposing on each other the photographs from family albums. He then uses a 3D animation technique to give them movement. So we are in fact looking at people who do not exist and have never existed. It is as if, by superimposing the images, memory has created new identities.

In Confusion (2004), where multiple faces replace the person, Pernot pursues the same line of thought: “Am I nothing more than the sum of the figures that other people have projected on to me? The question of identity affects all individuals throughout their entire existence – an existence that is very often confused due to the masks that have to be put on in order to integrate into society. We are both a man and all men.”

Video is a medium that is perfectly adapted to this sweet, melancholic meditation on the visible and the ephemeral. But in Pernot’s photographs we find the same feeling of evanescence: the silhouettes of the figures merge into the landscape and into the reflections and the winking lights. Most of the photographs shown in the exhibition were taken for a book in which images and poems were related: Territoires de l’imaginaire . “Leafing through this book,” says Pernot, “is like moving through good or bad dreams – a solitary journey through the interior of a poetic world in which the images bring together the imaginary and the marvellous, the poetical and the absurd, the vegetable and the organic, fiction and fantasy, the body and the spiritual, action and timelessness, with all their possible combinations. A space on the boundaries of reality, but one that inevitably refers to reality.”