Lily Hibberd — Les Aimants
Past: January 10 → March 9, 2013
“Les Aimants” retraces the evolution and emergence of the sense of infant desire. The photographs used as the basis for the various series are portraits of the artist between the ages of two and thirteen, that evoke memories of her sexual awakening.
For her second solo exhibition at the Galerie de Roussan, Lily Hibberd presents three series of 21 pieces each and an installation. The first series shows the original photographs in a sequence of 21 engravings on magnetic stones. The second shows the same photographs taken recently on her body. The images from this “mise en abîme” she has created are reproduced on tracing paper alongside documentation of the reverse side of each of the original photographic prints. Shown in the basement, these works are titled Laminated memories. Finally, an installation demonstrates of the latent forces of magnetism.
In realising these different pieces, Lily Hibberd is seeking her own metaphorical history, because in the photographs there exists the material trace of her memories, and also of human desire and force. It is not only electromagnetism and photography that we could associate in this way, but the mediating substance of desire in its layered configuration, including memory, love, loss, language, representation and subjectivity. Whether it is the reverse of the images (adhesive residues, dates, her mother’s inscriptions…), the two opposite poles (positive–negative) of the magnets, or the relationship between the photographer and model, these different pieces reveal the duality of the time and desire. In this work, she tries to locate her “inner self” in the birth of her own desire. Parallel to this theoretical introspection, she wants to experiment with this “pre-consciousness” of her sexuality, in reproducing these photographs on magnetic stones, which are themselves related to the basis of the reproduction process in photography.
In Burning With Desire The Conception of Photography1, the academic Geoffrey Batchen, in the chapter “Electromagnets”, links the magnet with its invention and terminology like ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, stating that “the metaphor of the electromagnet played a crucial role in both the development of a romantic worldview and the conception of photography”. Roland Barthes similarly declares: “it is not what we see… photography creates a mutual image, a laminated object… whose two leaves cannot be separated without destroying them both: the windowpane and the landscape, and why not: Good and Evil, desire and its object…”2 By staging these different techniques, Lily Hibberd primarily seeks to examine memory, technique and passion. Exploring the relationship between the past and still images, the artist has realised the timelessness and infinity of her own desire.
“The only consolation I can find, is that we share an intolerable reality in the affirmation of our insanity, the madness the logic of the framing of the camera. When I look back at this photographic apparatus on my bed, I see my misrecognition. I have put the photographing machine in place, mistaking its miraculous materialisation for someone who might love me. And I see in the end that my laminated memory does not look like the young girl, for it is the photograph of a child I have never known.”
1 Geoffrey Batchen, Burning With Desire: The Conception of Photography. MIT Press, 1997 : 152.
2 Roland Barthes, La Chambre Claire : Note sur la photographie, Cahiers du cinéma/Gallimard/ Seuil,1980
Opening Thursday, January 10, 2013 5 PM → 9 PM